The amount of water an air plant requires depends on the species and the environment in which it lives. Xeric plants, such as Tillandsia tectorum and Xerographica, with their leaves full of fuzzy trichomes, derive from arid climates in which they survive off the moisture from fog and morning dew. On the contrary, mesic species like Bulbosa and Abdita are accustomed to more rainfall and humidity. (Learn more about the three common air plant environments: Mesic, Xeric and Hydric from our informational blog.) While we can’t replicate these climates in our homes, we can take into consideration their natural habitats and thus determine how frequently to water the plants using soaking, dunking, and misting methods!
There are very few species of Tillandsia that benefit from only an occasional mist of water as their primary hydration source. A light application of water, such as misting, will not fully absorb through the plant’s leaves and the water will most likely evaporate before it can nourish the plant. A deeper, more thorough method of dunking or soaking is recommended for most plants every week to ten days to ensure proper hydration. Misting is a great way to supplement hydration between these waterings but don’t solely rely on it. Depending on the environment and species of air plant, supplemental misting can be done one to three times a week!
Hydrated Or Dehydrated Air Plant?
An air plant in need of more water will often have leaves that curl inward. Healthy and hydrated plants will have leaves that are more open and flat. When misting, be sure to reach all surfaces and completely drench the plant if it has been quite some time since it has been fully submerged in water. To protect your furniture, walls, or electronics, try misting outdoors or over a sink or bathtub.
If you have air plant displays that do not allow for the soaking or dunking techniques and misting is the only option, be sure to water the plants more frequently. A heavy mist is recommended every one to three days and always be sure there is plenty of indirect light and ventilation so the plant dries properly.
For more information on air plant care, check out our Care Page.
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