Every Collectible comes with a living air plant. Air plants do not grow in soil, instead they attach themselves at the roots to rocks and trees in nature. Think of them as the inverse of a houseplant. Where you would soak the soil of a houseplant to allow the roots time to absorb the water, air plants get their nutrients from their leaves so we soak the entire plant, leaves and all to allow the leaves time to absorb the water.
First Day: Upon arrival to its new home (your home!), soak Collectible in lukewarm water for about 20 minutes. This will get air plant quickly acclimated to its new environment.
Take a good look at your Collectible after it has dried from its first bath. Notice its hue of green and the elasticity and contour of its leaves. Deviation in color, relative brittleness of its leaves and changes in the contour of its leaves will later be queues to water or not water your Collectible. Snap a picture if you can!
After this short introduction bath, consider you Collectible at Day One of its watering schedule.
Temperature: 45˚F to 95˚F, indoors or outdoors.
Lighting: Bright, indirect sunlight. Fluorescent lighting will also work!
Outdoor shade, under an awning or under the shade of a large tree are great places to display your Collectibles. Do not leave them in direct sun; just a few hours of hot, direct sunlight can cause leaf burn.
Indoors near a filtered window is our best recommendation! Generally, more than 3' but less than 10' of a bright window is ideal.
Whether outdoors or indoors, keep Collectible out of direct midday sun. If it happens to catch an hour or so of direct sun as the sun rises in the morning or sets in the evening, that should be just fine.
Watering: Submerge Collectible and air plant completely in lukewarm water. All Living Air Ware® Collectibles are waterproof. An overnight soak once a month is sufficient in most months in most climates.*
*In climates with a reputation for low humidity, dryness and heat consider increased frequency of soaks while reducing duration of each individual soak. Such alternative watering schedules could be twice a month for 3-5 hours each soak or every week for an hour.
Here is the trick to maintaining air plants:
After removing Collectible from water, ensure air plant can completely dry from root to tip in less than 4 hours. Living Air Ware® Collectibles are designed, patent pending, to facilitate proper water drainage and ample air ventilation. Ensuring air plant has sufficient opportunity to dry after each soak greatly reduces chance of root rot.
Air plants can go a surprisingly long time without water and can often be revived from dehydration when regular watering is resumed. Err on the side of less frequent watering and watch for signs of dehydration until you find a watering schedule that works best for your climate. Your air plant can often tell you when it needs more water by curling or inverting its leaves, fading to a lighter color and/or feeling brittle to the touch. (Remember what is looked like after it finished drying from its introduction soak? If it looks different, look for signs of dehydration.) If it looks dehydrated, give the little guy an extra bath or two and consider increasing your watering frequency. Otherwise leave 'em be.
Over-watering is, in our observations, the most common culprit of air plant death. Over-watering can cause root rot from which there is no return for the air plant. But root rot can also occur if the plant is unable to dry completely between soaks.
Ensure the plant in your Collectible can dry completely within 4 hours of removing it from the water. In some cases a house fan on low setting or moving an indoor Collectible to a temporary shady outdoor location can help facilitate drying. If it is not able to sufficiently dry, root rot can set it in.
Water your plant less often until you find a comfortable watering schedule for both of you!
That's it, that's the trick! If the air plant is able to dry sufficiently after each soak, you theoretically could water the plant every day. But it doesn't need it! It only truly needs it when it is showing visible signs of dehydration. Until then let it be.
Misting air plants in between soaks can be helpful in a hot, dry climate but it is not necessary in most instances. However, misting alone is NOT sufficient for watering your air plant. The leaves must have their opportunity to soak up nutrients - like the soil around the roots of the houseplant. So for this inverse houseplant, the plant soak must happen, however frequent or, more likely, infrequent.
Nutrients: Water and free-flowing air! Fertilizer is not necessary for your air plant Collectible to grow and thrive.
Blooming & Pupping: If your Living Air Ware® Collectible blooms a flower, try to keep the flower stock above water when you soak the Collectible. The flower petals might wilt if soaked but it will not hurt the plant itself. When the flower petals die off naturally, go ahead and cut off flower stock. Removing the flower stock will trigger the plant to start growing pups! When pups grow to be 1/3 to ½ the size of the mother plant, they can be gently removed to continue growing on their own. But leaving a pup or two with the mother plant can help maintain the appearance of the Living Air Ware® Collectible indefinitely.
Pruning: Like any décor plants, Living Air Ware® Collectibles benefit from occasional pruning. Clip on a diagonal cut. By gently removing the outer layer of leaves once they are passed prime, your Collectible to continue to look fresh and healthy.