Also known as air carnations, tillandsias are a popular and peculiar plant species that we can recognize in any garden center. It is used as an indoor plant, because it is very versatile and incorporates an exotic appearance wherever we put it. In this article for mundojardín I am going to explain how to take care of air plants in your house.

Air Plant CareTillandsias, in their natural environment, are epiphytic plants like orchids. They rely on other species to survive in a non-parasitic way, in their case on tree trunks. They adapted to this type of hostile environment and have developed roots that, if they appear, only function as a support and not as a feeding organ. These plants literally live off the air.How to Care for Air Plants? Air plants need a lot of natural light and a stable temperature in the house not higher than 26º. Tillandsia (air plant) care under irrigation consists of frequent spraying and a moist, airy location. We will never water it with a watering can. We will place it somewhere high in the house. Direct sun exposure is only advisable in winter.  

The 6 Rules of Air Plant Care

• No sun exposure

• No subscriptions

• Cannot be in contact with water directly

• High ambient humidity

• Spray irrigation with bottled water

• Temperatures between 12 and 26ºSubstratum 

These types of plants do not need a substrate to live, since they do not usually develop roots. We can deposit them on any surface with decorative support, such as cages, rocks, etc. In these cases we would say that the air is its natural substrate. They appreciate that we place them in high places where there is usually more aeration, instead of stagnant humidity.

Try relocating your tillandsia if it seems to you that it is not comfortable in the place you have chosen. You will often see stores placing these plants inside bottles with holes in them or inside glass containers or glasses. The objective is not purely decorative, but to offer a humid microclimate to the plant. The most important thing to know about caring for air plants inside such containers is that the tip of the plant should never be in contact with moisture. We will support it on dry rock and the humidity of the environment will provide it with the hydration it needs. Irrigation and WaterThe most important thing to understand about how to take care of air plants is irrigation because it is something completely different from what we are used to with the rest of the plants. To begin with, we will never pour water over the plant, but we will regularly spray its leaves with a dosed. I like to spray into the air, and not directly on the plant. With a correct environmental humidity, the tillandsias survive without the need for irrigation and, in addition, they can go a bit thirsty. We will not use tap water, but soft water with weak mineralization.

The best and most practical is to use bottled water. In exceptional cases and when it is very hot, we can submerge it for an hour in water and dry it quickly. I insist that it would only be in extreme cases when the summer heat is suffocating and we notice that it will need it. We can't do it regularly because the plant will rot.When the leaves wither, it is usually a symptom of lack of water. So we will have to find a location with more humidity or spray more frequently, even daily. During the hottest times, this is usually very common. sun and light Like any tropical-type plant, we must understand that tillandsia care in terms of exposure is easy. In principle, they need a lot of ambient light and a home will provide them with the necessary environment of between 12 and 26º centigrade that they need to be comfortable.

The brightest areas of the house are the best. Next to a window it is perfect if it does not get direct sun. What happens if it receives direct sunlight? That's not good for air plants. We will notice that its leaves begin to burn. Now, it all depends on the quality of the sun. During the winter, a little sun exposure will not harm you at all. In fact, I have had them without any problem. Also be careful with the reflection of the crystals because they increase the incidence of rays. During the spring and summer seasons we will be very careful in exposing them to the sun. During spring and summer, tillandsias are allowed to live outside if 2 conditions are met. First of all, that the night temperature does not drop below zero degrees Celsius.

Second, that they are protected from the sun's rays. Of course, outdoors, it is much more complicated to offer a high ambient humidity. We must also move our tillandsias away from heat sources such as radiators, heaters, etc. Subscriber We will never use a liquid fertilizer for green or irrigation plants. The fertilizer for the care of the air plant is foliar. In garden stores we can buy any foliar fertilizer that we will spray (according to the manufacturer's dose) every 15 days or 3 weeks.

I have personally had bad experiences using fertilizers for green leafy plants. In any case, if you decide to dilute the fertilizer a lot. Pruning and Diseases From experience I know that tillandsias are not usually attacked by pests, if they are indoors. Although we must not lower our guard, because if any pest accesses this plant, it will kill it quickly because it is not very large. As for fungi, I have not had bad experiences with air carnations either, so it is necessary to follow the irrigation instructions.Some Varieties of TillandiasWe can classify air plants or tillandsias into 4 different categories: by the type of color (green leaf or grayish leaf) or by the type of leaves (thicker or finer).

Personally, I have not noticed any differences with the care of green or gray tillandsia. Now, yes, I have been able to notice that, often, tillandsias that have thin leaves burn before and need a little more environmental humidity to live well. There are cataloged more than six hundred species of this genus of “bromeliads”. Below we offer you a visual gallery of some well-known varieties. I would like to highlight the Tillandsia cyanea, which for me is one of the most peculiar species that you can buy in any garden store.

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