How to Care for Air Plants: No Soil! No Problem!

How to Care for Air Plants: No Soil! No Problem!

Air plants, also known as Tillandsia, are a type of epiphyte plant that grow without soil.

That is a little too technical… They are really cool and unique houseplants that can be displayed in creative ways, such as hanging in macrame or mounted on a piece of driftwood, or in one of my handmade planters or terrarium kits!

They are great houseplants for beginners because of their low-maintenance nature. In this article, we will provide some care instructions for air plants, so you can enjoy these special plants in your home or workspace. Side note: We also provide mini air plant care instructions with every purchase!

First up, Watering Instructions:

  • One of the best characteristics of air plants is that they do not require soil. Instead, they absorb water and nutrients through their leaves. To water your air plant, you can either:
    • Mist it with a fine-mist spray bottle a few times a week
    • Soak it in a room-temperature bowl of water for about 20 to 30 minutes once a week, or
    • Simply run it under the faucet upside down for a few seconds a couple of times per week.
  • Always shake off the excess water and allow the plant to dry completely upside down on a paper towel before putting it back in its display. Make sure to avoid hard water, soft water, and water with high mineral content like well water as this can damage the leaves. We recommend filtered, spring, or distilled water.
  • Personally, I use city tap water and have had the best results with misting and drying them upside down almost everyday through the winter (because of dry Michigan winters) and 2-3x per week through the spring and summer months while they are on my enclosed porch. Do whatever works best for you!

Secondly, Lighting:

  • Air plants prefer bright, but indirect light. I like to say, they do not like to be in a window, but in the same room as a window. If you really would like to put them in the window, air plants prefer north or east facing windows for the morning sun, but definitely not south or west because the afternoon sunlight is too strong for them.
  • What to look out for?
    • If it is not getting enough light, you will notice they get dull and will start to lose their leaves.
    • If there is too much light, the ends will get dry and they will get sunburned, which can look like dark spots on the leaves.

Thirdly, Environment:

  • Air plants thrive in humid environments, so it’s important to provide them with enough moisture. In dry climates or during the winter months when indoor heating can dry out the air, make sure to water them more frequently or place them near a humidifier.
  • Air plants prefer temperatures between 50-90°F (10-32°C). They can tolerate cooler temperatures, but should be protected from the frost.
  • Keep in mind, they are typically very slow growers. If you would like them to grow faster, here are some great environments for them:
    • Bathrooms
    • Shaded 3-Season Porches
    • Kitchens, especially if you boil a lot of water

What to do and NOT to do?

  • Do NOT get the base of the air plant wet or let water get trapped inside. They can be easily overwatered, which is why we recommend watering upside down AND drying upside down to ensure this does not happen.
  • If you would like them to grow faster and flower, you can use a fertilizer. However, only fertilize once per month and you should use a water-soluble fertilizer. The most common for air plants are bromeliad or orchid fertilizer. Make sure to dilute it by half of the recommended strength!
  • NO SOIL! PERIOD! Soil has way too much moisture and bacteria for these plants.

Air plants are fabulous additions to any home or workspace because you can bring so much detail and life to boring spaces like refrigerators, desks, windows, and more! If you are looking to build your own terrariums or add customizable decor, we have some great options online or you can join us at our next event to create your own style! If you are looking for something in particular, please feel free to reach out to us at or 616-676-7500

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out! 


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