Did you know… the Tillandsia is named after the Swedish botanist Elias Tillandz? Not only because his name means “by land,” but also because he himself preferred to travel by land rather than water. It is said that Tillandz hated water – just as the air plant is not a fan. You will never find this plant growing close to the ground, where it might end up in a puddle of rainwater. On this page you’ll find all information on Tillandsia air plant care, from the ideal spot until repotting instructions. Follow these Tillandsia air plant care guidelines and help yours live a long and healthy life.
The Tillandsia air plant is an epiphyte. This means that the plant does not retrieve its nutrients from the soil, but from the air surrounding it. Air plants grow on other plants, rocks or trees without extracting nutrients from them. They therefore have little or no roots. They absorb oxygen, water and other nutrients from the environment through small opening in their leaves. You can therefore place or hang Tillandsias anywhere.
Air plants originate from rainforests in Central and South America and belong to the Bromeliad family. The air plant is therefore used to a high humidity, which you can maintain indoors by misting it regularly. Other than that, the Tillandsia is quite easy to care for. So long as you place it in a good spot, it’s no problem if you forget to water it every once in a while. Read on for all Tillandsia air plant care tips.
Tillandsia air plant light requirements
The Tillandsia air plant prefers a light spot in your home. During winter, a sunny spot is okay as well, but during summer it is better to avoid direct sunlight. What’s good to know is that air plants with dark leaves tolerate less sunlight than air plants with a light leaf color. Make sure to place the air plant in a well-ventilated place. If you’d like, you could also place the plant outside during summer.
Tillandsia care: water
The Tillandsia prefers rainwater, because of the many nutrients it contains. So if you have a rain barrel, or can put a bucket outside, we definitely recommend using this water. No rainwater? Then it’s best to use lime-free water at room temperature.
There are two ways to water the Tillandsia: with a plant sprayer or by dipping it in water.
Water air plants by spraying them twice a week. During hot summer weeks, we recommend doing this approx. 3 to 4 times a week.
Dipping it in water
Dipping the air plant in water takes a bit more effort than spraying, but the plant will certainly appreciate it. Immerse the air plant in a bath of lukewarm water for 2 to 4 hours. Do this for approx. 2 hours during the winter and approx. 4 hours during the summer. Then allow the plant to drip upside down, on a towel or kitchen paper. Once there’s no more water dripping from the Tillandsia, you can shake it gently to remove any excess water. Place or hang the plant in a drafty place, such as an open window. Return the Tillandsia to its original spot once it is completely dry. Repeat this treatment approx. 2 times a month and spray the plant from time to time.
Is your air plant hanging or standing in the bathroom? Then it needs less water because the humidity is a lot higher here.
Are the Tillandsia leaves more curly than usual? That’s a sign that it needs water.
As an air plant, the Tillandsia gets its nutrients from the environment, not from the soil. For this reason, you do not have to repot the plant.
Tillandsia air plant care: Fertilizer requirements
The air plant is a slow-growing plant that requires little fertilizer. If you water the plant with rain water, extra fertilizer won’t be necessary.
Is the Tillandsia air plant poisonous?
All outdoor and indoor plants on Plantler have a decorative purpose; they’re not fit for consumption – unless it is explicitly stated that they are (i.e. a fruit tree). The Strelitzia is generally not known to be a poisonous plant.