Tag Archives: epiphyte

Do Air Plants Really Live Off of the Air?

Air plants grow differently than most other house plants, so they can be confusing to the beginner. They are really very hardy, and require much less attention than other house plants. The following simplifies the instruction but you can scroll down for much more specific information.

Air plants are also known as Epiphytes. They are any plant that grows on another plant or an object just for physical support. Epiphytes have no attachment to the ground or other obvious nutrient source and don’t live off the supporting plants. They derive their moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, and sometimes from debris accumulating around them. Epiphytic plants are called “air plants” because they do not root in soil.

CARE IN A NUTSHELL:

    1. Provided the air is not too dry they can survive with water misting and the occasional bath.
    2. Give them bright, filtered light.
    3. Protect them from frosts.
    4. If you are growing them indoors and the air is dry, you will need (at minimum) to submerge the plant in water for 2-3 hours about every two weeks.
    5. In a shaded-house or unheated home, you can use a soaking mist once or twice a week in summer, once a month in cooler weather.
    6. You can fertilize by adding a pinch of Bromeliad or Orchid fertilizer to your mister.

Air plants in glass globes have become so popular that we now carry many unique designs in a variety of sizes. Follow these simple instructions to enjoy your glass-surrounded plant for many years.

 

    1. Water your plant when you first receive it by soaking 20-30 minutes. Take note of the size and color and you should see how happy the plant is. Keep this “picture” in your mind.
    2. Allow your plant to dry almost completely before placing in the globe.
    3. Mist your plant every 4-5 days with one spray for tiny globes, 2-3 sprays for globes 3-5 inches, more if the plant is in a large open globe. The key is to judge the drying time, the smaller the globe, the less circulation, the longer the plant will hold the moisture. If you over water the plant will die.
    4. Remember what your plant looked like after soaking? If it has lost that happy healthy look, take it out and soak it for 30 minutes to an hour, shake, allow to almost completely dry and replace in globe.
    5. Do not place your globes directly in front of a window where they get direct sun. Remember the glass will intensify the sunlight and the heat. Indirect light is best and some will even grow in low to moderate light.

WHAT ABOUT ARTIFICIAL LIGHT?

Full spectrum artificial light (fluorescent) is best.  Plants should be no further than 36″ from the tubes, and can be as close as 6″. You should probably set the light with a timer, 12 hours per day.

WHAT TYPE OF WATER IS BEST?

The water you use is important. Never use distilled water! And softened water should not be used, because of the salt content. Filtered water, tap water that has sat long enough for the chlorine to dissipate,  and bottled water are all fine. Pond Water and aquarium water works well as long as they aren’t over crowded with fish and/or reptiles.

SHOULD I FERTILIZE MY AIR PLANTS?

Use Bromeliad fertilizer (17-8-22) twice a month. It is great for blooming and reproduction!  Other water-soluble fertilizers can be used at 1/4 strength (Rapid Grow, Miracle-Grow, etc.) if Bromeliad fertilizer is not available. Note Here: If you use pond water or aquarium water, don’t use fertilizer. Soaking the plants in these waters is a natural fertilizer and can help revive plants that are in distress.