Table of Contents
A dying air plant is mainly caused by rot caused by water pooling in the plant’s top. Air plants must be allowed to dry between waterings. Excess water in the crown of the air plant, if not properly drained, causes the leaves to become brown or yellow, feel mushy, and have a withering aspect.
If air plants are not watered often enough, the ends of the leaves become dark and curl.
If exposed to too much direct sunlight, air plants may burn to a brown-yellow hue.
When an air plant is exposed to circumstances that are incompatible with its natural habitat, it begins to die.
Strong indirect light, watering at least twice a week but letting the air plant dry out between waterings, and keeping the temperature between 65°F and 85°F will help a dying air plant get back to life.
Continue reading to learn why your air plant is dying and how to restore your drying air plant.
Browning of the Air Plant’s Ends
Symptoms. The leaves of air plants get dark, dry, and curl at the tips.
Low humidity, underwatering, and probably too much sun and heat are the causes.
Underwatering is the most common cause of air plant browning at the tips. Due to drought stress, the leaves become dark at the tips and begin to curl. To keep the leaf ends from going brown, air plants need to be watered often, up to twice a week, with the plant completely immersed in lukewarm water.
Underwatering is by far the most common cause of air plant leaf ends going brown and sometimes curling up, although other variables like low humidity, too much sun, and severe heat may also play a role.
Air plants enjoy temperatures ranging from 65 to 85°F during the day and 50 to 65°F at night.
If the temperature rises sufficiently, the rate of water loss from the leaves increases, as does the need for water by the air plants, which may cause the leaf ends to become brown.
Air plants can thrive in some direct sunlight, but they prefer to stay out of the sun in the afternoon during the summer because the bright sunlight may cause the air plants to lose too much moisture, which causes the leaves to become brown at the ends and curl.
There are around 650 kinds of air plants (Tillandsia), and understanding where your air plant originated is critical in determining why your air plant is becoming brown at the ends.
Air plants are native to hot, dry desert settings, although they may also be found in rainforests. The location of your air plant influences how often you should water it.
The air plants on the left have deeper green leaves and can live in a rainforest. The air plants on the right have silvery green leaves and can live in a dry climate.
The leaves are the simplest method to determine if your air plant is native to a hot, dry area or a rainforest:
Silvery green leaves with a more flattened appearance and sometimes a fuzzy texture are found in arid places and need less water, while…
Rainforests have dark green leaves that are less scaly and more curled, and they need more regular watering as well as misting every few days.
It is crucial to note that both kinds of air plants’ leaves may become dark at the tips owing to underwatering, although brown leaf tips are significantly more prevalent in tropical rainforest air plants.
Watering your air plants less than once a week is the cause of the leaves’ becoming brown at the ends.
How to Resurrect a Brown-Leaf Air Plant
To revive air plants with brown leaf ends, immerse them in lukewarm water for a few minutes to let the leaves absorb all of the water they need, then relocate the air plant to a cooler, shaded place to allow it to recuperate.
Submerge your air plant for 10 minutes in a basin of water to help repair the brown leaves. Air plants absorb water through their leaves rather than their roots. Submerging the air plant allows the leaves to absorb the water they need to ease drought stress and revive the brown ends.
To prevent shock, ensure that the water is lukewarm and preferably leave the water overnight to let chlorine and fluoride drain from it, which may contribute to the browning of the leaf ends on certain more sensitive varieties of air plants.
To prevent brown leaf ends, water your air plant at least twice a week. The recommended watering frequency varies depending on whether the air plant type originated in a rainforest (dark green leaves) or a dry climate (silvery green leaves), but regardless of origin, if the leaves are turning brown at the tips and curling, you should water them more often.
Watering air plants with dark green leaves up to four times per week is typical, while watering air plants with silvery green leaves twice per week is advised. However, this is general advice and your watering should be modified for your environment and circumstances.
After watering, hang your air plant upside down for a few minutes. While air plants need little watering, they are prone to decay if water gathers at the top of the plant. Make sure to put the air plant in a place where there is a lot of air movement so that it can dry out between waterings and keep the moisture level just right.
Make sure the air plant is in a room that is between 65 and 85°F during the day and 50–65°F at night. This temperature range is ideal for all types of air plants. Consider whether interior heating sources are drying out your air plant and relocating it to a cooler place to let the brown ends recuperate.
