How to care for air plants
Air plants are quite popular these days due to the fact that they need little in the way of water or soil. These low-maintenance plants can be placed in a variety of different containers and used as decoration with minimal light and care requirements.
Air plants, while being hardy succulents, are not plants that you can buy and not take care of. In fact, air plants do require a bit of care, including regular watering. It’s just that they don’t require as much care as other plants that need frequent watering and high light sources.
At Ambius, we are very familiar with succulents and air plants having used them in green walls we’ve installed and interior office plants throughout the world, so we know a thing or two about how to care for air plants.
What is an air plant?
The most commonly used types of air plants belong to the genus known as Tillandsia. These are plants native to Central and South America and are generally grown without much, if any, soil. Some species attach themselves to other plants (such as trees), or they grow in loose sand and have very little root system. Generally, the long thin air plants that you see in stores need a little more water than the ones with wider leaves.
Air plants will absorb the nutrients they need to grow, including moisture, right out of the air. This is why they thrive in areas like rainforests and jungles in Central and South America. Air plants absorb nutrients from dust, rain, even decaying leaves and insects. The nutrients are absorbed through the leaves rather than a root system, which is why they don’t need soil or have a root system.
Caring for Air Plants
Just because an air plant usually needs a lot less care and watering than other kinds of indoor plants, doesn’t mean you can ignore them entirely. Air plants still require moisture and tending to and some form of light.
- Air plants should be placed in a room that does get some form of sunlight. Do not place air plants in direct sunlight. So, a window that faces east, west or south may work best, but perhaps not directly in the window itself. Too much direct sunlight will dry out the air plant and it will die.
- Air plants do need some moisture. It is common for some people who put them in their homes to actually put them in the bathroom to take advantage of the moisture that fills the room during showers.
- If you are going to have an air plant in your office, twice a week the plant should be sprayed with water or light amounts of water applied to it. Make sure to shake off the excess. It is best if you can remove the plant entirely from its container or pot (usually easy to do since they are usually not planted in soil). Make sure to get the entire plant wet before shaking off the excess. Water out of the tap will work. Do not use distilled or filtered water.
- Every two weeks, place the plant in water and let it sit for maybe ten minutes, if the plant is very small, larger plants may need to sit in water for a couple of hours. Then remove the plant from the water, shake of the excess moisture and return it to its container.
- Each air plant will likely come with care instructions, so be sure to read them and not throw out the card when you get them.
- For air plants kept in a home or office, remember to keep them warm and don’t let them get frosted over. If you have air plants in a screened-in porch at home, bring them indoors when the weather gets cool.
- As far as the temperature goes, the best range is between 50 – 90 degrees. Sometimes the temperature can go a bit lower, but do not leave them out when there is a frost advisory.
- Air plants tend to grow very, very slowly. They need little pruning and will not crawl all over your desk like some vining plants. However, keep an eye on the ends of the leaves and cut away brown parts of leaves as they form.
Air Plants Make the Indoors Greener
Humans have an innate desire to see things that are green, or to see nature. That means plants, whether it’s a window that overlooks trees, grass and bushes, or indoor plants that are easily seen. Small air plants in decorative containers can help brighten up a dreary cubicle and help provide that needed connection. This can lead to improved productivity, happier workers, more efficient employees and healthier employees.
If you are looking to add more live plants, living floral arrangements, or green walls into your office to brighten things up, then contact Ambius to talk to one of our designers. We can discuss the use of air plants and other greenery to make your office healthier and brighter.