We build a lot of terrariums at Pop Shop America! We build terrariums with succulents and cactus and we build them with air plants too. The reason we prefer these plants is because they are modern and stylish. But mostly we prefer them because they are easy to care for.
Let’s face it, plants are confusing and challenging for a lot of people including us. Everything we’ve learned about plant care is through experience and through a lot of hard work.
One of the questions we receive the most is about air plants. People literally tell us, “The nursery where I bought my air plant said to just mist it, but then it died” or “the nursery said to not water it, but then it died.”
WHOA. I don’t know what crazy nursery is telling people such misinformation but we’re here to set the record straight! Air plants are easy to care for but these directions just aren’t right.
So here’s the Easy and True Way to Care for Air Plants.
Air Plants have a bit of variation. But all varietals no matter what need to be watered at least once a month. Some prefer as much as once a week, so a good starting point is to water every 2 weeks. The easiest way to water them is to drop the air plants in a bowl of water. Tap water is best. You want to make sure that the roots are completely submerged and the spiny leaves like a touch of water too.
Any amount of time between 30 minutes to 1 hour is great.
Now here is the important part. When you remove them from the water, shake them to dry. One plant person described this as removing the salts from the roots. I have never been able to verify that.
Afterward, be sure to place them upside down. Setting them on anything absorbent like wood or paper towels is great. Setting them in the sun is great too. The important thing is that they must completely dry out in between their spines befor you put them back in their home.
Hanging them upside down is always a great way to prevent water from building up in their spines. It usually takes around 4 hours for an air plant to completely dry out. Air Plants don’t need to be fed but for a super luscious and healthy plant, we recommend Organic Air Plant Food every 4th watering.
You will know when an air plant is underwatered because it’s curvy spines will start to exaggerate more and then the outer leaves will turn brown. You will know when an air plant is overwatered because it gets the traditional signs of root rot. The base of leaves will turn brown or black and the whole plant will just fall apart.
The problem with overwatering is that it will often die so fast, you won’t be able to help it recover. If you develop dead spines along the exterior it needs water. If you get dead leaves in the center it’s overwatered.
I have noticed this cool trick when figuring out how often to water:
When it only has a few thick spines: Water every week
When it has tons of thinner spines that fan out like a rainbow: Water once a month
We hope this info helps you keep your plants alive and healthy! Need even more plant love in your life? Just see below!