Air plants are beautiful and fascinating, but looking after one can seem a little intimidating. Without the presence of your trusty pot of soil, it can be hard to figure out exactly what you need to do to make sure that your plant is going to be safe and healthy. This is perhaps even more true when you have one mounted on an attractive, natural piece of wood.
When it comes to how to care for air plants on wood, you should be aware of a few things. First, you need to mount your plants carefully, using the right materials, and then you need to make sure they are receiving adequate light, water, and fertilization. Your plants can be misted or submerged, but never left in standing water, and the wood mount should stay dry!
A wooden mount for an air plant is undoubtedly one of the most elegant and natural-looking ways of displaying one, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Read ahead to discover what you need to know about this type of mounting and how to keep your air plant happy and alive.
How Are Air Plants Mounted on Wood?
Getting your air plant mounted in the first place is the first thing that you will need to figure out. There are a lot of ways to do this that are perfectly healthy for your plant, but mistakes at this stage can be deadly.
Attached by the Roots
This is the simplest way to attach an air plant to anything, but it is also the most complicated. If you can secure your air plant in place temporarily, its roots will start to affix themselves to the wood over time. This will be a slow process that is very unpredictable, but with patience, it gives a very clean and natural look to your display.
Attached Through Tying
There are many materials with which you can tie your air plant in place – all you need to do is carefully loop through the leaves at the bottom, wrap the base of the plant a few times, and then tie it in place. Twine, ribbon, and fishing wire are all safe, as are most metal wires. Avoid copper wire, though, because it is toxic to air plants.
Attached Using Glue
Glue is a more permanent option – it can make it difficult to water and care for your plants, but it does hold strongly. You need to use glue safe for plants and preferably waterproof, like E6000; otherwise, it can be toxic and potentially deadly. Hot glue is an option, but it isn’t waterproof and will deteriorate over time.
Buying a Pre-mounted Air Plant
You may be able to find a plant that comes attached to a mount already, but you should still know what a safe and healthy display looks like. You want to get a close look at any plant that you are buying to see that it is healthy. If you’re shopping online, read the description carefully so that you know what you’re getting.
How To Care for Air Plants on Wood
Air plants can seem a bit temperamental, but there are not many things that you actually need to do when it comes to taking care of them.
Choosing a Place for Your Air Plants
Air plants can grow both indoors and outdoors, although it does depend on the temperature and moisture levels. Your plants will tend to get more nutrition and better lighting if they are outdoors, but they are less likely to be exposed to insects or harsh weather if they are indoors. You can always try moving your plants around if they don’t seem happy.
Correct Lighting for Your Air Plants
Air plants do like a good amount of sunlight if they are going to grow healthily, but they won’t be happy if the light is too direct. Try to place them in partial shade and avoid east or west-facing windowsills, but don’t keep them hidden away in the dark.
Misting Your Air Plants
To water your air plants, you can either mist them or submerge them, and when they’re mounted on wood, misting is a lot easier. For smaller globes, giving them just one spray every 4-5 days should do the trick, and for larger plants, 2-3 should be enough. Depending on humidity, you may need to adjust your misting schedule.
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Submerging Your Air Plants
Your other option for watering is to remove the plants from their wooden mounting and submerge them entirely in water. You should do this for between 20 minutes and an hour every 7-10 days, but they should not be sitting in water for any longer than that.
Keeping Your Wood Dry
With whichever watering method you opt for, you should dry off the wooden mount when you’re done. Leaving water on untreated wood can lead to rot and decay, and it can harm the roots of your air plant as well.
Can You Fertilize an Air Plant Mounted to Wood?
Most plants get their nutrients from the soil, but air plants work quite differently. Air plants can absorb all of their nourishment from the air around them, but this is a process that works best in their natural environment.
Depending on climate and location, your air plants could benefit from a bit of extra nutrition. Outdoor air plants in warmer climates tend to get a lot of what they need without any help, whereas indoor air plants will have much less opportunity to collect decaying matter from their environment.
You will need to use an air-plant-specific fertilizer to fertilize your air plants because other types can be fatal. It’s an easy job as these fertilizers come in a spray bottle, and they only need to be used a few times a year.
Why Is Your Wood Mounted Air Plant Dying?
The main reasons air plants start to die, wherever they are mounted, are how much light, air, and water they are receiving. Too much or too little of either light or water can be particularly deadly.
Too Little Sunlight
If there is not enough light for your air plant, they will not be able to photosynthesize and will start to die. If your air plant is in the dark for too much of the day, this might be why it is not looking healthy.
Too Much Sunlight
The opposite problem is when your plant is receiving too much direct sunlight, so its leaves start to dry out and become sun-damaged. Usually, you can tell that your air plant is receiving too much sun if the leaves are starting to turn brown.
Underwatering your Air Plant
If your air plant is looking shriveled and dry, and its leaves are starting to curl, it is probably not receiving enough water. This may be due to a lack of moisture in the air, or you are watering too infrequently.
Overwatering your Air Plant
If you are noticing a browning at the base of your air plant, or black spots starting to appear, it may have started to rot due to overwatering. This is probably the most deadly of the common air plant issues and is definitely one to keep an eye out for.
What To Do If Your Mounted Air Plant is Dying
If you think that your air plant has started to die, there are several things that you can try that have a good chance of bringing them back to life.
Let Your Air Plant Breathe
If your air plant is stored inside of a sealed jar or closed terrarium, open the lid and give them some air! All plants need oxygen to live, and keeping your mounted air plant in a sealed environment is an easy but sometimes fatal mistake to make.
Move Your Air Plant to Somewhere New
If your air plant is not getting enough light or browning from too much, you can simply move them to a new location. You might even try putting them in a different spot for a few hours each day. A wood mount is great for this as it makes your plant easy to move around.
Give your Air Plant More Water
If your air plant is looking withered and dry, you can give them an immediate soak for a little bit longer than usual. You might also consider misting or soaking more often if the air around your plant is particularly dry.
Water Your Air Plant Less Often
If you have the opposite problem and notice some rotting on your air plant, you first need to reduce the amount of watering you are doing. Let your air plant dry out completely before watering again. You should always make sure that the wood it’s attached to is completely dry and your plant is never resting in standing water.
Remove Dead Leaves
Give the leaves of your air plant a gentle tug – if any of them come away easily, those leaves are already dead. If all the leaves come away, it’s unfortunately too late for the plant. If it’s just a few, however, then removing them will allow your plant to focus on its healthy leaves and reduce rotting.
Will Water Damage the Wood Mounting?
If your mount is an untreated piece of wood, then water is likely to cause damage to it over time. Dry your wooden mount after each misting, and never let water collect under your plants.
Where To Get Wood Mounted Air Plant
It is always best to see your air plant in person before you buy, so getting lucky at your local garden center is ideal. You can also find dedicated and crafty mounted air plant sellers online, particularly at places like Etsy, but make sure to carefully investigate what you are getting before you buy.
Overall, air plants are pretty easy to mount on wood, they look great, and they are not too tricky to care for either. Make sure that your plant is safely secured, and they are getting the right amount of air, light, and water, and your plant should flourish!