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

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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.
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Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
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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!
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Name: Karen
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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.
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Name: Alyssa Blue
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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 Critters Allowed Region: Arizona Xeriscape Greenhouse Annuals
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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.
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Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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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)
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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.
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ctcarol
Jul 28, 2017 6:41 PM CST
Philip, NO!
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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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)
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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)
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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
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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)
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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.
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[Last edited by AlyssaBlue - Jul 29, 2017 10:31 AM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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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

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