Thursday, January 28, 2016

Learn to Read Your Plants and Commonly asked questions

Caring for your plants

Before we get into learning how to read your plant lets touch on some common everyday questions I get about air plants.

Does my air plant need soil?
No. Air plants in nature do not grow in soil and they never want to grow in soil. Air plants like to get wet and dry out. If they stay wet they will rot which is why they never want to be set or put in soil. Also make sure after you water them to tip upside down and shake off excess water as standing water in the crook of the leaves can cause center rot.

Should I put my plant in direct sunlight?
No. The varieties that we carry should never be put in direct sunlight. It will slowly burn them up with time causing sun spots and drying them out very quickly. Our varieties want either shade or bright filtered indirect sunlight. Bright indirect sunlight will help to make color change more vivid and also come a little quicker if that variety changes color or bloom quicker. 

How should I water my air plant?
You can do one of two ways. You can submerge the ENTIRE plant or spray it to the point of saturation once to twice a week depending on your environment. Key word is saturate. If you submerge your plant make sure to tip upside down and shake off excess water. You can submerge your plant for one minute unless you are in a drier environment or have heat on but never leave your air plant soaking for more than 30 mins in those environments. If you prefer to mist your plant and give it a light spray then spray it every couple days or every other if you have the heat running. Which leads me to my next questions

I live in a drier climate can I have air plants there? 
Yes! Even in Florida when we bring them inside or even outside they still need to be watered. But you need to tailor your watering to your environment. I have customers all over the country including Alaska who have great success with their plants but you need to learn how to read your plants (See Below) and tailor your watering to your environment. Its always best to start with less and work your way up. In drier environments and climates where you have the heat on saturate your plant a minimum of twice a week. If you notice your plant still seems dry then add a misting in to help hydrate. But start slow and don't do all at once. And of course email us any of your questions we are always happy to help. 

Can I fly with these?
Yes any where in the US besides Hawaii. Canada is up for debate and leads to yes but not 100%. Have any info feel free to email

Can I use tap water?
Depends. If you can drink it yes if not no. Tap water can have high mineral counts and possible chlorine so filtered water is always preferred.

Copper and Air Plants..............
Do Not Mix. Copper is a metal that does not agree with air plants and will kill them slowly overtime.

Why is my air plant green and not like the picture?
Some air plants not all change color. All our varieties of air plants we grow will bloom over time. However they only bloom and change color once. They do this upon maturity. You can force them but it's best to let nature take its course for the health of your plant. Around their bloom cycle they will have anywhere from 1-5 babies. Once the plant blooms it will stay alive but will not bloom again. The main reason why we try to send them before they change color and bloom so you will get to enjoy as they are slow growers and the babies may take years to color and bloom. 

But as to why we put a picture of them in color and in bloom is the same reason why any store puts a picture on the outside of the box of what the finished table looks like. If they put a picture on the outside of the box of what the table looks like in pieces before you assemble it you would never buy that table. Just like when you go to Lowes or Home Depot and on the tag for each plant it shows you either a picture of what the plant looks like in bloom or a picture of what fruit or vegetable that plant produces. You then take it home and assemble the table or grow and care for that plant so you can enjoy the flower or fruit.  

I've had my plant for a couple months and it hasn't bloomed, why?
See above question as well. Air plants bloom once an on Maturity. Each air plant will bloom differently. Iona's will bloom quicker than Xerographicas based on size and also can be on environment. Bright indirect light will help them to bloom faster. Ionas because they are small and can reach maturity quicker will bloom sooner. But Xerographicas can take anywhere from 8-12 years to reach maturity from baby. They are slow growers so enjoy the plant as is and one day they will give you a little surprise.

My plant has no roots is it unhealthy?
Air plants in nature grow on rock cliffs and trees. in order to do this they need to anchor themselves or else they would blow all around and most likely die. Their roots are what anchor them onto cliffs and trees. Their roots do not provide any nutritional value. We trim most all our roots because they do not need them and they become obtrusive and ugly inside glass terrariums.

Where do you get all your plants from?
We grow them all. Anson has been growing and selling plants for over 16 years. We pride ourselves on our quality and know that your plant has been well cared for before arriving at your doorstep.

What is this white stuff all over my plant?

Those are small white hairs giving them a silver color and velvet feel. Most commonly seen on our Xerographicas, Harrisii, Medusa and Capitata varieties. Those small white hairs are actually very useful to the plant and categorize it as a Xeric variety. Those little hairs actually let these plants survive better in a drier environment because these hairs pull in as much moisture as possible from their environment giving them an advantage over the greener varieties like bulbosas, baylii and butziis. Xeric varities are my favorite as the Medusa and Xerographica will actually curl and twist their leaves by withholding water back a little. These guys do great in drier environments and are more forgiving in their watering cycles.