During the summer, move air plants out of direct sunlight in the afternoons. In general, dark green-leaved air plants demand strong indirect light or maybe some filtered light, but silvery-green types can endure more sun. Summer sun is too intense for most air plants, so look for a site with bright, indirect light or morning sun followed by afternoon shade.
Place dark-green species of air plants in a bathroom or spray them every few days to increase humidity. Misting the air plant generates a humid microclimate that mimics the greater humidity levels of its original tropical rainforest. Just make sure that no water collects at the apex of the leaves, since this might lead to rot.
Should I remove the brown leaf tips from my air plants?
If the leaf tip of an air plant has become brown and crispy, you may clip it off with a pair of pruners or scissors. This aids in the restoration of the air plant’s look and stimulates the development of healthy green leaf tips.
An air plant with brown leaf tips should recover after being carefully hydrated, sheltered from direct sunlight, and maintained between 65 and 85°F to help mimic the circumstances of its original habitat.
Browning, Yellowing, or Blackening of Air Plants (due to rot)
symptoms. Areas of the air plant might become dark or black and feel squishy, generally towards the plant’s top.
Causes. Water gathers in the leaves near the crown of the plant due to not allowing the air plant to dry between waterings, not draining the air plant after watering, inadequate air circulation, and freezing temperatures.
Air plants become brown when rot is induced by water gathering in the leaves near the top of the plant and low temperatures. To avoid excess moisture from turning the plant brown and rotting, air plants should be hung upside down and allowed to dry out between waterings.
During their natural environment, air plants connect to trees and rocks. Because of this, they are used to well-draining conditions and don’t like having water in their structure, which is usually found on top of a flower or at the top of a plant.
A plant that grows at an angle when it’s attached to a tree limb allows water to drain away from the plant between rain storms.
The soft, brown, yellow, or black leaves may become brown, yellow, or black. Water rot is usually caused by water that becomes trapped in the plant after watering, although it may also be caused by:
- Excessive misting causes water to accumulate at the plant’s top.
- Not allowing the air plant to dry between waterings.
- After watering, do not hang your air plant upside down (to allow the water to drain properly).
- A lack of air movement, which aids in drying the leaves after they have been watered.
- Temperatures below 50°F at night and below 65°F during the day lead to rot.
- Air plants do not like to sleep on window sills at night since they are frequently too chilly in the winter for the plants to survive.
Furthermore, the leaves may come into contact with the glass of the window, which may be much cooler than the room’s ambient temperature.
How to Resurrect Browning Air Plants
Air plants that are browning and dying as a result of rot are very difficult to salvage since the rot spreads throughout the plant. With a pair of pruners that are very sharp, it is sometimes possible to cut away any parts of the plant that are decaying (if the brown rotting area is very small).
If you wipe the blades of your pruners with a disinfectant-soaked cloth between each cut to avoid possibly transferring fungal diseases from unhealthy sections of the plant to otherwise healthy growth, then follow the best maintenance practices:
Allow your air plant to dry completely before watering again. For at least 20 minutes, hang the air plant upside down so that any extra water drains away from the top of the plant, where water can build up and cause rot.
Maintain enough air circulation to ensure that the air plant dries between waterings. Because air plants are suited to growing in exposed regions or high in trees, they require some air movement to keep them dry and prevent decay. Air plants like to be near an open window rather than in a stuffy area, and they can withstand air currents from air conditioning in the summer, which may help prevent rot.
After watering, hang your air plant upside down to avoid brown rot. At least 30 minutes after the air plants have been submerged in water, they should be slanted upside down so that water doesn’t pool on top of the air plants’ leaves.
Place your air plant in a room where the temperature does not fall below 50°F at night. During the day, the ideal temperature range is 65°F to 85°F, while at night, the ideal temperature range is 50°F to 65°F. Cold temperatures cause evaporation from the leaves to slow down, and frost may cause the air plants to decay and become dark and mushy.
For the best watering balance, it is advised to water air plants from dry, desert locations twice per week by running them under the faucet, and to water air plants from rainforest regions four times per week.
