Air plants or Tillandsia are amazing plants that do not need to be planted in the ground, as they attach to other plants in nature. But then the question arises: how to water air plants? For a gardener who is poorly versed in how these plants live, this question can be confusing.
Air plants are epiphytes, that is, plants that grow without soil. These plants attach themselves to trees, shrubs, rocks, or the ground with their roots. They grow in Mexico, Central America, and South America. There are more than 650 species of such plants. They are very tenacious, so they are ideal for beginners or those who do not have much experience in caring for plants.
The key to Tillandsia survival is constant watering and air circulation. The name “air plant” can be misleading, and you might think that these plants only need air, not water. But it’s not like that at all. Water is vital to these plants. Let’s figure out how to water air plants.
How to Water an Air Plant
Immersing air plants in water is the best approach to water them. There are many types of air plants, but all of them can be watered with the submerging technique. Water your air plants in the morning to ensure they have enough time to dry completely, otherwise, their capacity to breathe at night may be compromised. Well, how to soak an air plant?
To do this, take them out of their terrarium and dunk them in a bowl or sink filled with enough water to submerge them. Parts of the plants will float above the water, which is OK; just make sure the bulk of each air plant is underwater. How long to soak air plants in water? Allow them to soak in the tub for about one hour.
Remove each plant, turn it upside down, and shake it vigorously to remove any extra water that may have accumulated at the base of the inner leaves. After that, lay your air plant upside down on a towel in a light area. Allow for one to three hours of drying time, depending on how dry it is. If there is any standing water, your air plant may decay. Return your air plants to their original location until it’s time to give them another wash.
What Kind of Water to Use for Air Plants
Since air plants rely on water for so many of their nutrients, it’s best to give them mineral- and nutrient-rich water. Rainwater is preferred, but if you don’t have access to a collection system, spring water is the next best thing. You might also use water from a well, a creek, or a lake. Water that has been distilled or filtered should not be utilized. In distilled and filtered water, minerals and nutrients are less prevalent. A greater quantity of pollutants and a lower concentration of minerals and nutrients are seen in many municipal water systems. If you’re concerned about pH, air plants enjoy somewhat acidic water.
Alkalinity levels should be between 5.5 and 6.0. Water from the tap is typically over this threshold, making air plants inappropriate. It’s not necessary to be concerned about pH levels. It is enough to use good clean water.
How Often to Water Air Plants
Water your plants once a week, but water them twice a week for optimal results. A 2-hour bath is recommended every 2-3 weeks. You’ll need to water or spray your plants more regularly if you reside in a drier, hotter climate. After watering, your plant’s leaves will get stiffer and full of water, and when they are thirsty, they will become softer and lighter in color. Wrinkled or curled leaves are signs of dehydration.
Change Your Watering Schedule according to the Season
Air plants require varying bathing frequencies depending on the season. They prefer to be bathed once a week during the hot summer months, but how often to water air plants in winter? Well, once every three weeks or so during the chilly winter months will be enough. Pay attention to the seasons and the health of your air plant, and adjust your watering appropriately.
You should also take note of where your green babies are located. For instance, how much light does your plant get? It may need to be watered more frequently if it gets a lot of suns. Is your plant near a heater, causing it to dry out more rapidly, or do you reside somewhere humid, requiring less water? When planning a watering regimen for your air plant, take the time to consider its surroundings.
How Often to Spray Air Plants
Many garden shops and plant retailers will urge you to spritz your air plant a few times a week with water from a misting bottle. But we cannot say that it is necessary. Spritzing is too erratic and does not deliver adequate moisture to the air plant. Misting your air plant is not the only way to keep it hydrated.
However, because greenhouses and plant centers are already humid environments, they can just spray them. You can also get away with spritzing them if you live in a humid environment (or your plants are in a greenhouse). The trick to keeping air plants as houseplants for the rest of us is only to bathe them in water.
If you can’t get your air plant out of a terrarium or glue it anywhere, misting may be your only alternative. If this is the case, often spray to ensure that it receives as much water as possible without allowing water to accumulate in the base. However, we strongly advise against keeping air plants in places where they can’t be removed and washed!
How to Water Air Plants Supported by Wood or Other Materials
Sometimes air plants are fastened to decorative support. They may thrive in this environment, although it might be difficult to water the plant. Soak the air plant without drowning the wood or other object it’s fastened to if possible, and make sure it dries completely by inverting it later. Pass only the plant under running water 2-4 times a week, or mist it thoroughly 3-7 times a week. This might be a good alternative.
Watering Air Plants with Flowers
Watering is also a problem with flowering air plants. Most of them may require more frequent watering while in bloom; just make sure the water doesn’t collect in the heart of the plant, causing rot. The bloom duration will be shortened if the blossom is wet. Submerge the foliage but keep the blossom out of the water for the greatest results. If this is too challenging, spray the foliage often but do not soak the blossom. You may also place the air plants in a bowl of gently running water, making sure only the leaves are moist and not the blossoms.
Don’t forget that after watering your air plants, the next most crucial step is to thoroughly dry them. It’s critical to dry your air plants fully by placing them on their side or upside down on a dishtowel. For bigger species like Streptophylla, Sparkler, and Xerographica this is especially crucial. Within 2 hours of their bath, they should be completely dry to the touch. Air plants should not be returned to terrariums or vases until they are entirely dry. If you water your plants and then immediately put them in a terrarium, your plant may rot. You will have healthy and happy air plants if you follow these easy watering guidelines.
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