Air Plant Care Guide
Tillandsias, more commonly known as “air plants”, are one of the easiest to care for indoor house plants. As a nice side perk, they are also very fun to raise. Read the 5 tips below and in no time you can make your air plants thrive under your care.
1. Air plants need more than just air
Tillandsias, or more commonly known as “air plants”, need more than just air despite its name.
Just like any other house plant, air plants need water and light to thrive. What makes air plants so unique is that they can grow without any soil.
Display your air plant on a piece of driftwood or hang up your air plant on a macramé! There is no need to pot it and put your air plants in soil.
Your air plants will thrive with some bright, indirect natural light or fluorescent light. Air plants only need to be soaked once a week for about 30 minutes.
2. Give your air plants a good soak
Make sure the entire plant is submerged in water when you soak an air plant.
Air plants are covered with special plant cells called “trichomes”. These trichomes help air plants absorb water through the surface of the plant. So make sure you wet the entire air plant and not just the root area.
We typically recommend soaking for 30 minutes at a time. It is also a great idea to soak your air plant overnight if your air plant is very dry.
Shipping air plants can dry out the plant faster than usual. You can always soak your air plants overnight (12 hours or more) in a bowl of water as soon as you receive your air plants in mail.
3. Dry your air plants thoroughly
Be sure to let your air plants dry completely after each watering. Keeping the air plants wet is a one of the most common cause of root rot, which kills air plants.
As much as air plants love water, air plants need to dry quickly (within 4 hours of watering) after each soak. If your air plants do not dry properly the bottom of the air plant would often turn dark brown and soon the whole plant would wither and fall apart. These are signs of root rot. Root rot is a common cause of air plant death. A constantly wet air plant often circum to fungus attacks or root rot, which does irreversible harm to the air plant.
Gently shake off any extra water after each soaking. Dry your air plant somewhere with good air circulation. And don’t let your air plants sit in a puddle of water or have water trapped in between the leaves when it dries.
4. Indirect bright light is best for air plants
Air plants love indirect bright light. Display your air plant somewhere near a window if you have natural light coming from the outside. You can also keep your air plants under some shade if you grow it outdoor.
Fluorescent lighting works just as well for growing air plants if you are in an enclosed office or space.
Most air plants do well with very bright but not direct light. Exposing your air plant to direct sunlight can burn the air plant or dehydrate your air plant excessively.
5. Keep your air plants warm in winter
Air plants are very hardy in general but they do have to be kept warm in the cold seasons. Protect your air plants from freezing temperature by bringing them indoor during winter.
The ideal temperature for air plants is between 50-80 °F.
Be sure to add a heat pack when shipping air plants in the colder months. While you can trim off some frozen parts of an air plant, severely frostbitten air plants can not be saved.
Want to learn more? Read on for more air plant care tips
Air plants are fun and easy to grow. Learn how to take care of your air plant in this comprehensive air plant care guide.
How do you take care of an air plant?
Follow air plant care instructions in the package to soak your air plants once a week in water for 30 minutes. Mist your air plant 2-3 times a week between soakings. Dry your air plant within 4 hours of watering. Air plants enjoy good air circulation and bright indirect light. Continue to read for more air plant care tips.
Do you need to water air plants?
Although tillandsias are commonly called “air plants”, they do need light and water to complete their photosynthesis. So you do need to water air plants. Water your air plants by soaking them ~30 minutes each week. Misting is fine too as long as you thoroughly wet the entire air plant. Get more air plant care tips to water your air plants here.
How do you water an air plant?
How do you water an air plant really depends on your preference. The most common methods to water air plants are soaking, misting, and dipping. Depending on the temperature and humidity, misting your air plants 2-3 times a week can be just as effective as soaking your tillandsias once a week. Continue to read here for more details on how you water an air plant.
How to fertilize air plants?
Use a small pinch of powder form air plant fertilizers for 1 gallon of soaking water. You an also mist your air plant directly with a liquid fertilizer if has been diluted. You should be able to find the instructions for your specific plant food on the packaging. When in doubt, use less fertilizer to avoid burning your air plants. Continue to read here and learn more about how to fertilize air plants.
Can I cut an air plant?
Yes, you can cut an air plant. Most air plants are very hardy and they can survive even if you cut off some of its leaves or the spike. Trim off any dry tips or dead leaves with a clean pair of scissors to avoid infection. Continue to read here for some basic rules of thumb before you begin trimming.
Do air plants bloom only once?
The short answer is yes, air plants only bloom once in their life cycle. But that is how air plants propagate themselves and reward you with more plants after it blooms. The spectacular blossom is only produced when the air plant is mature and ready to propagate itself since it is a very energy intensive process. Since air plants only bloom for the sake of propagating itself, it only needs to bloom once to get the job done. continue to read here to find out when do air plants bloom and how to get your air plants to bloom.
How do I get my air plant to bloom?
With some proper care and patience, you can always get your air plant to bloom naturally when it matures. You can also fertilize your air plant or expose it to the naturally emitted ethylene gas from ripen fruits to help your air plant bloom sooner. Continue to read here for more tips on getting your air plant to bloom.
How do I revive my air plant?
The first step to reviving your air plant is to identify the root cause of the issue. And then you can take the appropriate actions to fix the problem. Continue to read here to find out more about how to revive an air plant when it is dry or rotting.
How to propagate an air plant?
You can propagate an air plant by division or from seed. The easiest way to propagate air plant is by dividing the pups (baby plants) from the parent plant when they are about 1/2 the size of the parent plant. Continue to read here for tips on propagating air plants.