Ask a Question forum: Air plants: over-watering?

Views: 3231, Replies: 19 » Jump to the end
Burbank, CA, USA ZIP 91506
dafneyagu
Jul 27, 2017 5:18 PM CST
Hello everyone,
My question is regarding air plants.
I recently started growing them indoors, I live in California USA where it is really dry during these months. I did my research and started watering the plants soaking them in water 2-3/week. They look all right. But during my research I read that brown colored plant bottoms might mean overwatering, and one of the plants I got actually looks like that (please see pic). It's been like that since I got it, it is not something that happened after starting watering it myself, but once I read that I might be having this issue I'm concerned about the care I'm giving to my air plants, this one in particular.
So my question I guess is: does this species have this color naturally, or do you think it is over watered? And if so, do I still have time to fix it? Again, it came like this when I got it 3 weeks ago, and never changed... The leaves and rest of the plant looks healthy actually...
OK, I love this forum and I thank you all in advance!
Dafne, from Burbank, California, USA.
Thumb of 2017-07-27/dafneyagu/fda540

Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America Deer Region: New York Birds Cat Lover
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Container Gardener Hostas Tropicals Dog Lover Hummingbirder
Image
Christine
Jul 28, 2017 5:39 AM CST
It's always been my understanding that air plants should be misted and not watered, I may be wrong, other members will know better than I and then we'll both know Hilarious!
Welcome!
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
Image
plantmanager
Jul 28, 2017 9:38 AM CST
I soak mine at least once a week, and mist daily. Most of mine were brown at the bottom when I got them. I just figured that was the way they are, and they don't seem to have any problems. Most of them have bloomed for me already. They do dry out quickly, so I have to remember them.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Alyssa Blue
Ohio (Zone 5b)
Bloom where you're planted
Garden Art Butterflies Orchids Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds
Houseplants Dragonflies Hibiscus Plant Identifier
Image
AlyssaBlue
Jul 28, 2017 12:41 PM CST
I think yours is great! I have the same type and its brown at the base, just like yours. I have tried misting vs. soaking on both of my air plants. When I would soak, it would be for 20 min increments once/week and it worked well. But the last time I soaked your type of air plant, I forgot and left it about an hour, and a few of the "stems" turned yellow-ish. So now I've just been misting when I remember (it's been very humid recently), and skipped the soaking. They're doing fine.

I don't think there's an easy answer for how to water these air plants. It is just like orchids- everyone has their own routine.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
Image
plantmanager
Jul 28, 2017 12:44 PM CST
I forgot to say I soak mine in distilled water with a bit of liquid fertilizer added. Our water has too many minerals in it and would turn the air plants white.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
Image
ctcarol
Jul 28, 2017 12:56 PM CST
Mine is a different type, but I just spray it with the orchid water/food every other day along with my Broms. I do use rain water or RO water.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
Jul 28, 2017 4:21 PM CST
I'm probably wrong.
But. Don't air plants make little roots that they use to hang on to the trees that they grow on ?😕?
I've never seen an air plant that looks like that.
To me. It looks like an aloe vera. Can aloe vera's be grown as a air plant ? Shrug! ?
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
Image
ctcarol
Jul 28, 2017 6:41 PM CST
Philip, NO!
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
Image
Baja_Costero
Jul 28, 2017 9:23 PM CST
To add to the variety of care recommendations, I will offer my own experience, which is limited. In our climate (which is like a drier version of coastal SoCal) there is lots of fog in the summer even if there is no rain for months on end. Our average humidity year round is 80%, so I don't really worry about my Tillandsias drying out. I sprinkle them a few times when I water certain plants (regularly, twice a week). That water has some dilute nutrients mixed in (equivalent to 1/20 the recommended dose on the MG granulated fertilizer).

Clearly your own climate will dictate the best care, this is just to share my experience, which in some ways reflects the natural habitat these plants occupy, where the moisture in the air is often what keeps them going (plus the condensation that accompanies changes in temperature). Tillandsias don't get submerged in fertilizer water in nature and it hasn't apparently been a great impediment to their survival there. Smiling
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
Image
tarev
Jul 28, 2017 11:22 PM CST
Hello dafneyagu! Your plant still looks okay, but if you grow this indoors, allow it to get lots of air, occasionally let your ceiling fans run if you have it, or put it by the window for some air, weather permitting. My tillies are outdoors right now but in shade, and since it is just so dry here, they get daily misting in the mornings. They are holding well, since there is a lot of airflow around them.

It is also natural for the lower outer leaves to eventually dry out and peel off. As long as the center part is growing new ones and that crown area is not sitting in too much water, it should be okay to dunk it in water, maybe once a week just make sure to shake off the excess water. I understand what you say about the dry weather, so lousy humidity for us.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
Jul 29, 2017 5:21 AM CST
Carol said NO !
😬 please dont yell at me. 😬
I'm allready deaf in one ear, and can't hear out the other.
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America Deer Region: New York Birds Cat Lover
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Container Gardener Hostas Tropicals Dog Lover Hummingbirder
Image
Christine
Jul 29, 2017 5:24 AM CST
Thank you all for educating me, I've learned something new Thumbs up
Name: Alyssa Blue
Ohio (Zone 5b)
Bloom where you're planted
Garden Art Butterflies Orchids Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds
Houseplants Dragonflies Hibiscus Plant Identifier
Image
AlyssaBlue
Jul 29, 2017 10:18 AM CST
Hey- as long as we have air plant people together, has anyone purchased an air plant that was glued to something (like a sea urchin shell), and later separated it?

