Air Plant Lifespan – How to Care and Increase the Lifespan of an Air Plant

Air plants add more life and colour to your home, and it’s no doubt that most people like them. The combination of an air plant and an attractive art piece gives you an excellent decoration at home or as a gift to someone special. 

Are you worried about your air plant lifespan? The amount of water it requires for sustainability? Then, worry no more because you are in the right place to understand how to increase the air plant lifespan by reading this article.

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What’s the Lifespan of an Air Plant?

Air plants are a mystery to many people because they produce various blossoms, and they grow without soil. Now, allow us to remove that mystery for you. Have you ever asked yourself what an air plant is?

Air Plants are Tillandsia or air fern, also known as epiphytes. They belong to a plant family known as Bromeliaceous, the same as the pineapple. Air plants are fascinating and intriguing America’s tropical plants. They have narrow leaves that enable them to feed on water and air.

The Lifespan Of An Air Plant
The Lifespan of An Air Plant

Given that they are epiphytes, they do not depend on soil for growth; instead, they rely on other plants. Air plants have different shades of colours, such as silver and green. They become fiery red with several contrasting colours at maturity or during the flowering period. Now that you have a little knowledge about air plants, what’s the lifespan of an air plant?

Probably you have seen air plants in their natural habitat if you live in a tropical environment. And, all living things are bound to die at a point in their life, and the air plant is not exempted. We are sure that you desire to see plants in your collection get prolonged lifespan before succumbing to old age.

Air plants always live for a minimum of five years from germination to death due to natural causes. Some of its varieties can live beyond the minimum years. Therefore, if you continue reading this entire article, you can get all the best tips you need to increase your air plant lifespan.

The Way to Increase the Air Plant Lifespan

Air plants are the easiest plant to take care of. Most of them survive naturally by hanging at the bark of trees and catching little raindrops. But just like any other plant, most people are having difficulty taking care of them. Therefore, the following ways can help you increase their lifespan:

The Way To Increase The Air Plant Lifespan
Way to Increase The Air Plant Lifespan

1. Expose Air Plant to the Right Amount of Light

You should provide your air plant with the right amount of direct sunlight. It is imperative to allow them to mist several times within a week. But do not allow the mist to exceed a few minutes of direct sunlight. Exposing it to diffused sunlight provides your air plant the required amount of photosynthesis for healthy growth.

2. Provide Adequate amount of Water

Do you know how much water your air plant needs? You should water your air plant approximately once or twice a week. Because without providing adequate water, they can wither and die.

You can soak the entire plant for hydration purposes, except flowers, in water for about 2 to 4 hours. Soak it in a large bowl or sink of bottled water or freshwater tap. After watering your air plant, do not immediately return it to its base; shake it to remove excess water.

3. Trim the Air Plant

You must know that plants need to be trimmed to look neat and attractive. Some of your air plant’s lower leaves become dry or wither with time due to old age or harsh climatic conditions. So you can trim them by gently removing the withered or dead leaves.

You can also prune the dried leaves carefully to avoid damaging them. Once the roots and leaves begin to show signs of drying, trim them because they can grow once more. Assess the plant of any damaged parts and remove them immediately too.

4. Provide the Correct Amount of Humidity

Humidity is a very significant factor for the survival of your air plant. Warm temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees are ideal for it. Most air plants do favourably well in tropical or humid areas.

5. Apply the Right Amount of Fertilizer

Frequent fertilizer application to the air plants helps their leaves to be strong and healthy. It is advisable to use water-soluble fertilizers with a range of about ¼ in strength.

Air plants are in the bromeliad family, so it is preferable to use bromeliad fertilizers. Dissolve the fertilizer in water and feed it to the plant. Do this only once within a month and during soaking and watering sessions.

Tips for Caring for an Air Plant (Do’s and Don’ts)

Air plants need proper care and environmental consideration to thrive. Nevertheless, they require adequate water, light, fertilizer, humidity, air, and nutrients to survive. It’s quite easy to learn how to care for your air plant. Here are the best tips we recommend for caring for an air plant:

Tips for Caring for an Air Plant
An Air Plant in a Bowl

1. Light

Light is one of the most significant factors that air plants need. Exposing air plants to over 12-hours of light is not recommended. All the species grow perfectly well when exposed to bright indirect light. 

