How do I keep my air plant happy?

Air plants

I was excited to see that Evita (aka Le Papillon Vert) and I have similar tastes in air plant displays. See how pretty hers look up there? Staring at this photo is like taking a little trip to a Zen garden. So… where did I go wrong with MY air plant and sea creature combo? Just look at this depressing display:

Sad dead air plant is sad and dead.

Yes, I am still displaying a dead air plant. Apparently these plants are NOT as hard to kill as I was told. Anyone have any advice as to how to (properly!) care for air plants?

  1. I bought some airplants last summer after hearing everywhere how incredibly easy they are to take care of….then accidentally killed them. I must have a thumb of death instead of a green thumb.

    5 agree
  2. I killed my airplant too!!! My mom had an airplant that literally lived glued to a magnet on our fridge for like…20 years, and somehow I killed my airplant that lived in a nice lil' terrarium where it should have been WAY happier than that fridge plant. Boo! I would love to know the secret to keeping these guys happy too :)

    3 agree
  3. Mine is dying too :-( He's trapped inside a hanging glass bulb with a few holes in it (but the holes are too small to pull him out of, so he has to be watered with an eyedropper, and apparently that is just not doing it for him.)

    But then, I've also turned my few remaining wedding succulents into hideous mutant plants that are dying off one-by-one, so maybe I just have a black thumb.

    1 agrees
  4. From your photo I'm guessing it didn't get enough light?
    According to they need light and a soak each week. If you have given them the soak, it's probably a light issue.

    2 agree
  5. yerp…. i've killed an air plant, numerous succulents, at least 5 cacti, and am currently in the process of killing my beloved aloe. :face palm:

    • with that mix you might be watering them too much. Make sure you let them get good and dry between waterings.

      2 agree
  6. I have air plants at work that are growing pups now.They sit in a south facing window with the blinds partially open (direct sunlight will give them sunburn, same goes for my aloe), and twice a week I'll toss them in a vase and cover them with water for an hour or so. They don't like humidity, so sometimes you have to drain them on paper towels before putting them back in the window. Overall, it is a little more work than "water sometimes, give it light" plants such as jade plants or other succulents so it's easier to mess up despite thriving after neglect.

    1 agrees
  7. I've killed air plants as well. Also killed mint… in Oregon. o.0

    • My neighbors have a HUGE mint plant in their backyard (in Oregon) that they can't tame. I wonder what the difference is?

  8. It would be great to see a post from an expert on keeping common indoor plants alive. I've killed every plant in my possession including an expensive bonsai that I loved. My problem with plant advice is it all seems so general 'water until good and soaked' doesn't really make sense to me. I need specifics here! How much water? Exactly how frequently? How do I revive it if the leaves are starting to turn brown? Halp!

    • And here I thought I had read the entire offbeat home post library. Thanks!

  9. Megan – could you give us anymore info on their growing environment? Our Tillandsia generally love a lot indirect lighting and the indoor kids are soaked about once a week (we try to use rainwater as much as possible). We have others hanging outside on the porch that live in high humidity and Michael gives them a rainwater spritz every so often. Several are producing pups. As much as I whine about the Lowcountry humidity, the Carnies and several other plants in the garden seem to love it.

    We bought the two pictured from Southeast Succulents. They're more than happy to answer your question on FB.

    Thanks for featuring our kids!

    • You have turned into a total nerd, you know that right?

      ..i hearts you

      1 agrees
    • Okay, this is a wider view of where the airplant lives. It's on the top shelf, just to the left of the mask hanging on the wall (you can click on the photo to see a note about exactly where it is on Flickr)

      That's a southwest facing window, so I FEEL like it gets enough direct sunlight. I also once tried to soak an airplant and it fell apart right after, so I stopped doing that.

      1 agrees
  10. Professional opinion: "hard to kill" plants are bullshit. This is the only plant I've been given and told it was "easy to grow, hard to kill" that I've ever been able to successfully "keep alive" for any real time, and that's only because the damn thing is the zombie of the plant world.

    2 agree
    • Mine looks all brown and sad….still uncurls and all, but I think at one point it had mold. We've just got no sun whatsoever for plants, so growing anything is bad. I have almost failed at the zombie of the plant world. I feel ashamed.

      2 agree
  11. This post helped me so much! And you guys are funny in the comments. :D I go back and forth between a green and black thumb but it makes for a pretty gradient effect.

  12. I have one that I found wild, it had been knocked off a tree from a storm, that was in florida, we are now in NY and though it had thrived on our screen porch in FL it is dying now. I found this site and this site it says if they have any green you can try and revive them. I dont have anything large enough to completely submerge it so I have it almost submerged in the bathroom sink, hoping if I try this process I can get it back, it still has a minute amount of green, so fingers crossed. Hope that helps some people.

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