How do you take care of an air plant?

Many who are new to air plants may be wondering how do you take care of an air plant. Air plants are very fun and easy to take care of. Growing air plants can be quite different from other houseplants, but it’s very simple once you get the hang of it.

Air plants do not need soil to grow

Unlike most house plants, tillandsias do not need to be potted with soil, hence the common name “air plant”. How do you take care of an air plant is very different from how you would take care of other house plants for this reason.


Do air plants need water?

Although they are called “air plants”, tillandsias do need more than air to live. Air plants need a good drink of water once a week or so and bright indirect light to stay fresh and beautiful.

Rather than absorbing water and nutrients through their roots, air plants have a layer of special scales on the surface known as trichromes. These trichromes are specialized plant cell(s) that allow air plants to drink water directly through their leaves. It becomes much easier to understand how do you take care of an air plant once you understand how these specialized plant cells work.


How to you water air plants?

When you soak or mist your air plants, make sure you get the entire plant wet with excessive water running down from the leaves. It’s not necessary to focus on watering the roots if you find any since air plants do not need to take water and nutrients through their roots.

Simply soak your air plant in a bowl of clean water for 30 minutes at a time. Flip the air plant upside-down when you give it a bath. Gently shake off any excessive water after each watering.

Place your air plants somewhere with good air circulation to dry them completely within 4 hours of watering. Make sure your plants dry completely within 4 hours or they may develop root rot. Do not put them under the sun or near heaters/AC units as intense heat and cold temperature can damage the plants.

How do you take care of an air plant becomes very easy once you establish a regular watering schedule that works for your air plant.


How often should air plants be watered?

Soak your air plants once a week in a bowl of water for 30 minutes each time. You can also mist your plant with a spray bottle 2-3 times a week if it needs more water between the soakings.

Besides the regular watering schedule, you can water your air plants as often as needed as long the plant has time to completely dry out in between waterings.

Letting your air plant tillandsia stay wet for longer than soaking time (typically 30 minutes each session) can lead to fungal development and root rot. Although it is safe to soak your air plants for up to 10 hours or overnight when you first receive them in mail.


How much light do air plants need?

Air plants like bright, indirect light. Display your air plants somewhere near the window where they can get some indirect light during the day. If you don’t have natural sunlight coming in, office fluorescent lighting would do the job too. Just avoid direct sunlight since the plant can get burnt.


What temperature is best for growing air plants?

Air plants do best in warm environments between 50 – 90 F. They love good air circulation and some humidity as well