Nine Reasons Your Air Plant Died

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If your air plant looks like it’s sick,

chances are, it won’t recover.

 

Dead air plants are very sad. We’re sorry for you. But don’t give up yet, because thriving air plants bring so much joy. Your next air plant will thrive because you read this article.

 

Why Your Air Plant Died

Air plant death by overwatering

Air plant death by overwatering

  1. Overwatering - more air plants die from overwatering than under watering. The tell tale sign is that your air plant looks brown at the bottom, and it’s and slimy. Try a spray bottle instead of dunking or soaking your air plants in a bath. Make sure your air plant dries fully in between waterings. Mist your air plants between 1-3 times a week only. Less is more. Drying your air plant within four hours is important because air plants can become overwatered by simply not drying out. If your air plant isn’t drying within 4 hours of watering get the fan on it and water it less next time.

 
This air plant died from a lack of humidity

This air plant died from a lack of humidity

2. Lack of Air - causes nutrient deficiency in air plants. It causes ‘dry rot’. If there is not enough air flow around air plants, there isn’t enough food. Remember that air plants get food from air. Avoid placing air plants in terrariums or small, still rooms like bathrooms - there is simply not enough air flow in small spaces. Instead choose a location with plenty of fresh air like near an open window, in a larger room with other adjacent rooms, an outdoor courtyard or a veranda. A lack of air flow can also contribute to overwatering since it prevents air plants from drying out fast enough. Dry rot is an issue with air plant holders. If you stick the base of the air plant in a planter e.g. a pot, hanger, or pouch that has no ventilation then your air plant may suffer dry rot on the part of the plant that has poor air flow from the planter. The rot will spread and your air plant will be dead before you spot the rot.

3. Lack of Light - air plants need light to make their own food. If your air plants are located indoors ensure they are within one metre of a window. If you leave them in a dark hallway they will most certainly die from lack of sunlight.

 
Happy air plant moisture bed to combat low humidity. Orchid potting mix and perlite.

Happy air plant moisture bed to combat low humidity. Orchid potting mix and perlite.

4. Too much direct sun- will burn your plant or dehydrate the leaves beyond recovery. About 45 minutes of mild early morning or late afternoon direct sunlight is generally okay. However, filtered sunlight or complete shade is recommended.

5. Frost - Air plants are sensitive to the cold. They don’t like below zero degrees celcius temperatures. Consider bringing your air plants indoors during the colder months if you live in a cold climate.

6. Humidity - some air plant varieties prefer high humidity. If your air plant leaves are overly curled it may be a sign that the air is too dry for your plant. If the air is too dry then spraying or dunking air plants in water simply isn’t enough moisture. If you think your air plant died from low humidity consider soaking it for 30mins per week on top of your normal misting routine. Or mist your plant daily. You can also mount the air plant on something that retains moisture like a piece of driftwood. Another option is creating a bed with a mix of 50% orchid potting mix and 50% perlite. Each time you spray your plants spray the mix too. Your air plants will be so happy, they may even drop roots in the mix.

 
Rust creates dead spots on air plants

Rust creates dead spots on air plants

7. Rust - will create dead spots on your air plant. Don’t let your plant come in contact with anything rusty. Regular wire may rust eventually. Use galvanised wire or plastic coated wire for attaching air plants to mounts.

8. Copper Wire - is a well known air plant killer. Copper is toxic to air plants especially when wet repeatedly.

 
The T. Bulbosa on the right is a mother plant that is naturally dying after flowering and producing pups. The plant on the left is healthy. It will flower, produce pups and eventually die.

The T. Bulbosa on the right is a mother plant that is naturally dying after flowering and producing pups. The plant on the left is healthy. It will flower, produce pups and eventually die.

9. The air plant mother dies - this is normal. Air plants mature, flower, produce pups, and eventually die off. If your air plant has already flowered and given pups then it could be entirely normal that she’s on the way out. Don’t throw her away just yet. She may surprise you by producing yet another pup before she says goodbye.

 

Bought your dead air plant from us? Here’s a 20% discount for you to try air plants again. Enter code AIRDEAD at checkout for 20% off your next air plant order.

 
Marianne Annereau