Watering with this soak and dry method gives the air plant’s leaf tips enough water to keep them from becoming brown due to dehydration and from developing rot due to overwatering.
How often you water your air plant depends on the weather and how much sun it gets. I must emphasize that it is very important that the air plant is completely dry before you water it again, because it is much easier to revive an air plant that is underwatered (with brown leaf tips) than an air plant that is dying of rot.
Browning or Yellowing of an Air Plant (Excess Sun Exposure)
Symptoms. Air plants burn to a brown or yellow color.
Causes. excessive sun exposure, with high temperatures and low humidity playing a role.
When air plants become brown or yellow, it is usually due to too much direct sunlight in the summer, which causes the air plant to turn a burned brown. Air plants definitely need strong light and frequently prefer direct sunshine, but the intense summer heat mixed with high temperatures causes air plants to become brown.
The most prevalent types of air plants come from either rainforests (which have dark green leaves) or arid, desert-like regions (which have silvery green leaves).
If the air plant has naturally dark green leaves, they are more prone to burning to a brown or yellow tint in the summer, especially if they are in direct sunlight.
However, if they are transferred from a more shady place to a site with harsh direct sunlight without time to acclimate, all species of air plants may burn to a brown or yellow hue.
If the temperature surpasses 85°F and the region is very dry, the air plant is more prone to becoming brown in the sun.
How to Resurrect Dying Air Plant due to Excessive Sun Exposure
Place the air plant in a place that receives afternoon shade. If the air plant has naturally dark green leaves, it is more used to being shielded from direct sunlight, so place air plants in bright, indirect sunlight. Air plants with silvery-green leaves like bright, indirect light or early sun followed by afternoon shade. To minimize additional bleaching of the air plant’s leaves in the summer, avoid the harsh afternoon sun.
Place your air plant in a room with a higher humidity level. South-facing window sills are often too hot, too light, and too dry for air plants, especially if the air plant has dark green foliage. Move the air plant to a humid bathroom or softly spray it to simulate the humid microclimate to which dark green air plants are suited. Misting is not usually required for silvery-green-leaved air plants.
Give your air plants plenty of water. If your air plant has become brown from sunburn, you should give it a thorough watering since the heat, low humidity, and high temperatures may all dry it out. Place it in a basin of water for around 10 minutes to allow the leaves to absorb the necessary water.
Make sure the room temperature does not exceed 85°F. When deciding where to put your air plant, keep the room’s microclimate in mind. Window sills can get very hot in the summer, so find a place with a lot of light where the air plant can rest while it gets better.
These actions should help to avoid future harm to your air plant, and once its environment has been improved, the air plant should begin to recover.
Some burnt leaves may fall off as a result of the damage, but this does not always indicate that the plant is dying. If you keep your air plant in good condition, new growth should develop if part of the leaves fall off.
Individual burned brown leaves usually do not regain their look, but they do not hurt the plant, and you may trim any damaged leaves off with a sharp pair of pruners to promote new development.
Rot induced by water gathering in the plant’s crown is the cause of a dying air plant. Air plants need a period of dryness between waterings. If water remains in the crown of the air plant, it becomes brown and begins to decompose, giving the plant a dying aspect.
Underwatering is the cause of an air plant’s becoming brown at the ends. Air plants should be watered thoroughly twice a week. Drought causes the leaf ends of the air plant to become brown and curl up if it is submerged.
If air plants are continually moist, they might become brown or yellow and feel squishy. Air plants need enough air circulation and must be allowed to dry between waterings. If the air plant is kept moist for an extended period of time, rot occurs, causing the leaves to become brown or yellow and appear to be dying.
Air plants may burn brown if they are exposed to too much direct sunlight, temperatures over 85°F, and areas with little humidity. Air plants prefer strong indirect light over direct sunlight, which causes the leaves to brown.
Submerge an air plant with curled brown leaf ends in lukewarm water for 10 minutes to enable the leaves to absorb the water they need. Keep the air plant away from direct sunlight to allow the brown leaf ends to recuperate, and water it at least twice a week.
Recreate the air plant’s natural habitat with bright, indirect light, water the air plant at least twice per week, and allow the air plant to dry before watering again to revive a dying air plant. Temperatures should range from 65°F to 85°F during the day and 50°F to 65°F at night for air plants.