As mentioned in previous musings I would not consider myself born with a green thumb. Although, I am coming to learn no one is really born with a green thumb, but rather it is a result of patience and a desire to learn more about the plant species you bring into your home and garden. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to your plant babies Air Plants are a great solution. Air Plants are surprisingly resilient and strikingly beautiful. They are great for boosting any plant novice’s confidence thanks to their low maintenance and succulent qualities. Even better, they don’t require a proper pot!
From the Tillandsia genus, Aerophytes or Air Plants are native to Northern Mexico and the South-Eastern US, with some varieties found from the Caribbean to Argentina. Aerophytes earn their nickname, Air Plants, for the lack of root systems and how they absorb most nutrients from the air. This bodes well for people who have trouble with regular watering or weekly care (if this sounds like you stick with the silver varieties of Air Plants that can take even more neglect than the green).
Indirect sunlight is best for most plants and Air Plants are no different. Find a room that receives a good amount of filtered indirect sunlight and your Air Plants will thrive. The silver varieties will require slightly more sun than the green, but if your Air Plant is showing dried or burnt looking tips take those as a sign of too much sun. Bathrooms with good light are a great place for Air Plants, as they love moisture. If your bathroom is windowless like mine regular misting in-between soaks in any room of the house will do just fine.
If it isn’t clear already, Air Plants are pretty low maintenance including the watering. Silver varieties of Air Plants should be “soaked” once every 2-3 weeks whereas green varieties a little more frequently once every 1-2 weeks. Find a bowl that can fit your air plant pretty much submerged. I say pretty much because the plant will likely float, so use your best judgment on what submerged means. To prevent man handling my plant babies too much I use a flip approach instead of weighing the plant down under the water. First, I let my plant sit face up in cold water for 20 minutes and then flip it and let it soak for another 20 minutes upside down. After the “soak” I let the Air Plant dry upside down for 2-3 hours before placing back in the container. It is also nice to give your Air Plant an occasional mist in-between soaks if it is looking particular parched. As with any plant, keep in mind the current season/temperature and alter your watering schedule accordingly in the winter when Air Plants tend to be dryer and require more frequent soaks/mists.
Share any photos of your Air Plant babies! I love seeing how people style and care for their plants J.