How to Care for Air Plants

Air plants or also known as Tillandsias, are such unique plants that do not need soil to grow. These kinds of self sufficient plant only call for a platform to commence growing and they are all good to go from there.

 The name ‘Air Plant’ comes from exactly the above fact. That these tropical plants don’t need to root themselves in soil, but they rather attach themselves to cliff faces, rocks, tree branches, or heck even your telephone wires 

They can prove to be a great companion for those people who do not want to bear with the stress of messy indoors or gardens. Who doesn’t want a low-maintenance houseplant that will compliment their home.

How to Care for Air Plants?

Before we move on to what measures you can take to take care of your Air Plant, let’s understand how do they get their nutrients without the presence of soil?

Soil plays a vital role in the thriving of a plant. However, these kinds of plants tend to absorb their required nutrients and moisture through their leaves rather than roots. They derive their nutrients from everything but soil. And it is due to this and the absence of soil, that taking good care of your Air Plants is key to grow yourself a happy Air Fern. So how DO you take care of your Air Plant?

Kind of Air Plant

What Kind is your Air Plant Babies:

Most Air Plants, depending on their varietal and environment of growth, can grow up to several years.

In often cases, most Air Plants take numerous months of care for their seeds to sprout. And it’s from that point onwards that their activity of growth will stretch out over the span of the next 3-5 years.

Now there are several different species of Air Plant, here’s just a few common ones for you to be able to identify which one is yours to get you started:

  1. T. stricta ‘Black tip’
  2. T. ionantha v. rubra
  3. T. ionantha ‘Conehead’
  4. T. ionantha v. scaposa
  5. T. magnusaiana
  6. T. ionantha Fuego
  7. T. tectorum
  8. T. stricta “Stiff Purple’
  9. T. argentea


In order to ensure proper plant care, it is important to make sure that your Air Plants receive the right amount of moisture to absorb its nutrients from. These kinds of plants are wild tropical specie and require humid weather. And clearly, as your home isn’t rain forest where it would

Watering your Air Plant could be as easy as just a simple rain shower, you will have to water your plants by yourself.

How do you water your Air Plant? While there are several methods for watering, here are some

effective, easy and mess free ways.

  • Misting: You can mist your plants with the help of a spray bottle or a plant mister to spray water every day or two. Its mess-free and easy to do. This method would also work best for wall mounted Air Plant watering.
  • Sink/Bowl of water: The best way you can water your plant is via a sink or bowl of water. This
    will allow the water to really soak into its leaves. Simply leave the Air Plants in for a 20mins-1 hour and voila. Take them out and tip them over to remove excess water before putting them back into your display.

What Kind of Water?:

Although the method of how you water your plants matters, the KIND of water you utilize to water your Air Plant is equally as important. So be it your Air Plant is in a terrarium or are glued, here are tips on the kind of water you should be using to get the healthiest of plants:

If you are using regular tap water, make sure you allow it to sit at room temperature for an entire day in order for the chlorine to dissipate.

Do not use softened water. The presence of high levels of salt can build up in the leaves of your plant causing them to die over time.

Rainwater or spring water would work to be the BEST kind.

Aquarium or pond water could also suffice but don’t apply any additional fertilizers if you use this kind of water.

Do not use distilled water. As it is not good for Air Plants.

How Long To Soak in Water?:

The name Air Plant for the plant itself is quite misleading, considering how much water it needs to survive. As we don’t live in the jungle, it would be preferred that you water your Air Plant every now and then.

Even dunk them in a bowl of rainwater every month for them to get their full nutrients. If you feel like your plant is looking a little brown on the tips, simply soak it overnight in rainwater and that should do the trick; reviving it.

Air Plant is a tropical planter, rainwater seems to show great after-effects on the plant. It promotes fast growth, a healthy look, and a happy, green looking Air fern.



As Air Plants are pretty low maintenance, their overall requirement for lighting isn’t too high or difficult to achieve indoor either. They are recommended to be put under bright but indirect filtered lights. Place your Air Plant in front of your window, or experiment what location of lighting suits your kind of Air Plant best. The kind of container you use also matters, so make sure that if you choose a hanging container planter, it is able to get enough levels of lighting.

But make sure that you do not put your Air Plants under direct light or the full sun. As again, they commonly require low light. Because this kind of plant requires an easy, indirect light source it would make to be the perfect planter for your office and indoors. As long as they are able to achieve light from either a window, or artificial fluorescent lights.

What we recommend is experimenting with the type of lighting or different positioning of your Air Plants to find what works best for their kind and what they respond to the best. So you are able to determine what kind of light did your plant thrive the most under? What position did not work for your Air Plant?

Revive Your Dead Air Plant:

Are you wondering if your Air Plant is dead? Now that it is dead, are you wondering what can you do to revive or help save your dying Plant? Heres how:

First and foremost, you must identify what was the cause of the issue. And then tackle the root of the problem to help killing it even more.

Brown Tips:

Brown tips or black leaves are usually a sign that your Air Plant was not well taken care of and now its roots are rotting. This root rotting takes place when you don’t dry out your plant properly after watering it. Causing the plant to become susceptible to fungi, ergo make sure you dry out or use a towel to absorb any excess moisture left from after watering.

Revive Dry Plant:

Soak your dry Air Plant in water for about 5-8 hours and make sure to shake off any extra water after soaking. Allow your plant to dry off within 4 hours of watering and repeat the process until your Air Plant doesn’t look dry anymore.

Ensure your plants are getting the right amount of lighting, are in good humidity levels, and are places in the right containers that allow it to drain unwanted water.


 Now you have all the information and instruction you need to take care of your next Air Plant. So get yourself and your gardening tools ready to get dirty. And remember, us at Expert Plant Man, always have your back. Happy Gardening!  [simple-author-box]

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