Maintaining your air plants is very easy when you remember the basics. All air plants depend on three things: air temperature, light, and moisture. Following are general guidelines for keeping your air plants healthy and thriving.
Light For Air Plants
Air plants need a good amount of indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can quickly dry them out or burn them so be careful. Some air plants enjoy an hour or so in direct sun, but it is not necessary for the kinds of air plants you'll receive in products from Ozark Mountain Moss. The best place for your air plant displays is in a south-facing window that does not get direct sunlight. You can place your air plant holder 8 – 10 feet away from a window with bright light, but don't go farther than that. North-facing windows can also be fine, assuming they get a decent amount of light. If the light casts a distinct shadow from your air plant, it's probably OK. They can be grown outside, perhaps under the awning of your deck or porch. The same qualities hold true for indoor or outdoor maintenance. Wherever you place them, watch them carefully for a week or two. If the leaves curl up towards the light, they aren't getting enough!
You can also use artificial light sources. Grow-lights will work great with air plants. Plain incandescent lights don't work well and get very hot – not recommended. Fluorescent grow-lights should be within 4′ of your plants, and should be turned on for 12 hours a day. Of course, if you invest in massive halogen grow lamps, they can be a lot farther away. Just make sure the lights cast a strong shadow from your plants and they will be fine.
Water For Air Plants
Air plants get their nutrients from the air, and whatever water they receive. In the wild, they get rained on, misted, and they sometimes receive direct run-off. Air plants should never be left in standing water, and they should never be planted in soils or other substrates. Keeping them too wet will cause them to quickly rot.
Air plants can be placed on a bed of rocks or sand, wood, ceramics, plastics and textiles. When putting them in something soft like sand or cloths, make they they just rest on the surface – don't bury them in the material.
Chlorine can be harmful, so I highly recommend you do not use water straight from your tap. Rain water is the best water to use, followed by tap water that has been left open for at least 12 hours to let the chlorine break down. I collect rain water for my plants, but we do have long periods of hot, sunny weather. I fill an old gallon milk jug with tap water and leave it open for a day, and it works just fine. Please don't use true distilled water – it doesn't contain any nutrients that your air plants need.
When you first receive air plants in the mail, you will want to soak them in water for a couple hours. Simply fill a bowl or container large enough to hold your plant(s) and press your air plants under the water – then let them float. When the time is up, take them out and gently shake out the excess water, then lay them on a towel to dry. They should be dry in about 4 hours. If they are not, move them to an area with better air flow (but not direct sunlight). When they are dry, go ahead and put them in your containers.
From then on, you can simply mist your plants once or twice a week with a standard spray bottle. The finer the mist, the better, but don't obsess over it! Simply wet each plant enough to see the color change (they turn a deeper green), and place them back in their container. You don't want water remaining between the leaves, so if there is, just shake it off gently.
If you live in a dry, arid area, it's a good idea to soak your plants weekly for about 30 minutes. Do it like I said above, just soak them for less time.
Temperature For Air Plants
Air plants will thrive between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They should be maintained in an area with good air flow. If you place your plant(s) in a container, be sure it has air vents. Do not put air plants in closed terrariums! They are far too humid and warm. The globes we provide are ideal for your air plants, as they have large main openings and/or air vents. Your plants will stay healthy and happy!