ver since I tried my hand at being a mother to succulents, I’ve wanted to branch into air plants. To be completely truthful, I had a tricky time with our succulents in Miami. They looked GREAT for awhile and then slowly started to die. I just couldn’t figure out the watering schedule, the correct amount of sun, whether they were getting enough drainage. It was distressing (in the most low-key of ways) – but distressing nonetheless!
Enter: air plants. I LOVE THESE THINGS.
I’d wanted to purchase some for awhile and Bobby and I stumbled upon an air plant booth while we were at the Brimfield Antique Show in July – the same antique show where I bought a bunch of keys for my vintage key wall instillation. I couldn’t believe my luck. We talked with the sweet older couple who owned the booth and they were brimming with information about how to keep these little guys happy and healthy.
As their sign advertised, air plants don’t need any soil and only require indirect sunlight. This makes them an ideal plant to use for decorating (like, you can literally plop them into a teacup and that is a great home for them).
They get nutrients from the air – and while they do need water, there is a schedule you can follow. In my mind, this makes them SO much easier than succulents – when I was in the height of my succulent confusion, I searched Google for advice and had the hardest time sifting through all the information. Most of it boiled down to “observe the leaves – are they shriveled? Or are they rotting? You may be watering them too much! You may not be watering them enough! What kind of light are they getting? Maybe it’s too much! Maybe it’s too little!” I DON’T KNOW, JUST GIVE ME SOME DIRECTIONS AND I’LL FOLLOW THEM!
With my delightful and predictable air plants, there is none of this silliness. They get indirect sunlight from the window. They receive water exactly three times a week – I spritz them twice a week and soak them for 30 minutes every Friday. These watering tasks are literally scheduled in my Google calendar. There is no second-guessing. It is blissful.
There are a few rules to observe with air plants, but I find these intensely comforting. So much easier to have rules than be forced to rely on the powers of observation. (I’m sure my Dad is shaking his head right now – he has the most magical green thumb of anyone I’ve ever met.)
In case you’d like to try your hand at air plants (which you totally should!), here are the keys to success, as laid out for me by the sweet couple at the antique show:
1) For best results, only use water that is sodium-free and has no chemicals. I bought a giant jug of spring water from the grocery store and use that in my spray bottle and when I soak the plants. You can use the same jug of water for 1-2 months.
2) Spritz plants twice a week. If air is very dry, you can spritz them more often. More water = more offsets (new plants). I spritz my plants on Wednesdays and Sundays. I douse the leaves and the roots, give them a little shake upside down so excess water comes off, and then place them back in their pots.
3) Soak plants in water once a week for at least 10 minutes (I tend to go more for 20-30 minutes). You want the leaves nearly fully submerged unless there is a bloom (yes, air plants produce flowers!). In the case of a flowering plant, just make sure the water level is deep enough to soak the leaves but shallow enough for the bloom to stick out of the water. I soak my plants in a giant plastic bowl, filled with about 1 1/2 quarts of water. You could also plug the sink and soak them in there. I like the bowl option since I re-use the water and can easily pour it back into my jug. (*Note – it seems that most varieties of air plants enjoy soaking but there are a couple you are not supposed to soak. They only like to be sprayed. So make sure you do a little bit of homework prior to creating a watering schedule.)
4) Don’t use Miracle-Grow on your air plants. You can use any orchid food or Peters All Purpose, once a month, half strength. Mix in water, and give them a bath per usual. I have yet to do this but it is now on my list!
5) Bright light is excellent but they shouldn’t be getting it all day – moderation is the key.
I felt lucky to stumble upon the air plant booth but you can also buy them on Amazon (ha, of course you can, right?!). Here’s a pack of 10 assorted air plants that looks pretty great and has good reviews – for only $21.50 you could be the proud owner of those babies! (Please note, that’s an affiliate link – same price for you and helps support this creative work at the same time.)
Air plants, I’m your biggest fan!
Next Monday I’ll share Here are the planters that I made to house our little air-loving beauties, so pop over there if you’re curious! Have the happiest of weeks, friends.