Ask a Question forum: Air Plant Help

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Denver, CO
Ashley_G
Apr 12, 2018 11:19 PM CST
Hello!

I'm going a little crazy trying to figure out why I've killed SO many air plants. I've purchased them multiple times, and tried every technique I've read, but to no avail. I'm posting here to see if anyone can help, as I'm tired of seeing the poor little babies die!

My problem appears to be rot, based on the photos I see online. I've attached one so you can see. It always starts at the base, and the plant gets brown and squishy. Here's the thing...I live in Colorado and it's dry here. I water once a week by submerging them for 20-30 min, then let them dry upside down for a few hours before putting them back in their containers. I've attached a photo of the containers I use. Could it possibly be poor airflow from the containers? Also, the lighting in my apartment isn't amazing...they're not in a windowsill, just a shelf in a corner of the room...but the room gets some sunlight during the day, it's just not directly on the plants at all. I use city tap water to water them...could that possibly cause this?

They all seem to die the same way, a few months after I buy them. Ive bought from multiple sellers as well. I've dealt with this for years and just keep buying more in hopes that it will get better, but never does. Hopefully someone who knows more about this than me can help shed some light on this unfortunate situation!

Thanks!
Ashley


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Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Calif_Sue
Apr 12, 2018 11:29 PM CST

Moderator

Air plants need good air circulation, can't get that in a terraium.

As quoted from this article 6 simple tricks to keep your air plant alive:

"An enclosed vessel encourages wet, stagnant conditions, and this spells disaster. If you just can't get over glass, choose a vessel with as wide a hole as possible, and be sure to let plants dry fully before you place them back inside.
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Denver, CO
Ashley_G
Apr 12, 2018 11:39 PM CST
Thanks for your reply Sue!

Just to clarify (not sure if this makes a difference), both containers have one of the large glass panels missing...I'm assuming that's still not enough airflow since the rest is still enclosed?

Thanks so much!
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
Plant Database Moderator Region: California Cottage Gardener Roses Irises Clematis
Garden Photography Keeper of Poultry Hummingbirder Bee Lover Butterflies Houseplants
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Calif_Sue
Apr 12, 2018 11:47 PM CST

Moderator

Most of the info I found say they really do best with good air circulation, even with one panel open, that wouldn't really supply enough circulation.
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Apr 12, 2018 11:59 PM CST
I would try putting them on a bowl with pebbles in the bottom. Keep water in the pebbles but don't let it touch the plants. Humidity and air circulation are important, but I have tried terrariums and it has never worked for me.
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BigBill
Apr 13, 2018 4:18 AM CST
It appears that your air plant is a type of Bromeliad known as Tillandsias. If it is, it likes to be grown on twigs and stems, out in good air circulation with just occasional waterings and mistings
But in trying to put it into a container of some kind you have found the method to kill them, not to grow them. This term " air plant" gets ridiculously applied at all the wrong times in my opinion. Just because a bromeliad grows as an epiphyte, this does not make it an air plant.
If you provide their natural environment they will thrive.
The terrarium is designed to grow plants in a more damp and humid environment with little air movement. Tillandsias rot in those conditions.
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Denver, CO
Ashley_G
Apr 13, 2018 6:04 AM CST
Thanks everyone, this info is really helpful. I will figure out another place to grow them, and use the terrariums for something else. I think I got too attached to the terrariums because they were a gift and I love how they look in my home decor, but it's humbling to know that's likely what's killing the plants...and that I know much less than I thought I did about this subject. Again, thanks for all your help!



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