How to Care for Air Plants

Learn all that you need to know to care for air plants, some of the most forgiving types of plants.

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As an avid gardener, some of my favorite, low-maintenance plants for indoors or out are called Tillandsia or air plants. Known to be resistant to the powers of brown thumbs, they are a wonderful addition to any home or outdoor space.

Tillandsia in hand

Tillandsia Live Years

If properly cared for, Tillandsia will live for years and some grow quite large like this one.

Photo by: Melissa Caughey

Melissa Caughey

Tillandsia is a genus consisting of over 650 different species that belong to the bromeliad family. They are native to South and Central America and the warmer climates of North America. They have been discovered thriving in both the desert and rainforest. Tillandsia are perennial evergreens. In nature, they can be found attached to trees and require no soil for growth. They are a type of epiphyte and take their nutrients from the air and rain. Their bases often form cups to catch rainwater. Air plants will bloom in shades of purple, pink, red, yellow and orange.

A purple flower from a small Tillandsia

Blooming Tillandsia

All Tillandsia will bloom with proper care.

Photo by: Melissa Caughey

Melissa Caughey

Air plants are very easy to care for. Thicker-leafed varieties prefer to be dry and thinner leafed varieties love moisture, as they are found in rainforests. Air plants with thicker leaves, can be cared for with a misting of water one to two times per week depending on the air’s humidity level.  Thinner leafed varieties thrive from a quick morning dunk in air temperature water. Be sure to shake off excess water from the leaves if you are dunking your air plants to help them exchange air. They prefer bright indirect sunlight and do best with temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tillandsia covered in water droplets

Tillandsia Care

Some Tillandsia enjoy a twice week misting with water.

Photo by: Melissa Caughey

Melissa Caughey

If your air plant is well cared for it will last for years. If happy, your air plant will produce baby plants from the base. Once those young plants are about half the size of the adult plant, simply twist them free to produce new plants. The adult plant will usually die back after it produces its babies.

Five different Tillandsia on a windowsill

Tillandsia in Windowsill

Tillandsia do well perched in a windowsill. Arrange a few for an impromptu arrangement

Photo by: Melissa Caughey

Melissa Caughey

Air plants can be displayed on coffee tables, hung in wire hangings, attached to logs or even displayed in miniature gardens. They also make wonderful take home gifts at baby showers, gatherings and weddings. Try arranging a few in glass candle holders or bowls for a low maintenance centerpiece or create a wreath like I did here. I promise, you are going to love adding a few of these to your home.

Air Plant Crafts

How to Make a Living Air Plant Wreath

Create a living wreath with tillandsia, moss and elements from your landscape.

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