And, in case you are keeping them indoors, ensure that you place them near the adequate source of light, such as 3 to 5 feet of a window. And, water the plants regularly if you want to expose them to direct sunlight. Another good source of light is artificial light, such as fluorescent lighting at full-spectrum (12-hours maximum).

2. Environment

When determining how to care for your air plant, you should also consider the environment, such as the frequency and method of watering the plant. In case you live in a dry area, you should water it frequently or mist them regularly in between soaks. But you should water them less often if you live in humid areas.

3. Water

Watering indoor air plants at least once a week makes them grow healthy and strong, so you can mist them during watering using a spray bottle. You can also soak them facing down in a sink or large bowl for about 10 to 20 minutes. Gently shake any excess water off the plant base because sitting water can lead to rot or kill them.

You should water the plant in the morning and leave them out for about 4 to 5 hours. Apart from that you can use the dunking method to water your plants and remove any excess water by shaking them off. If your plants look dehydrated (“thirsty”), soak them in a container overnight or for a few hours.

Let the tap water stand for some hours to dispel harmful chemicals such as chlorine before watering your plants. If possible, you can use the rain, pond, or bottled water because they contain enough nutrients.

4. Air

Air is another significant variable to your air plant. Ensure that you have adequate air circulation after watering them. Use a glass container with a wide opening because the plants thrive best if plenty of air surrounds them.

Expose the plant to short bursts of direct sunlight for about four hours to get wet. It allows them to absorb air moisture. That is why it is recommended to put the air plants in an open place because if they are enclosed, they struggle to flourish.

5. Fertilizer Application

Use bromeliad fertilizer in small quantities once a month. Another fertilizer recommended is any indoor fertilizer that contains low copper content or orchid. Ensure you dilute the fertilizer before applying it to avoid burning the plant.

6. Trimming

Ensure that you trim the overgrown or dead leaves off your air plants using pruning shears at an angle to give them a natural appearance. Most varieties are shipped with roots, and you can remove them if you wish. The plants use the roots as anchorage to their host.

7. Temperature

Air plants can be subjected to different temperature variations because they can be either indoor or outdoor plants. Higher temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees Celsius are ideal for the plant. Remember that warm temperatures require more water for the plant.

8. Pups

As the air plant approaches maturity, it produces pups. So you can remove them after attaining 1/3 size of the mother plant. You can also choose to leave them and later form a clump, which can excite you as it grows and blooms.

Things Not To Do When Caring For An Air Plant
Not to Do When Caring for an Air Plant

Things Not to Do When Caring for an Air Plant

There are some things that you must not do when caring for your air plant:

  • Do not expose your air plants to excess direct sunlight because it is very harmful to indoor and outdoor environments. Ensure you provide a shed to prevent them from getting full sunlight.
  • Do not use misting as the primary source of moisture during watering. Never allow the plants to sit in water for a long time. And, do not submerge the flowers in water and do not put them in the soil.
  • Although air plants do well in containers, do not display them in a closed container to prevent them from getting completely dry because it restricts air circulation.

Final Thoughts

Water, light, and air are the primary and significant factors that you must be aware of when caring for your air plant. You need to adjust these variables depending on the environment to improve air plant lifespan. Pay close attention to their condition to determine if it requires less water or excess light. Caring for them can become very interesting. Try it out!


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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Do air plants die after flowering?

Yes, air plants eventually succumb to death after flowering. This is because flowering is the peak of its life cycle and is the beginning of old age. After flowering just before dying, it reproduces about 3 to 9 pups.

Why are air plants different from other plants?

You can identify air plants through their tiny size and lack of roots. They rely on water and water for growth but do not depend on water like other traditional plants. They are also epiphytes hence do not need soil for growth which makes them different.

How much light do air plants need?

They require indirect and bright sunlight for them to thrive. Windows facing south or east are suitable for such light because their spaces provide bright illumination throughout the day.

How often should you water your air plants?

Water your plants once a week and 2 to 3 times is recommended for excellent care. You can also soak them for about 2 hours every 2 or 3 weeks. If you live in dry areas, then you must water them regularly.

Where should you keep your air plants?

Place your plants in rooms with windows facing the southern or eastern side to allow indirect and bright sunlight. The spaces between the windows are brightly illuminated with adequate sunlight most of the day. 

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