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5 Tips on How to Care for Air Plants (Tillandsia)

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10 Interesting Facts about Air Plants

Houseplants add a touch of greenery and personality to any room while also being incredibly beneficial for your health. According to NCBI, having indoor plants can improve air quality, reduce stress, and increase productivity. One of the most popular types of houseplant is the air plant, which does not need soil and grows in the air instead!

As mentioned in “Effects of Indoor Plants on Self-Reported Perceptions: A Systemic Review,” studies have found that people living with houseplants experience reduced levels of boredom, fatigue, anger, and anxiety in addition to showing increased levels of concentration, enjoyment, and creativity. Furthermore, Science Direct points out that these plants can help regulate humidity levels too!

Air plants are known for their unique look and ability to grow without soil or direct sunlight. They are an ideal option for busy households or small apartments with limited space. As reported by the International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability, introducing potted plants into our living environments can promote healthy spatial design practices as well as create a more calming atmosphere indoors – perfect for those stressful days!

Also, according to Belmont University, introducing air plants into your home might even help you become more productive while adding a beautiful element to your décor at the same time! In conclusion, houseplants have many aesthetical and mental benefits, as seen from various studies linking improved moods with indoor plants, such as air plants.

Air plants look beautiful and are easy to care for, and they can benefit your overall health by reducing stress levels and improving air quality. Simply mist them with water once per week and ensure they have enough light! 

Placing air plants strategically around the home is a great way to add an extra layer of relaxation in places like bedrooms or living rooms – perfect for winding down after a long day. Houseplants, especially those such as the air plant, are a simple yet effective way to make your space more calming and inviting.

1.- About Air Plants

Air Plants are unique! Air plants thrive on air alone and don’t need any soil to grow. These tropical plants are epiphytic, which means they grow on other plants without harming them. An air plant will get all the water and nutrients they need from the air, thanks to tiny scales on its leaves called trichomes.

Air Plants also use their “roots” only for clinging, and they don’t absorb any water or nutrients. Air Plants are native to the forests, mountains, and deserts of South America and Central America. Still, you can grow them anywhere in the world! All you need is a little bit of air and some love. Additionally, research has shown that having plants in your house will have amazing benefits for you! Visit our article Amazing Psychological Effects of Nature in Pet-Friendly Interiors to find out more!

Air Plant Species

Air Plants, or Tillandsia, are often thought of as simple plants that don’t require much care, making them perfect house plants. However, there is a lot of variation within the Tillandsia family – in fact, there are an estimated 450 different types of Air Plants! No two Air Plants are precisely the same, so it’s essential to do your research before choosing one (or five) to take home with you.

Air Plants come in all different shapes and sizes, and they range in color from bright green to deep purple. Some Air Plants are even fragrant! With so many different options to choose from, it’s easy to find one air plant or a few) that will fit perfectly into your home.

How to Care for Air Plants (Tillandsia)Assorted Air Plants, by the Air Plant Shop Store

2.- Growing Air Plants Indoors


Natural Light

Air plants are amazing little creatures that don’t need soil to grow. All they need is bright, indirect light and a bit of humidity. Rooms with southern or eastern facing windows make great homes for air plants, as do rooms with north-facing windows – as long as the plant is placed close to the window. Western light comes late in the day and can be very warm and intense, so it’s best to avoid it if possible.

If your room is very humid, your air plant will likely tolerate more sunlight. Meaning that if you place your air plant where it gets a lot of light, you should mist it twice a week or even daily.

A sunny bathroom makes an air plant thrive because the humidity from your shower provides the perfect amount of moisture. An air plant is easy to care for and makes beautiful houseplants. So if you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant that can brighten up any room, an air plant may be just what you’re looking for!

Artificial Light

Air Plants are amazing little creatures that can thrive in some of the most unusual places. For example, they can thrive in an office or basement room where they won’t get any natural light.

All they need is Full spectrum (fluorescent) light for a minimum of 12 hours per day. If you live in a basement or a place with very little natural light, we recommend buying a special bulb for your plant, such as a Grow light Bulb, and setting it with a timer. Air Plants are definitely one of the most low-maintenance plants around, and they make a great addition to any home or office!

How to Care for Air Plants (Tillandsia)

Assorted Air Plants, by the Air Plant Shop Store

Air circulation

Enough air circulation is important for air plant care. Air plants have trichomes that absorb moisture from the air and need airflow in order to use their trichomes. A good rule to follow is that an air plant should be able to dry within 3 hours of watering.

Air Plants (Tillandsia) are epiphytes, which means they grow without soil. Good air circulation is especially important for epiphytic plants because they get their nutrients and moisture from the air.

Air circulation helps to evenly distribute moisture and nutrients to all parts of the plant and prevent fungus and bacteria from growing on the plant. Fungus and bacteria can cause leaf rot, which can kill an air plant.

Watering Air Plants 

One of the most common questions about air plants is, “How to water air plants?”. Watering an air plant does not have a simple answer because there are many factors to consider when watering Tillandsia. The first step is to evaluate your space. How much natural light is your plant getting?

What is the temperature in your home at any given time of the year? Is the space very dry and/or close to a heater or fireplace? Or is it a very humid environment?

After you answer these questions, you can adapt the Air Plant watering regimen to suit you. We always recommend starting with a light misting once a week and then adjusting from there. Some Air Plants will thrive with multiple mistings per week, while others will do better with a soak in water once every two weeks.

