Summer is in full swing and this means longer days, fun in the sun, and warmer weather for your air plants. We normally recommend that your air plant care regimen be adjusted based on your environment as well as the type of air plant. Along with this, you will want to take the seasonal changes into consideration. Here are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to adjusting your air plant care in the warmer summer months:
WATER & HUMIDITY:
If you are in a drier climate, or are experiencing summer drought conditions, you may need to increase frequency of waterings or length of soak times in warmer months. If you live in a dry climate, you might consider selecting air plants that are more drought tolerant - which tend to be more silvery in color with more abundant trichomes.
Some areas increase in humidity in the summer. We live in Florida where this is certainly the case. While an increase in heat can mean thirstier plants, you will also want to adjust waterings based on the amount of humidity in your environment. If, for example, you keep your air plants on a covered patio where they get a lot of natural humidity from the air, they may need less frequent soakings. We also recommend that you take advantage of summer rain storms (if you're in an area that gets these) and collect rain water for your air plant baths.
Most air plants like bright indirect light (with a few exceptions). Be careful of direct light and the stronger summer sun which can be magnified by windows, terrarium glass, etc. You may find that you need to move the location of your air plant terrarium or display to a different window or further away from a light source in the summer months. Also keep in mind that with more light, air plants will often want more water as well so you may need to adjust your watering schedule and methods if your plants are getting more sunlight.
While most Tillandsia are native to warmer, tropical climates (with a few even able to thrive in more arid conditions), they can be negatively affected by extreme heat exposure. If you're ordering air plants in the summer and live in an area where it gets hot outside, carefully track your package shipment if you order plants and don't allow plants to sit for too long in a box in the hot summer sun. Remember, the temperature inside a closed box can climb much faster than outside temperatures.
AIR QUALITY & EXPOSURE:
Air conditioning is a must in many areas during the summer. But be careful not to display air plants too close to an AC vent, which can dry these plants out.
It's also important to ensure that air plants get lots of good air flow wherever you have the displayed. They should never sit in a vessel or display where air flow is restricted.
If you live in a cooler climate where your air plants are kept inside for most of the year, you may decide to bring them outsider during the more temperate summer months. This is normally a great idea, but the plants may need an adjustment in their care routine as they acclimate to the new environment, and it's important to keep temperature fluctuation and light exposure in mind if you do this.
Ultimately, the rule of thumb is that you should "listen" to your air plants - observe their response to their climate and care and adjust accordingly. While Tillandsia are relatively low maintenance, they like any plant will require different things depending on the plant species as well as your environment.
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