Why are the tips of my plant browning?
This is one indicator that your plant needs more water. If you notice this up your watering cycle and review questions above or watering and drier climate for more help.

I've over watered my plant, now what?
This is why I always tell customers to start with less and work your way up keeping an eye on your plant as you accustom it to your new home, and never soak for long periods of time. A plant that needs more water is easier to revive then an over watered plant. However it happens it is not always the kiss of death. Back off on watering and let your plant dry out and then start with watering your plant once to twice a week depending on your environment. See question above about environment to help out with watering.

I live in a cold environment can you ship to me during winter?
Yes. In our online shop we offer heat packs to help them during transit but biggest thing make arrangements with your postal worker to have them leave somewhere warm if you are not home to receive. No amount of heat packs will help a plant left in a snow drift. That is the biggest killer is if your air plant is left outside in freezing weather with or without heat packs.

Reading your plant
This little write up will help you to read some of your plants when they are trying to tell you they need more water. It's always best to start with less but p your watering cycle based on what your plant is trying to tell you. Brown tips are always an indicator your plant need more water but here are some signs on certain plants you can read before they start to develop brown tips. 

Bulbosa Indicator Large and Small plant.
 Notice in both these pictures that on the bulb of the plant he has develped slight wringles at the base of each leaf. These wrinkles are indicators that he needs more water. Make sure to saturate the entire plant to help rehydrate.

Healthy Harrisii
Notice that the leaves are well formed and open. Nice wide base at each leaf. This harrisii is well hydrated and happy

Dehydrated Harrisii
This indication system can be noted on Strictas, Capitatas, and Harrisii air plants

Notice that the leaves have rolled into themselves. Once the leaves start to role in and close themselves up this is an indicator of dehydration. Saturation will help rehydrate. Don't overdo it but give them a good soak and up your watering cycle slowly overtime as your plant needs.


  1. I received my order from your Etsy shop today and could not have been more happy. I posted a picture of your beautiful plants via IG @succulentsinnova and in a hobby FB group that I belong to with several hundred followers. Keep up the good work!

  2. Very helpful information for a newbie air-plant enthusiast. Thank you.

  3. What or how is the best way to attash this plant too a log

    1. I find it pretty easy to find a crack or crevice in the wood and stick the plant into it. In time when the roots grow it will hold onto the log quite nicely and even upside down. Cholla wood is also a great wood to use for air plants. It is full of holes and cracks, most of the air plants will fit snuggly into the holes. This is what I did with mine. I hope this helps you some. Enjoy your air plants!-

  4. What or how is the best way to attash this plant too a log

  5. I am ordering my vey first air plant from you as we speak. Great info for a greenie like me. Fingers crossed I still have them this time next year!!! We'll see!

  6. Received my order Saturday and just love the little buggers. Working on a fairy garden for my 4 year old granddaughter. I'm with David (above post) about how do you attach to a log.

    1. I stick mine down in the cravks and crevices of my wood. If you get some chola wood these plants look gorgeous stuck down in the small holes of it as well. I hope this helps yah some. good luck!!

  7. Received my order Saturday and just love the little buggers. Working on a fairy garden for my 4 year old granddaughter. I'm with David (above post) about how do you attach to a log.

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  9. What are the directions for using the green liquid nutrients I urchased fron you?


  10. I just got my air plants from you today. They are gorgeous. I even recieved an extra plant. I couldn't be happier with how they look in my crested geckos terrarium either. I used cholla wood and just stuck the plants into the holes or cracks on the logs. They work very well this way and seem to stay nicely.

  11. Hi, I bought my very first airplant yesterday from you guys, and I am so excited to receive them! I am just wondering if I can use orchid plant food spikes as their fertilizer? If so, how do I mix with water? I just started picking up this hobby lately, I also have some gold dust, golden patho, lucky bamboo and sneak plant, I am wondering if I can use generic fertilizer for all the plants I have.

  12. At last I found a company that is true to it's ads! I am SO pleased with the 12 air plants that I received yesterday! I didn't expect them to be as big as they are and look so sweet in the demitasse cups; giving them to my 4 sisters but keeping several for myself! Thanks again!

  13. I just ordered my first order and can't wait until it gets here. My question is, how do you separate the babies from their Mother's to make new little plants that grow again with color and flowers?