How do I keep my air plant happy?

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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?

Comments on How do I keep my air plant happy?

  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.

  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. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

    • People do tend to get confused about watering houseplants, and think if they water very well they will drown it. This could not be further from the truth! It can only be watered to death if you drench it too often, but every time that it is time to water (according to the individual plants needs) you need to really drench the soil well. Let the excess water flow freely out the bottom so the soil is well saturated, and no, you won’t drown it! This also lets excess fertilizer salts drain out as well. The difference is, if you did this EVERY day, yes you would drown the plant! I am plant mom to dozens of orchids, african violets, spider plants, etc. and over 65 air plants. They all thrive for me. 🙂

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

    • 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.

  8. 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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