Air plants, air ferns, or tillandsias—whatever name they’re given, these little epiphytic plants (they grow on the surface of other plants) have exploded in the last few years, going from hard-to-find collectors’ items to home décor staples. Despite Tillandsias’ popularity, care information can seem confusing and contradictory, so we’ve collected our favorite tips to help you keep these rewarding plants thriving.
First, set yourself up for success by choosing a healthy air plant. (We have a great selection here at Squak Mt!) You can tell a lot about it just by picking it up. Does it feel solid and have some weight? Do the leaves feel springy? If so, the plant is healthy and hydrated. Brown edges on leaves can mean dehydration, but aren’t necessarily life-threatening–if the rest of the plant seems healthy, trim the brown bits with sharp, clean shears.
Making your Tillandsia love you with three ingredients:
- Water: Tillandsias’s water needs vary, but luckily, you can tell how much water each plant needs by looking at it. Silvery soft, fuzzy-looking varieties have adapted to bright, arid regions and prefer daily misting in the summer, and several times a week in winter. The green, smooth-leaved varieties enjoy the shade of tropical trees and bask in high humidity. These prefer long, weekly soaks for about 30 minutes, and misting every day or two in the summer. In the winter, mist as needed between soaks.
- Light: Many tillandsias are happiest in bright, indirect light (6-8 hours in a room with western or southern exposure, or in a northern/eastern window). Too little light, and they are susceptible to cold and rot.
- Air: Because Tillandsias fasten themselves to trees and rocks, they love humidity with consistent air flow. During the summer, you can place your air plants outside, once a week or so, in a bright, sheltered area to catch a breeze. In winter, water in the morning to give your air plants enough time to dry before night. After soaking, turn tillandsias upside down to dry completely before returning to any containers.
Tillandsias make a fun holiday gift for the indoor plant lover in your life. Come visit the Garden Shed at Squak Mt. today to discover a wide selection of vibrant air plants and unique vessels to pair with them.