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Everything you need to know about caring for your air plants

Air plants may be your new mess free, low maintenance house plants for any room in the house.

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By House & Garden South Africa | August 17, 2023 | Diy

Air plants are the wonderful soil-free trending house plants. They may not require a lot of water or fuss, but they definitely deserve your care just like any other house plant.

While it may seem strange caring for a plant without any roots planted in a bed of soil, air plants use their very short roots as support anchors instead of nutrient-absorption. Instead, the small hair-like fibres on their leaves absorb nutrients from humidity and any rainwater. With over 500 different kinds of air plants, — also known as Tillandsias, and close relatives of pineapples, — there is an air plant for anyone.

On August 26, House & Garden is hosting our first DIY event: H&G It Yourself, where guests will learn all about and take home their own terrariums, perfect for beginner gardeners. Also, if you love sharing your sweet tooth, you will learn how to make your own delicious dessert-inspired candle from Cape Town’s Apothacafe.

How to water your air plants

Since there are hundreds of air plant species, the best watering method will depend on your type of air plant, the vessel they are mounted in, and how dry the leaves are. The most common watering methods are submerging air plants in water, drenching until dripping wet, or misting.

Especially in the winter when the air in our homes is dryer as we introduce more warmth from heaters and fireplaces, misting every few days helps with introducing moisture from the surface.

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Air plants can be stored in unique vessels

For the mighty air plant, home is what you make it. Air plants can be suspended by a piece of string in a steamy shower or perched in a curated terrarium. Air plants are “epiphytes”, which means they attach themselves to other plants for support, but do not rely on the host to thrive, (like a parasitic body). This means, anything can be a home for an air plant. Consider trays, macramé hangers, crystals, shallow pots, or even seashells for air plant vessels.

@airtings Added some new variety to the pack! #airtings #plantsforsale #plantsoftiktok #houseplantsoftiktok #airplantsoftiktok #plants ♬ Her Way (Sped Up) - PARTYNEXTDOOR

How to spot a healthy and unhealthy air plant

Like any other plant, if air plants are not receiving the right amount of water, sunlight, and air, then they will die. Your air plant’s leaves will be the best indicator of a struggling plant since that is its main receptor for nutrients. Even though air plants have evolved to thrive in harsher environments, they still exhibit signs of stress.

If your air plant’s leaves are browning on their tips, dried out to a papery texture, or fall off completely, your plant may be on its way out. Your air plant may even get soggy and start to smell if you do not dry it off properly after watering it.

@urbansproutsstore Not sure if your air plant is still among the living? Jen’s got some tips for you. #airplants #plantcare #plantcaretips #houseplants ♬ original sound

Tickets for the H&G It Yourself on August 26th at the Old Biscuit Mill are available via Quicket.