Tillandsia, commonly known as air plants, are fascinating plants that are among the easiest indoor foliage to grow. But don’t be misled by the name, they do require more care than just air, especially if you’re looking for blooms!
Air plants should receive bright, indirect sunlight or be placed under fluorescent home/office lighting. Periods of direct sunlight during the day are just fine but more than a few hours of hot sun will quickly sap the moisture from your plants. If your plant will be in a spot with some pretty direct light, you may end up misting them more often to keep them hydrated. Remember, south-facing and west-facing windows have the hottest sun, while east-facing windows have cool morning sun and north-facing windows have indirect light.
As mentioned, air plants live in the air, but absolutely need to be watered. Being epiphytes (plants that grow on trees or rock), they don’t wanted to be potted in soil where they’ll rot. While the plants can survive drought, they will not grow or thrive and will eventually die if water is too scarce. Your watering regimen should have two parts:
- Misting– You can create a humid micro-climate for them every couple days by enthusiastically misting the air above and around them. Try to give them a “peripheral” mist rather than a head-on drench. Water sitting on leaves can cause spotting or rot. If you have an abundance of sun or if your plants are near a heating vent, you may find you need to mist more often.
- Soaking– As a main method of watering your plants, let them soak in a bath of room temperature water for 20-30 minutes. You can use a bowl, the sink or even the bathtub if you need more space. After their bath, gently shake the plants upside down to remove excess water from the base and the leaves. Place them out to dry in an area with enough air circulation to dry them within around four hours. Once dry, you can reinstall them in their display. Water this way once a week. You’ll begin to notice that after watering, the leaves will feel plumper and be darker in color than when they were needing water.