"How do I care for my air plant?" First it helps to know where these plants come from and why do they live without soil. Air plants, or Tillandsia, are native to Central and South America, southern US and the West Indies. Most species absorb moisture and nutrients from the air, rain and dew. The "roots" that you see on the base of the plants are not for planting but rather serve as a means to attach to other plants or trees in their native environment.
Once you receive your Tillandsias they will benefit from a 1-2 hour soaking in water as their journey can be stressful. Soak in the sink or a bowl of fresh tap water (rainwater even better!)
Misting is a good, quick way to hydrate your plants. Mist your plants as little as once a week in humid climates or as often as every day in dry climates. Use a spray bottle with a wide spray pattern to thoroughly wet the leaves. In most cases, this is enough water to keep your air plant happy.
If plants appear to be drying out, apply a weekly or bi-weekly soaking regimen. Drench by running under a stream of water or immersing for a minute or two in a sink or bowl of water, shaking off excess.
You can tell a thirsty air plant by browning and increased hardness of the leaves. Meanwhile, white fuzz on the leaves is a healthy sign! The hairs are trichomes, which act as receptors of moisture and nutrients, and are naturally more visible on certain species that are native to arid regions. General rule: the fuzzier the air plant, the less water it needs.
Tillandsias like good air circulation, especially after watering. Make sure the plants are completely dry within 4 hours.
Bright indoor light. Within 6 ft of a window is best but avoid direct afternoon sun. Outdoors, your Tillandsia will enjoy dappled sunlight and temperatures between 50-90 degrees. No frost!
You don’t necessarily need to fertilize, but for more robust flowers and pups (offspring), fertilize once a month with a water-soluble bromeliad or orchid fertilizer added to your mister and diluted to one-quarter strength.Lingering moisture or puddling can lead to rot.
You will likely find dried brown leaves at the base of your plant, which is normal. Feel free to trim the dried leaves with a pair of shears, but make sure there are no small pups (new growth) within the dried foliage. Some pups can be as small as an eraser tip and can hide in the dried leaves.
If you bring your plant outside, make sure you protect it from frost by bringing indoors!
Lastly, enjoy your plants! Name them, talk to them, move them from room to room to find their favorite spot. Play them music. Your plant will soon become a dear leafy friend!