Originally belonging to genus Tillandsia, these air plants are nicknamed in such a way because they derive a major portion of nutrients from air around them. The plants belonging to Tillandsia genus only need air for their survival. They can practically require no soil for their growth and for the above 2 reasons it is called air plants.
The natural habitat of these air plants is the forests , deserts and also few mountains and these plants grow as epiphytes causing no harm to them.
Light required by air plants
Any plants require sunlight to survive. Only difference is some require more , some less. In the same way air plants also need some indirect , but bright light. If the humidity is more, then more light can be tolerated by the air plant. So depending on the place you wish to put your plant, you need to mist it often sometimes even daily if it’s place in a place where it gets lot of sunlight.
It’s understood that every plants has its own requirements for water and in this type of terrarium air plants particularly requirement of water depends on the amount of light it gets. So watering an air plant is very tricky as people tend to make mistakes in this game.
Some people prefer misting, some soaking and some use both the methods of misting and soaking. This is tricky because it’s water needs totally depend on the lay out of the plant. It’s needs vary undeniably with the place in which it is housed. So the basic crucial step is evaluating your space. Figure out the amount of light the plant receives. Find out the temperature of the area and identify if the space is too dry or too humid. All these factors play an important role in determining the water needs of the air plants.
Once you have answers for all the questions mentioned above, you can adapt a suitable watering regime to suit your needs.
Certain general recommendations which might be of some use to everyone are always there to serve as a beacon.
Soaking the air plant in tap water at room temperature every one or two weeks is always advisable. Maybe for 10 minutes.
After that, remove the plant from water , gently shaking any excess water. Flip it upside down and put in on any kitchen towel in a bright place. This prevents them from getting rotten as air plants tend to get rot and cannot stand excess water.
The drying takes not more than 3 hours and the plant must not stay wet longer than 3 hours. So it must be kept in a bright area with enough light and more circulation of air which facilitates faster drying.
So depending on the variety of plant, it may take 1-3 hours for drying after the soaking process.
After this , misting of the plant should be done at least once a week so that it remains moist, see that there is no water dripping.
If the temperature around is hot and dry then water requirement would be more. If the air is cooler and humid it requires less water. Suppose if your plant is under-watered, the tips of the air plant turns brown and the leaves also tend to expand and lose its original shape. If the air plant is over watered, the base turns black or brown and leaves will start falling down and the plant tends to rot.
Air plants grow in optimal temperatures and it’s not difficult to maintain. Some people also add fertiliser to enhance the growth of the plant and also to prevent rotting. This also adds reproduction factor to the plant and encourages it to be happy.
Following these guidelines, you would see how beautifully these Tillandsias grow and blossom in no time. Start misting twice a week and adjust according to the needs of your plant preventing it from drying.