Celebrate-style

May 14, 2017

Keep your air plants breathing


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. Her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. For more info and inspiring photos of design projects, visit cathyleestyle.com.
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