See that visible snow like coat on your air plants foliage? Those are Trichomes. Air plants are a bit more unique than your regular Trichome adorned bromeliad, as they rely solely on Trichomes to absorb all of their nutrients. This furry feature is the plants best asset but it can also work to its disadvantage, as it makes the air plant particularly sensitive to the quality of air and water that it receives.
Fair enough too, because those chemicals in our urban household water ie chlorine and copper can affect the Trichomes ability to effectively absorb nutrients. And for an air plant, water without nutrients is like a bath - fun, wet, gets you all clean, but doesn't serve any dietary purpose.
We can't run a descaling solution through the Trichomes like a coffee machine, so we need to supply our air plants with clean water. You could be a gem and leave a bowl out next rainfall for some of natures best gift, this is the healthiest option but that isn't always an available option. Alternatively, you can leave a bowl of tap water out overnight and some of the introduced elements will settle or even evaporate by morning. Failing that, buy a bottle of spring water next lunch purchase and simply keep a bit of it aside for your green pet at home. Your air plant will thank you.
Please be mindful of distilled or heavy filtered water as these have had almost all of the good and bad mineral removed and will similarly serve zero purpose to air plants dietary needs.
Then there is that other key ingredient we mentioned - air!
Those teeny, tiny Trichomes are always taking in the surrounding air like consuming a never-ending magic protein shake. So, to help your little green friend make the best of their air, place your terrAIRium in a room full of naturally circulating air to replenish and make those furry little Trichomes dance with delight. Add a little bit of filtered sunlight for some reactive photosynthesis and your air plant will be singing a sweet green tune to boot.
It is one thing to provide air and (indirect) sunlight, but now we also need to be aware of the air quality. Nobody wants hair spray or bug repellent in their magic protein shake, so we suggest slowly replacing your household aerosols for natural alternatives or removing your air plant from an area when synthetic fumes like paint, hairspray or cigarettes are in heavy use. All of these man-made toxins just don't fare well for your new air loving pet.
Fortunately, our Perth culture is becoming more product conscious every day and there is an array of amazing local and handmade domestic solutions in our market to swap out your cupboard nasties with.
I can even recommend some of my favourite locals if you ask nicely ;)