Plants are sometimes difficult to take care of. With a name like “Air Plant,” that seems to imply that these plants can survive in the air, but do they still need soil to grow?
Air plants do not need soil. In fact, they will die if they are planted in soil. Air plants thrive in warm climates. Air plants are commonly used as decorative plants and put onto things such as seashells and driftwood. Air plants are typically very small, but grow larger over time.
Now that you know that air plants do not need soil, you may be wondering what air plants are, and how to take care of them.
What Is an Air Plant?
An air plant, also known as a Tillandsia, is a plant with long, thin leaves. They are available in many colors but are often green. They are found in tropical areas where there is a lot of moisture in the air. Air plants are popular because they don’t require a lot of care. Air plants have tiny scales on their leaves that are called trichomes.
Air plants absorb water and nutrients from the air through the trichomes. The trichomes also prevent the plant from becoming scorched from the hot sun.
Do Air Plants Need Soil?
Unlike many other plants, air plants do not need soil to grow. They absorb all of their needed water and nutrients through their leaves. In fact, an air plant will not grow if it is planted in soil. Air plants thrive in high places and are typically found growing on shrubs, tocks, and trees.
If you want your air plant to really thrive, put it into a water-soluble fertilizer that is meant for orchids or tillandsias. Follow the directions on the container to dilute it correctly. Then, spray or dunk your air plant in the mixture. This will give them extra nutrients and allow them to grow and thrive.
Where Should I Put an Air Plant?
You can put an air plant almost anywhere. Many people put them in shells, wood, stones, or baubles. They are great decorative plants because of how low-maintenance they are.
If you have orchids or a cactus, put the air plant in the pot with them. They are taken care of in a very similar way to cacti, and will not influence the other plants in a harmful way.
How Do I Take Care Of an Air Plant?
It is very easy to take care of an air plant. However, they will die if they are overwatered or given too much direct sunlight. Do not be surprised if you do not see your air plant growing. It takes years for air plants to grow large.
Put air plants in a warm area (above 65˚F) that is out of direct sunlight. Do not put them near air conditioner vents or cold windows, or else they will die. They do not like being in cold weather. Air plants do very well when they are given a few hours of indirect sun each day. If you want your air plant to thrive, put them in an area that is 1-3 feet away from a window, or a few feet away from a lamp. Air plants will grow because of artificial light.
When your air plant needs water, spray them with a fine mist. You can spray them with the mist 3-7 times a week. Make sure that you mist every part of the leaves, or your air plant will become dry and eventually die.
If your air plant is attached to wood, briefly dip the plant in a pan of water, or put it under a running faucet. Do this 2-4 times a week, or as needed.
If your air plant is dry and needs to be revived, submerge the entire plant in water. Do this for 1-3 hours once a week, or after it has not been watered for a long time.
After you have finished watering your air plant, shake off the excess water until you cannot see any water pooling in the center of it. If you leave excess water on your air plant, it will die.
You don’t have to do this if you are misting your air plant, but make sure that you put it in a well-ventilated area, so the water can dry quickly. Water left on the leaves for a long period of time will eventually cause the air plant to rot.
Your air plant will need to be watered more frequently if you live in a very warm area, or if you use air conditioning in your home. However, if you live in a cloudy area, you will not need to water your air plant often because it will not be getting a lot of sunlight.
If your air plant has curly leaves, dunk it in water instead of misting it. The curled leaves are very hard to reach with the mist, and dunking the plant in water will ensure that the entire plant is watered.
Are There Different Types of Air Plants?
There are many different types of air plants, but there are two very common types. There are air plants with fuzzy leaves, and ones with smooth, glossy leaves.
Air plants with fuzzy leaves that have feathery, white, silvery, and dusty coatings on them are found in dry areas where it rarely rains. These air plants have very pronounced trichomes because they need to work hard to collect and absorb water. These air plants need less water than many other air plants and can be placed in direct sunlight for a few hours.
Air plants that have smooth, glossy leaves are found in shaded, moist areas and are the most commonly found type of air plant. Their trichomes are not very pronounced because they do not need to work very hard to absorb and collect water. These air plants cannot tolerate direct sunlight and dry out easily. They need to be watered frequently because they are used to getting a lot of water.