I just separated this one from the original glued section. We will see how it goes. So I rinsed it and am letting it drip so water doesn't sit in the crown. You will see the few yellowed stems. Not bad though.
Thumb of 2017-07-29/AlyssaBlue/7421d3

[Last edited by AlyssaBlue - Jul 29, 2017 10:31 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1515200 (13)
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
Image
tarev
Jul 29, 2017 2:04 PM CST
Hi AlyssaBlue, yup, some of my tillies are still glued to a ceramic thing. I just let it grow there, does not bother it anyways. What is more important is to allow it to grow with lots of air and the needed moisture especially this summer time.
Burbank, CA, USA ZIP 91506
dafneyagu
Jul 30, 2017 10:00 PM CST
Guys, thank you all for all the learning here!
So, I suppose my air plant (from the first pic above), is doing all right for now... Will follow all suggestions regarding watering, thank you!!! Smiling

Gladysj58
Jul 27, 2018 3:44 PM CST
Thank you for the info. my granddaughter gave me a air plant for my birthday, (guess she forgot I KILLED AN ARTIFICIAL PLANT.) Anyway, I am trying to figure what is best for watering... she said to spray it everyday morning and night just until the whiteness is gone. As I said,, I killed a artificial plant and don't want this to end up the same way. I have had it for almost a week and much to my surprise it seems to be growing(????????). Today I soaked it for about 20 mins. going by what few articals I have read. so now it is drying on a paper towel after I light shook excess water off. Is this the right way to care for them...…… Thank you.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
Image
plantmanager
Jul 27, 2018 3:56 PM CST
Welcome! @Gladysj58! It sounds like you'll do fine with your gifted air plant. Just keep doing what you're doing, and make sure it's in an airy place like Tarev mentioned. They do well near fans or open windows. Good luck!
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
Orchid Judge
Region: United States of America Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Orchids Cat Lover Birds Dahlias
BigBill
Jul 27, 2018 4:20 PM CST
They are NOT "air plants". They are Tillandsias as was mentioned before. And everyone needs to travel to south Florida to see just how they grow. They are growing right out in the open on tree beaches.
I have seen three to five dozen plants on a single 6' high citrus tree. Live Oaks are another great host plant! There is no soil, no fertilizer as we normally think of it. They attach to a host plant and grow larger constantly. As they grow they have the ability to capture insects parts, algae, bird droppings, leaf litter etc.
Some trees harbor larger Bromeliads. Tillandsias are small Bromeliads.
The most outstanding example I can think of is the large Bromeliad with gray/green foliage and a tall spike with pink and blue flowers. These produce new plants around the base of the mother plant called "pups".
The best advice I can give you is to go easy with you watering. In south Florida they are subjected to a wet season from Mid May to late September. Some years they see 40" of rain!! During the dry season, October to May, they get 10-15" of rain over the course of 8 months. I lived there for nine years, had hundreds of them in my yard yet I NEVER watered them. During dry times, the leaves would curl inward I would imagine in order to conserve moisture. This is what they are programmed to do. At times they go 6 weeks or more without a decent shower.
If you "Mother them" with too much water, too much fertilizer and too much care, don't be surprised if you kill them. I guess it would be ' killing them with kindness'. Not every plant we grow needs our care in order to grow! Some plants are going to do just fine without our help, better perhaps!!!
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
[Last edited by BigBill - Jul 27, 2018 4:23 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1773603 (18)
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
Orchid Judge
Region: United States of America Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Orchids Cat Lover Birds Dahlias
BigBill
Jul 27, 2018 4:34 PM CST
Thumb of 2018-07-27/BigBill/ab80b2
Thumb of 2018-07-27/BigBill/e8c000

Here are images of a medium sized Bromeliad growing in the Corkscrew Swamp Preserve in Collier County. Look closely at the image of the full plant. It was growing on the trunk of a Longleaf Pine. No soil! But look closely and see all of the cypress needles that accumulated at the base of the plant, it is that pale cinnamon colored stuff at the base.
The ecology of the swamp is a wet/dry season. During a wet year, there may be up to a foot or more of water on the ground in the swamp. In drier years, no standing water at all!! Yet nobody waters them, they are adapted for survival in this environment. I think if you keep the humidity up and try to re-create the wet/dry season, the more success you'll have!
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
[Last edited by BigBill - Jul 27, 2018 4:36 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1773617 (19)
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Orchids Cactus and Succulents Region: New Jersey Region: Pennsylvania Native Plants and Wildflowers Greenhouse
Ponds Keeper of Koi Forum moderator Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Adeniums Spiders!
Image
Ursula
Jul 27, 2018 5:13 PM CST
And here is a picture of Tillandsias growing on a wire in Ecuador! Smiling
Thumb of 2018-07-27/Ursula/b37cef

I should mention that at our visit we rarely had a day where it didn't pour at least once a day. Never mind gentle mist in that location.
I probably have somewhere a picture of Tillandsias growing on wires like that next to the Iguazu waterfall in Brazil, where they would be in dense mist for hours and also flooded plenty, daily!

[Last edited by Ursula - Jul 27, 2018 5:27 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1773641 (20)

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by Fleur569 and is called "Textures"