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Simple Steps On How To Keep Air Plants Alive

April 27, 2018

Simple Steps On How To Keep Air Plants Alive

With simple care and easy maintenance, air plants are a black-thumb’s godsend. Many people assume that air plants thrive on air alone, but these members of the Tillandsia genus are called “air plants” because they require no soil at all to grow and thrive. These genius plants have adapted to rely on their leaves instead of their roots to absorb all of their moisture and nutrients. 

A little history-

Named after a well known Swedish born botanist and physician, Dr. Elias Tillands, “Tillandsia” was coined by Carolus Linnaeus, a leading scientist from the 1700’s who was at the forefront of animal science and European botany.  Air plants are in the Bromeliad family and have about 650 natural species. Due to their continued popularity, many hybrids have emerged. The most famous and edible one is the very popular Pineapple. 

Easy steps to keep your air plant alive-

The hardy Tillandsia plants have adapted to live in a variety of challenging climates around the Americas, which makes them a great, easy-maintenance plant to grow indoors. 


Air plants need bright, indirect light to thrive. If you’re placing your plant in an office or a basement where there’s no access to natural light, make sure the light bulb is a full spectrum fluorescent light that your plant is exposed to for a minimum of 12 hours. Regular incandescent light bulbs don’t emit the quality of light that a Tillandsia needs in order to photosynthesize.


We’ve found that using a combination of soaking and misting is required for a healthy air plant to thrive. 

  • Once a week, soak the entire plant in room temperature water for 2-3 hours. Because Tillandsia plants don’t have roots, they take in all of the needed water through their leaves. Morning soaking is best as it allows the plant enough time to breath and dry before the cooler hours of the evening set in.
  • After soaking, gently shake all the excess water from the air plant. If any water is left, this can make your air plant rot and get sick. Place the plant either upside down or on its side in a bright place with good air circulation to completely dry off. Plants should be fully dry in about 3 hours.


Here’s where misting comes in. Your plant will require more or less water depending on the room's temperature where your air plant resides. The warmer and dryer the air the more water your plant needs. Use a fine mister in between the weekly soaking schedule to keep your plant happy. Most indoor temperatures (50-80 degrees) will require misting once a week.

The best thing about air plants is that they can be used to add life to any space. Larger plants are great on their own or in a beautiful glass, ceramic, metal or wood vessel and they make the perfect gift.

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