How To Fertilize Air Plants (A Detailed Guide)

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Tillandsias are unique plants requiring no soil to grow. That’s why we call them air plants. These plants absorb water and nutrients through their leaves. While air plants can absorb environmental nutrients, they must be fertilized to thrive.

What To Know Before Fertilizing Air Plants

Here are some frequently asked questions when it comes to fertilizing air plants. These questions are great, and it’s good to know beforehand.

  • Do air plants need fertilizers? While air plants can survive without fertilizer thanks to their unique method of nutrient absorption from the air, they can certainly benefit from additional feeding. Fertilizer is not a strict necessity for these resilient plants, but it can help them thrive and produce more robust growth. And remember this additional tip: Only fertilize healthy air plants! Skip the weak ones!
  • What are the benefits of fertilizing air plants? Fertilizing air plants can boost their health, promote vigorous growth, and increase blooming by supplementing essential nutrients not adequately obtained from air and water. It also aids in quicker recovery from stress, such as transplantation, sub-optimal conditions, or disease recovery.
  • When is the best time to do this? The best time to fertilize air plants is during their active growth phase, usually in spring and summer. During this period, the plants’ metabolic processes are at their peak, and they are best able to absorb and utilize the nutrients provided by the fertilizer.
  • How often should you repeat the process? Air plants should be fertilized monthly during the growing season. Avoid over-fertilizing to prevent plant damage and follow specific fertilizer instructions. If unsure, under-fertilize rather than overdo it. Regular watering is still essential and needs to be replaced by fertilization.

General Steps On Fertilizing An Air Plant

Less than 15 minutes 15 minutes

The four simple steps to fertilize air plants:

  1. Pick the right fertilizer.

    Air plants require a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 20-10-20 or less. Usually, you can use the fertilizer for bromeliads. You can use a commercial air plant fertilizer or a general-purpose fertilizer for houseplants. Please note this: using the wrong fertilizer can harm your air plants, so choose carefully.

  2. Liquidate the fertilizer.

    After selecting the right fertilizer, mix it with water according to the package instructions. Overuse of fertilizer can lead to burnt leaves and damaged roots. It is best to use a weak solution, such as 1/4 strength, to avoid over-fertilizing.

  3. Soak your air plants.

    Soak your air plants in the fertilizer solution for about 30 minutes once a month. Be sure to submerge the plants in the water entirely. This action ensures that the plants are getting the nutrients they need. You can also mist your plants with the fertilizer solution between soakings to boost them.

  4. Let them dry and re-pot.

    After soaking, remove the plants from the water and let them dry completely. Then, you can place them back in their display. Ensure to shake off any excess water to prevent rotting. Once the plants are dry, you can return them to their display and enjoy their beauty!

Learn more about the air plant soaking method >>

Note: If you spot some burns on your air plants, place them under tap water for a few minutes. This action will help with the situation.

Final Words

Following these simple steps can keep your air plants healthy and thriving. Remember, fertilizing your air plants is only necessary if you want the plant to grow normally. I hope this post will help you fertilize your air plant correctly.

More practical air plant guides for your following read: 

Succulent City chief editor


Succulent City

Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

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