Keep your air plants breathing

By Cathy Lee Posted in: Celebrate StyleImprove

A home and office decor trend that’s hot and only getting hotter is air plants. Since I’ve managed to kill a few, I decided to get you some expert tips.

Michael Miyashiro is the owner of Rainforest at Kilohana Square. While I was in his shop I mentioned tips I had read about for the care of air plants, including dunking and soaking them on a regular basis. Michael recommended against this, then gave me these easy-to-follow tips.

Tip 1: How you water is important. Instead of using a mister, dip a paintbrush (shown in the photo) in water and gently dab and brush a few of the leaves, once a week. Very little water is needed.

Tip 2: The type of water makes a difference. Michael recommends rainwater, bottled water or purified water, but not tap or distilled water. You never want chlorine on your plants!

Tip 3: Add a diluted bromeliad fertilizer to the water every two to four weeks for nourishment.

Tip 4: Choose the right plant for your space. Silver-green and lighter-hued plants generally do much better indoors. Darker green and red plants are beautiful, but generally do better outdoors.

Tip 5: Air plants need lots of filtered light. As pretty as they look, they won’t do well in bathrooms or hallways that don’t get enough light. Place them near a window away from direct sunlight.

Tip 6: Proper drainage is important. You never want your air plant sitting in a pool of water — you shouldn’t have that problem if you’re watering with a paintbrush. Sand is so beautiful in Hawaii arrangements — this is what Michael recommends for the perfect drainage.

Air plants can thrive just about anywhere — on roots, driftwood and even on wire. So go beyond glass and experiment with other vessels.

Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. For more info and inspiring design projects, visit cathyleestyle.com.