I absolutely love Air Plants! I have quite a few in my urban jungle. These plants are also known by the group to which they belong called Tillandsia. These wonderful little plants come in hundreds of varieties, over 600 varieties! They are epiphytes, which means they do not need soil to survive but rather they cling onto other things, like plants, telephone poles, rocks, buildings, and basically anything else they come across. This makes them the perfect decoration, they can thrive on almost anything and there is no messy soil!
In nature these little guys grow attached to the branches of trees. That means they are used to filtered light and not much direct sunlight. They can handle a few hours of direct sun especially in the morning but too much can kill them.
The best place to keep them is in bright indirect light that comes from a south or east facing window. You can even keep them under fluorescent light if the plant is between 6” and 35” from the tube depending on the strength of course.
Watering depends heavily on what kind of environment you and your plant buddy live in. If you live in a hot and dry place the plant will need watered 1-2 times a week. If you live in a cool or humid environment you could probably squeak by with watering once a week. The best way to water a Tillandsia is to submerge it in water for about 30 minutes. It is best to use distilled water, bottled water, or rainwater. If you don’t have that easily accessible, tap water should do just fine.
After watering I recommend drying your plants upside down so all the water can drain out. If your plant is still wet after 4 hours you should find a place to let them dry with more circulation. Rot is the culprit of most Air plant deaths. If your plant turns brown at the base and becomes squishy there probably isn’t much you can do to save it at this point.
If the tips of your air plant start to curve wildly and feel dry to the touch chances are it is a bit thirsty. Tillandsias are unique in that they take water and nutrients up through their specialized leaves. It may help your plant out if you keep it in a more humid place. You can also supplement this by spritzing it with water between waterings especially if you live in a dry environment.
Air plants do just fine living indoors with us. They can tolerate the comfortable temperature of your home. However, like most plants, your plants will grow faster and overall look healthier if it is kept slightly warmer.
There are special kinds of fertilizers out there for Tillandsias which only require you to mist the super juice onto their leaves about once a month. This is not totally necessary and they will grow just fine if cared for well. However if you would like to see your plant grow faster or better health as it develops babies fertilizer is for you.
Lucky for you! Tillandsias are non-toxic to children and pets.