Some air plant species have naturally brown bases/leaves at the bottom such as the Juncea or Melanocrater Tricolor, but if you see browning at the base of your Xerographica or Ionantha, this can indicate an issue such as rot.
The base of an air plant should feel firm when you squeeze it. If it is mushy or soft, this may be another indicator of rot or another issue such as lack of water or inadequate sunlight.
Most air plants have bases that are the same color as the rest of the plant. The leaves extend out from this base, and often are quite easy to pull away from the base, so be careful! Under these leaves is where you will often find pups that begin to grow from the base of the mother plant after it blooms.
You might notice that some air plants have leaves that are quite sharp at their bases. Plants like the Juncea, Melanocrater Tricolor, Roland Gosselini, and Fasciculata all have pretty sharp bottom leaves so take care when touching them!
If you notice any excessive browning that starts at the base of the plant and extends towards the leaves, or if the base is turning yellow or soft, this is a good indicator that there is something wrong with your plant.
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any air plant care questions. We are happy to help diagnose what might be going on with your plant!