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At the nursery where I work, we regularly receive shipments of Tillandsias or “air plants”. Thoughts on maintaining them varied among employees, but the general consensus was that they required “occasional misting”. That seems logical, but what we ended up with were air plants that were too dry at the tips and rotted at the base.

Tillandsia bath

With multiple employees whisking by at random times to give a quick spritz , we were probably misting our tillandsias to death. Over time and after doing a bit more Googling, we decided instead to give our air plants a nice long bath in tepid water, with absolutely no misting between baths. Soaking times can vary, but the longest recommended time I found on Tillandsia sites was 24 hours. The result? Happy air plants!

When I soak my plants at home, the average soaking time is two to four hours, once every week or two. I let my plants’ appearance guide me in determining when to water. After removing my tillandsias from their bath water, they feel turgid back on their Thigmotrope Satellite Fleet tillandsia holders they go. To gauge when to water again, I just give the plants a gentle squeeze. If the leaves look curled or dull or limp and have some give when I squeeze them, it’s time to water again.

To ensure even soaking, I flip my plants mid-soak.

My next assignment is to find a good air plant fertilizer regimen, because I want to encourage them to multiply and re-bloom. Can that be achieved in my filtered-light bathroom? We’ll see!

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