Air Plants (Tillandsia) are very easy to take care of if you follow these recommendations for watering air plants: 

  1. Soak the air plant in room temperature tap water every other week for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Remove excess water from your air plant as it will quickly rot if they are allowed to stand in excess water
  3. The air plant should be able to dry fully in no more than 3 hours.
  4. Once a week, mist the entire surface of the plant.
  5. Water in the morning

So there you go! With just a little bit of time and effort, you can keep your Air Plant healthy and happy for a very long time!

How to Care for Air Plants (Tillandsia)

Assorted Air Plants, by the Air Plant Shop Store


An Air Plant is very easy to care for – they only need to be fertilized once a month and misted with water every few days. When choosing a fertilizer for Air Plants, it’s important to use one with low nitrogen levels.

This will help encourage blooming and offset production. It’s also important to use non-urea-based nitrogen fertilizer, as Air Plants are unable to process this type of nitrogen. We recommend Cute Farms Tillandsia Air Plant Fertilizer, as it contains all the nutrients that your air plant needs to thrive.


An Air Plant is a type of tropical plant that most prefer temperatures between 50-90 degrees. If you do bring them inside, be sure that they are still getting enough light and water to thrive.

Air plants love warm weather, so it’s the other end of the thermometer you need to watch. Protect your plants from anything colder than 45 degrees; they will die at those temperatures.

Some varieties can withstand lower temperatures, but it is always better to be safe when it comes to your plants. After all, you want them to thrive! So make sure you keep an eye on the temperature and give them the care they need.

3.- Displaying Your Air Plant

Styling an air plant is a great way to show off your personality and style. There are many ways to style Air Plants, and they look great all on their own or in groups. You can place them in terrariums or attach them to anything from magnets to driftwood or create your own interesting displays. Tillandsia species look great on a branch with orchids because they like the same conditions.

You can also find terrariums specifically for hanging them from the ceiling. When it comes to Air Plants, the sky is the limit! So have fun and get creative with your displays.

How to Care for Air Plants (Tillandsia)

Glass Hanging Planter Air Fern Holder Terrarium by Mkono Store

4.- Propagating air plants

Unlike most plants, an air plant only blooms once, so you’ll want to enjoy it while you can! Use Air Plant fertilizer during waterings and provide plenty of sunlight to encourage your plant to bloom.

After the first bloom cycle, an Air Plant will start its reproduction process by growing a very small “pup” (a small Air Plant that grows off the main plant); these can last for months and eventually open. Depending on the variant, flowers can last for several weeks or a few days. Let these adorable little pups grow to be at least one-third to half the size of their mother.

Afterward, simply cut the pup away from the mother plant at its base, be careful to avoid any damage to the pup, and avoid cutting more from the mother than the pup.

Finally, your baby air plant can be placed in its own pot or container. Propagating an air plant is a very rewarding experience, and it is very easy to do.

How to Care for Air Plants (Tillandsia)

Glass Hanging Planters Terrarium by Kingrol Store

Final Thoughts

Air plants are the perfect type of houseplant for anyone looking to bring a bit of greenery into their home. Arranging and displaying your air plant can be fun and creative; however, there are some mistakes to avoid. For instance, when choosing the best spot for your air plant, it is important to remember that they prefer bright light without direct sunlight.

While placing them near a window is ideal, harsh sun exposure may burn the leaves or dry out the plant quickly. Another tip to consider when caring for an air plant is to make sure you provide just enough water but not too much – misting lightly once per week should be enough!

Additionally, fertilizing is not generally necessary since air plants absorb most nutrients from the air itself. It’s also essential to be aware of any toxins that might exist in your home, as certain household products can damage your plants in small doses. When selecting a spot for your new houseplant, it is always best to look for a natural light source, such as a south-facing window or nearby lamp, if artificial lighting must be used.

You can also opt for hanging gardens or pet-friendly indoor trees, depending on the size of space available. If possible, using a moisture meter or humidifier would help in creating a more peaceful atmosphere by maintaining humidity levels favorable for growth. In conclusion, following these basic tips and tricks will enable you to keep your air plant growing healthily and thriving – happy houseplanting!

How to care for Air plants – FAQ

Do air plants need soil?

No, air plants do not need soil, and they get all the nutrients they need from the air and water.

Do air plants need direct sunlight?

No, air plants do not need direct sunlight. They prefer bright, indirect lighting conditions.

Do air plants need to be watered every day?

No, air plants do not need to be watered every day, and they should be misted with water every few days and soaked in water once a week.

Do air plants need to be fertilized?

Yes, air plants should be fertilized with a low-nitrogen fertilizer once a month.

How do you keep air plants alive?

Air plants are very easy to care for, and they only need to be misted with water every few days and fertilized once a month. They prefer bright, indirect lighting conditions but can also tolerate low light conditions.

Keep them away from drafts and protect them from temperatures below 45 degrees.

How often should I water my air plant?

Air plants should be soaked in water for about 20 minutes once a week. They should also be misted with water every few days.

Are Air Plants Easy to Care For?

Yes, air plants are very easy to care for. They only need to be misted with water every few days and fertilized once a month. They prefer bright, indirect light but can also tolerate low light conditions. Keep them away from drafts and protect them from temperatures below 45 degrees.

How Fast do Air Plants Grow?

Air plants grow very slowly, and it can take them several years to reach their full size, about 4-8 years to emerge into bigger to mature plants.

How Long Can Air Plants Live? 

Air plants can live for up to 5 – 8 years with proper care.

How to Care for Air Plants (Tillandsia)

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M.Arch. Julio Arco
M.Arch. Julio Arco

Bachelor of Architecture - ITESM University
Master of Architecture - McGill University
Architecture in Urban Context Certificate - LDM University
Interior Designer - Havenly
Architecture Professor - ITESM University

Articles: 584
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