Too much or too little water can kill an air pant. Keeping a plant hydrated is tricky sometimes. Soak your plant for 20-30 minutes, shake it off, and let dry for a couple hours before putting it back into a container. We have had the best luck making our water baths
Plants will die from over-watering when they are not allowed to dry out completely for several days between water baths. This often occurs when the air plants are misted with water while situated inside a terrarium or enclosure. The tightness of the enclosure traps moisture which can cause rot on the base of the plants.
Water softener salts may make our skin and hair smooth but it can kill air plants. Have you ever had a house plant where you noticed white crust build-up on the top of the soil after watering it a few time and letting it dry? These are salt deposits and they are especially harmful to air plants. Since air plants have no soil to filter the salts, the salts end up being deposited on the ends of the leaves. Overtime this will suffocate the plant as it prevents the trichomes from absorbing water and nutrients. The chlorines found in some municipal water is also not great for plants and should be avoided if possible.
The best water to use is rain, well, pond, lake, or non-carbonated mineral water. Although free of harmful salts, store-bought bottled and filtered watered actually has most of the minerals taken out. Bottled water will not harm the plant itself, but watering exclusively with bottled water will starve them from key nutrients if that is all they ever receive.
Direct sunlight will dehydrate plants quicker. Sitting next to a hot window or a sitting in a hot room will do the same. Occasionally, direct sun can even burn the leaves of the plants. Air plants should not be placed in glass enclosures that receive direct light as the enclosures can get very hot (like a small greenhouse) and the glass also may act as a magnifying glass that can concentrate the sunlight on the leaves, quickly causing them to burn. A good rule of thumb is that most air plants like temperatures that you like. If you wouldn't sit near your window for several hours at a time because you would be too hot then probably your air plant won't like it either. Most tillandsia prefer temperatures in the 55-85 degree range.
That being said, several species of air plants are accustomed to hot temperatures in their natural environment. Xeric plants like Xerographica,
In the winter, we continue to offer our 30 Day Guarantee for plants that arrive DOA due to the cold. We currently do not use heat packs to the ship the plants since they will often run out and are not very effective at the end of their life cycle when they are needed most. In addition, we have found that they can actually burn the plants. The best bet for ordering plants during the winter is to have them sent to wherever you are when mail is delivered (Your place of work or school, for example) to limit their exposure to the cold.
If your air plants are outdoors only for the warm season, we would recommend bringing them indoors when the nights start falling below 45 degrees. All air plants can do great indoors. During the winter, especially at the higher latitudes, there are some important care considerations to review for the winter months. Here is our separate blog that details Winter Care For Air Plants
Nothing lasts forever and that also applies to air plants. The life cycle of air plants includes growth, blooming, and reproduction by the pups and seedlings. Although blooming is considered one of the peaks of most air plants's lives, it is not always downhill from there. We have had smaller air plants like Ionanthas bloom for us a couple of times per year. Eventually, however, the mother plant will put most of her energy into producing small offsets. By the time the mother plant has completely given up, the offsets will be to the size of the mother, and the cycle continues. Some species also seem to prefer making pups before the mother plant has bloomed, so a pupping plant does not necessarily mean that you misted the mother plant's bloom! When an air plant starts to produce babies, you have a couple of options: Division of the new air plants or to let the air plants naturally clump. See our blog about Dividing Air Plant Pups for more information.
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