Natural Environment: Tillandsias, also known as air plants, are native to the forests and mountains of Central and South America. In their native environment air plants are epiphytic (growing on other plants without harming them) and emerge from the crooks and branches of trees. One common misconception is air plants can live on air alone. Here are best practices to help your air plant thrive and continue to be a statement piece.
Life Cycle: Did you know air plants have a set life cycle? Years into maturity, the air plant will produce a bloom—this can vary from vibrant violets, pinks, reds, and oranges. Once they’ve bloomed, the mother air plant will slowly begin to produce offshoots usually referred to as “pups”. These pups, once about one-third the size of the mother plant, can be gently removed and will become new, viable air plants. After this stage, the mother plant will slowly begin to die, and the cycle starts over again.
Light: In order to thrive air plants need bright, indirect light. Southern or eastern facing windows are ideal since it will receive sunlight for most of the day. It can be placed in a north-facing window as long as it placed close to the window and nothing is obstructing the window (not blocked by a tree or building). If placed by a western facing window, which can get intense evening sun, be careful not to completely dry out your air plant.
As with any plant, air plants cannot survive without any light. If there is no natural light, you will need place it under full spectrum (fluorescent) light or purchase a special bulb and place it under the artificial light for a minimum of 12 hours per day. It should be no more than 3 feet from the artificial light source. Unfortunately, regular incandescent bulbs don’t emit the quality of light for plants to photosynthesize.
Watering: Soak in room temperature water (or rain water) every one to two weeks for 15-20 minutes. After soaking gently shake excess water from your plant. Turn it upside down and place it on a towel in a bright space.
From the time soaking ends, the plant should be able to dry fully in no more than 3 hours. The drying process is very important. Air plants will quickly rot if they are allowed to stand in excess water.
If the leaf tips turning brown or crispy it is a sign of underwatering. If the base of the plant turns brown or black, and leaves are falling out or off from the center, it is a sign it has been overwatered and has root rot. You'll begin to notice that after watering, your plant's leaves will feel stiffer. They'll be softer and lighter in color when they're in need of water. Wrinkled or rolled leaves can be a sign of dehydration.