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It fell apart!

Okay so I have this dish/bowl thing with about 5 air plants and moss with a chameleon statue in the middle, for 2months now. I bought it at Meijers for $14.99 In the past my air plants always dryup, shreivle and die. I have filled the "bowl/dish"(about 1in) of water every week. I keep it in my room, around 80*. And I went to pick it up to compare them to Vertigos post of speices and they fell apart! The largest one(which was about a foot tall) and the smallest about 3in. The leaves just came out and shattered! Is there still hope?! They are really wet and mushy, but I watered today so maybe thats why. Ugh! It's SO cute and it was $$. What is wrong?
Hey Tink,

Curious, what type of moss was it? Anything but spanish moss and it was probably a bad thing. I think the first thing that's wrong is the statue they glue them to. Those things really don't give the plants as much drainage as you would think.

Were the plants actually sitting in an inch of water? Tillandsia need to be sprayed, or soaked and most of the time shaken off, with no water left sitting collected in between the leaves. The larger leaved varieties and ones that could collect "wells" of water need to be turned upside down and shaked off after watering. Higher humidity helps them out as well.

If they're wet and mushy now it sounds like they may have either dried up then rotted, or just rotted away. The only way to tell if a Tillandsia is really still alive or capable of being saved is if part of the plant is still green, then there's a small chance. If the "heart" of the plant gets hit, and the leaves start pulling from the center i'm afraid it's a gonner.

I had the same problem with them at first as well, they'd look fine, then a few days later they would shrivel up and die. The two best places I ever put my Tillandsia to grow were hanging from shelves and pots in my Nepenthes grow space, or sitting outside on wire mesh shelves with a layer of spanish moss under them. They really do appreciate good air flow, and a nice misting every now and then, especially the leaf tips when it's hot out.
Air plants enjoy frequent misting and a weekly dunk in water, however, they detest being constantly wet as this promotes rot. Sounds to me as if your plants suffered from rot due to overwatering.

The best thing to do is find a specie(s) that suit your growing conditions. For example, I have T. abdita, bulbosa, caput medusae, ionantha 'ionatha' and juncea. These are wired to corkbark adjacent to fluorescent lights. They get 1 mist/week and a 2h immersion in distilled water once per week. They are all doing well and producing new leaves and aerial roots. The caput medusae has flowered.

I wouldn't glue them. I would buy some corkbark and attach them to it with thin-gauge wire used to hang pictures (this can be found cheap at home depot/lowes).

As for the plants you have now, take them out of the container, spray them with a dilute fungicide and let them dry out. Mist them only occasionally and wait (hope) for signs of life or new growth. These plants grow very slowly so it may be a while if ever.

Hope this helps.
Thanks guys. I really needed the advice. The heart is what seems attacked. They are all still green though. I love the thing it is in now though. =( Was $14.99 a lot of it? I will try to get a pix sometime soon. The moss I know one is spanish and they other is growing, it's green short looking grass, I don't know what it is called. I "watered" them this time, b/c they always seemed to dry when just "misting". Now they still green, but fall. =(
In my limited experience.....sometimes the plants that are found glued to sticks and minerals are already dead, they just have not fully reached the point of decay. They are treated so badly on the journey from living plant to sales plant that the core dies, the leaves hang on, even getting a bit of water to keep them green, but the heart (growing point) is dead - eventally the thing falls apart - and you blame your conditions! Really healthy plants seldome die like that.

Best regards
That may be true, but he said he had it for 2 mo, which is more than enough time for it to be killed at the home. In any case, Cactuschris is correct in that the plant should be inspected prior to purchase or bought from a reputable online retailer. Check for brown leaf bases and try bending back one leaf--if the leaf snaps off easily and is brown at the base, do not buy it.

I've had one tilandsia die of crown rot and it was due to it being overwatered (by me). I'll never do that again. To keep from overwatering, just remember that air plants (like most others) will easily recover from a little wilting or underwatering, but will almost never recover from rot. This is not an absolute, but few horticultural rules ever are.

I also would avoid the use of closed containers for air plants as this also promotes crown rot, even with decent air circulation provided by a fan (from experience).

Hope you have better luck with the next ones. The good thing is that the more common varieties are fairly inexpensive.
I never knew they were so known or kept.

I'm beginning to get really interested in these.

I have not touched the plants at all since my post. And today I looked... the middle of the 'wet hearts' have small leaves coming up, new green ones. Should I pull ALL the dead looking ones off and try to make this plant live? Do I really have to pull it off it's adorable Chameleon? *lol* Oh! I will get some pictures VERY soon!
Dun. Dun. Here is some pics.



Yes, I would remove the dead leaves as they can promote rot. As for the container, it actually looks ok so I would leave the plants as is for now. Just don't fill the container with water.

Watering: Simply spray the plants 1 or 2 times a week and give them a good soaking under water for 1 hour (once per week). Just make sure that there is no water remaining in the bowl after soaking.

Fertilizer: Fertilize infrequently (once per 2 months) with half-strength orchid fertilizer.

Sun: Depending on species, can tolerate full sun to part-shade. I'd keep them in good light if unsure.

Other: Don't worry about slightly browning leaf tips--it's normal. Do worry if the browning spreads to over 1/4 of the leaf or if the leaf bases brown.

Good luck. And by the way, I love the chameleon!