Air plants are beautiful and easy to care for, but they can suffer from rot if not properly maintained. Rotting air plants are a common problem that arises when the plant’s watering schedule is off or the environment isn’t suitable.
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If your air plant has started to fall apart, there may be a chance to save it. In this article, we’ll discuss what air plant rot looks like, why it occurs and if you can rescue a rotting air plant before it’s too late.
Air Plant Rot – What To Look For
Air plant rot is most commonly found in the center of the air plant, as that’s where the most moisture can gather and stick. The leaves of the air plant will start to appear soft and grayish, as if they’ve been soaked in water for too long. If left untreated, these areas can easily become infected with mold or fungus.
Whereas in many other articles about air plants, there’s info on leaves drying up and turning brown, these will do the opposite and be soft to the touch.
The leaves of the air plant may also start to curl up, discolor or fall off altogether. It’s important to note that this isn’t always a sign of rot – it could simply be due to the air plant being underwatered or overexposed to sun and heat.
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Air Plant Fell Apart
One of the biggest tell tale signs that your air plant is rotting is that it fell apart. This is because the rot typically forms in the middle of the plant, so if the center is rotted out, it can’t hold itself together anymore.
Outer Leaves Rotting
While it is more common for the inside of the air plant to rot than the exterior leaves, they can still have signs of rot. These will be more localized to one leaf if you can find it quickly, as it could be a mold or disease issue. Try taking that leaf off to reduce the chances of the rest of the plant getting sick.
Why Do I Have A Rotting Air Plant?
Like many other issues air plants can have, water is the main factor that can lead to air plant rot. These plants need to be soaked for about 15 minutes once a week. If you go too much longer (like hours or days), it’s most likely going to rot. If you miss a week of watering, don’t try to fix it by watering the plant for a really long time the following week.
Same can be said about humidity – while most of these air plants prefer humid environments, not all of them do! And even then, the ones that do like humidity don’t want to be in 100% humidity all the time.
This is what makes air plants unsuitable for closed terrariums, it can be way too much moisture (something I’ve found out the hard way).
Save a Rotting Air Plant
How do you save a rotting air plant? Unfortunately, it really depends on the level of rot your air plant is showing if it can be saved or not. If you’re just noticing the first signs, move the plant to a drier area and don’t give it water for a week or so. This will help to dry out the plant and prevent further rot from happening.
If your plant is really bad off, you may need to remove all of the rotted parts of the air plant and see if anything is salvageable. You may also need to start over with a new one. But don’t give up hope – many air plants can be saved if you catch it early enough!
Keep The Rot From Spreading
If you’ve got quite the collection of air plants and one of them is starting to show signs of rot – keep it away from the other plants and soak it in a separate container from the others. Otherwise there’s a more likely chance of the rot spreading to the other plants.
Keep Your Air Plant From Getting Rot In The First Place
The most important thing for keeping your air plant from rotting in the first place is to keep the water, humidity and sun levels optimal for your type of air plant. Read up on what type of environment your plant prefers and do your best to mimic that (some like humid environments and others need dry).
In Summary: Air Plant Rot
Air plant rot is a common problem for air plants and can be caused by too much water, humidity or sun. The signs of rot include soft and grayish leaves, curling and discoloration, leaf falling off and the plant falling apart. It’s important to catch it early on to save the plant and keep the rot from spreading to other plants. Optimal water, humidity and sun levels should be maintained for the air plant in order to prevent rot from occurring in the first place. With a bit of care and attention, your air plant can stay healthy and free from rot.