Jackson Michigan Florist

Caring for Your New Air Plants

 
IMG_4510.jpeg

Caring for Your

Air Plant or

Tillandsia

(til-land-g-ah)

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

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.

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.

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 color when they're in need of water. Wrinkled or rolled leaves can be a sign of dehydration.


TEMPERATURE

Air plants will do best in generally warm conditions (a good range is 50-90 degrees).


GROOMING & AESTHETIC MAINTENANCE

Everyone needs a little grooming once in a while! It is normal for some of the lower leaves of your tillandsias to dry out as the plant grows or acclimates to a new environment, and those leaves can be gently pulled right off of the plant. If the leaf tips have dried out, you can snip the dried tip off (try trimming at an angle to leave a natural-looking pointy tip), and the same can be done for the plant's roots. Don't worry about harming your plants during grooming--they'll regrow.


FERTILIZER

Fertilizing your plants is not necessary, but will keep them in top shape and should promote blooming and reproduction. We recommend using a houseplant fertilizer once per month.

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 colored, 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. 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 lifecycle by growing into a parent plant, blooming and producing pups of it's own.


CLUMPING

Tillandsias can grow into clumps if the pups are left to grow on the parent plant. Clumps can also be created by wiring multiple plants together, as they'll begin to grow into and around each other.


 
 
ca-poot meh-dew-sigh

ca-poot meh-dew-sigh

CAPUT MEDUSAE

Caput Medusae, named after the Greek Goddess and her hair of snakes! It has pastel green leaves and delicate peach fuzz covering the base and stretching up the arms.

 
jun-see-ah

jun-see-ah

red ab-dee-ta

red ab-dee-ta

JUNCEA

Tall and grassy, Juncea looks beautiful in a tall, narrow vase. Juncea is usually a darker grassy green with a brown base, but some plants can have a bit of a brick red tint to them.

 
 
 
 
 

RED ABDITA

Abdita are wonderful medium sized air plant that range from 4 to 7 inches tall. 

 
zero-graf-e-ca or zerog-raf-e-ca

zero-graf-e-ca or zerog-raf-e-ca

 

XEROGRAPHICA

Silvery light green in color, Xerographica is one of the more rare varieties. It's thick, wide leaves form a tight rosette of curls with the thin, spiky new growth sprouting from the center adding a beautiful contrast in form.