Trying Not To Kill The Air Plants

old-and-new-air-plants-tilandasia-hicksI love air plants, that they don’t need pots or messy soil. In nature they grow on the sides of trees in humid environments and feed off the moisture in the air.  How hard can it be to keep them alive, right?

This summer saw the possible demise of three plants I bought at the beginning of the season. I didn’t keep them hydrated enough and they lived under a ceiling fan. They were pretty shriveled up by the time I realized that my nice breeze was their kiss of death.

I visited Hick’s Nurseries, one of Long Island larger garden centers. After I selected three replacement plants, the staff member there advised me to:

  • Soak them for half an hour weekly
  • Allow them to air dry facing downward, with the root end up, on a paper towel
  • Don’t let them sit in water.
  • Don’t let water sit in the base of the leaves.
  • They like lots of sun, but not direct sun.


I arranged the new plants in the same martini glass the old ones were in, then had the idea to create a mini greenhouse for the dried plants to recuperate in:

  1. I put them in a little glass bowl
  2. The little glass bowl went into a larger bowl that had about a teaspoon of water in it
  3. Covered the little bowl with a clear glass bowl to allow moisture into the plant environment without them sitting in water.
  4. (It was an otherwise boring day with way too much thinking time.)

Mixed results: the two larger plants perked up a bit but the little one still looks dead.  I’m going to let them stay uncovered on and off to prevent rot. They won’t look as full as the new plants but I am enjoying this little experiment.  I do know that I won’t buy the little plants again because they die more easily.

Hicks Nursery, 9-16-16It’s great to have an old-school garden center within driving distance where I can get knowledgeable answers to my plant questions. I love browsing around these places, breathing in the scents and getting inspired. I get sad sometimes that I don’t have the space to make garden magic happen but that’s a transient feeling. More often than not, I just like walking around, enjoying the view.




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