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Caring for your air plant

Air plant on Belfast brick

 

CARING FOR YOUR BRAND NEW AIR PLANTS
Yay, you have purchased your first (or maybe second attempt) air plants, got them home and spent sufficient time marvelling at their unique beauty (and possibly giving them names), give them a good soak in a water bath (submerged in the water) for about 20-30 minutes. Shake gently to remove any excess water, and set in a spot with bright light and good air circulation to dry off.

*instructions for terrariums and mounted plants below.


LIGHT
Air plants should be kept where they'll receive bright, indirect sunlight or under fluorescent home/office lighting. Periods of direct sunlight are just fine, but more than a few hours of hot sun will deplete the plants of their moisture. If your plant will be in a spot with some pretty direct light, try misting them every couple of days to keep them hydrated.


WATER
Air plants live on air, right? Uh, not right! While air plants don't grow in soil, they definitely NEED to be watered. While the plants can survive for long periods of drought, they will not grow or thrive and will eventually die off if water is too scarce. Follow the directions below for watering your plants on a regular basis and they will stay alive and well for quite some time. The good news is that since these plants are very forgiving, you shouldn't stress over their care schedule. There's certainly no need to get a babysitter when you go on vacation.


HOW DO I WATER MY PLANTS?
As a main method of watering your plants, we recommend giving them a thorough rinsing under running water or letting them soak in a bath of water for 20-30 minutes. You can use a bowl, the sink or even the bathtub if you've got a family. After their shower or bath, gently shake the plants to remove any excess water from the base and the leaves, and set out to dry in an area with enough air circulation to dry them out in about 4 hours. If your plants need an in-between watering, misting them with a spray bottle is a great method. A plant in bloom should be rinsed rather than submerged in water, and take care when rinsing the delicate flowers.


TERRARIUMS AND GLOBES
As your air plants in a terrarium or globe, you may need to remove the plant for normal watering, and make sure to leave the plant out until is has had enough time to completely dry. Usually 4 hours will do. When the plant is in the terrarium or globe, you can give it periodic misting to create some humidity. The smaller and more compact the globe, the less misting you will want to give your plants.

**If the terrarium is larger or removal is not easy but has better air circulation, you can give it a few sprays from a water mister a few times a week. Just make sure to take care in ensuring the plant does not get over misted, and that it dries within a few hours while in the terrarium. If you feel your plant is getting dehydrated you may have to remove it from it's mount to soak. Once fully dry you can glue back in place**


HOW OFTEN DO I WATER MY AIR PLANTS?
Your plants should be watered once per week, and 2-3 times is recommended for optimal care. A longer, 2-hour soak is recommended every 2-3 weeks. If you are in a drier, hotter climate, more frequent watering or misting will be needed. You'll begin to notice that after watering, your plant's leaves will feel stiffer and full of water and they'll be softer and lighter in colour when they're in need of water. Wrinkled or rolled leaves can be a sign of dehydration.


BLOOMING
Tillandsias are tropical plants that usually live for several years and will bloom and produce flowers only one time during their lifetime. The flowers are striking and brilliantly coloured, and the bloom period will last several days to many months, depending on the species. Different species bloom at different times, also depending on their care and environment. A plant will most likely go into bloom sometime between mid-winter and mid-summer.

PUPS
Around a plant's bloom time, they'll produce offshoots, or "pups." You'll notice the pups have a separate and distinct center of their own, distinguishing them from the other leaves. Once the pup reaches at least one-third the size of the parent plant, the pup can be removed by gently pulling it apart from the parent plant. Hold both the parent and the pup at their bases and gently twist in a downward motion. You can also cut the plants apart using a clean razor blade, slicing as far down the pup stem as possible. Each pup will follow the life cycle by growing into a parent plant, blooming and producing pups of it's own.


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