How to Keep Your Air Plant Tillandsia Alive


This article will provide you with everything you need to know about keeping your Air Plant alive.

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You may be asking yourself, “What the heck is an Air Plant?” Air Plants are houseplants that do not need soil to grow. Air plants can be grown on natural things like twigs, cacti, and stones.

Air plants also require some sunlight or artificial light sources for photosynthesis. The Air Plant Tillandsia Bulbosa is one of the most popular air plant species available today. This article will provide you with everything you need to know about keeping your Air Plant alive.

Houseplant Care Tips: How to Keep Your Air Plant Tillandsia Alive

About the Air Plant Tillandsia

Air Plants are also known as Tillandsia which is the genus of air plants. Air plants can be easy to care for and do not require a lot of sunlight or water, making them ideal houseplants.

Air plants get their name from the fact that they absorb all nutrients through their leaves instead of roots like most other plants.

Air Plants can be grown on wood, rocks, cacti, or in glass terrariums.

Air Plants do not require a lot of maintenance so long as you follow the proper care instructions outlined below!

hanging Air Plant Tillandsia

How to Water Air Plants

Air plants thrive in humid, warm environments. Most homes are not humid enough for air plants, especially during the winter months. Keeping air plants hydrated means keeping them wet regularly.

Air plants should be watered every week or two. You can do this by spraying them with a water bottle or dunking them in a bowl of water.

The first step of proper Air Plant care is to ensure the leaves receive the right amount of moisture. Normal homes are not insanely humid, so you’ll have to water your air plants in one of two ways.

  • Watering air plants via misting

Every few days, spritz your air plants with water using a spray bottle or plant mister. After spritzing the entire plant, wrap it in a towel to dry for a few hours before returning it to its beautiful container or arrangement.

  • Watering air plants in a bowl or sink of water

The best way to water air plants is via this method. Fill a bowl or sink with water and float the air plants in it for 20 minutes to an hour every week to water air plants using this technique. Then remove the plants from the water, turn them upside down so any extra moisture can drain away, and place them on a towel to dry before putting them back in their planter.

Tillandsia hanging in window

Is My Air Plant Getting Enough Water?

Leaf tips that turn brown or become crispy are signs of an under-watered air plant. Under-watering can cause the natural concave shape and appearance of the leaves to be more prominent.

It’s usually too late to save an air plant if it has been neglected. If the bottom of your plant becomes brown or black and the leaves fall out, it’s likely that your plant has died.

close up green air plant

How Much Light Do Air Plants Need?

Air plants thrive on bright but filtered light. A west, east, or south-facing window is ideal. My Air Plants do not receive enough natural light during the winter months, so I supplement with grow lights.

You can take your Air Plants outside during the summer if you want. But, make sure you place them in a spot where the light is filtered or indirect. Direct light will literally burn the air plants, and they will die.


Rooms with low-light and short days in the Winter can be really tough for houseplants. Houseplants do not like the lack of sunlight! I have taken steps to ensure we do not have any houseplant casualties by supplementing our plants with artificial light to keep our plants happy and healthy no matter the time of year!

If you don’t have the best natural light in your home, adding LED grow lights can make all the difference! Adding artificial light gives them what they need to stay happy and healthy! I have a plant lights in my bedroom, my foyer, one in our dining room, and one in our sunporch. They’re all on self-timers that we adjust depending on the time of year. 

Can I Use Artificial Light for My Air Plant?

Many people want to know if their air plants can be placed in an office or basement where there isn’t natural light. There are some rules that you can follow to make sure your plant succeeds.

Fluorescent light (full spectrum) is essential. Regular incandescent bulbs do not emit the light required for photosynthesis. The light source should not be more than three feet away from your Tillandsia. If you plan to use fluorescent lighting, your plants will require at least 12 hours of light per day.

We recommend that you buy a special bulb, such as Haus Bright LED Grow Light Bulbfor your air plant. This will ensure that it receives all the sunlight it needs.

hanging air plants in window

How Much Heat Do Air Plants Need?

Air plants do well in warm weather. So, you want to keep them away from cooler temps and drafts because they will die. The optimum temperature for growing Air Plants ranges between 60-90ºF.

How to Propagate Air Plants

According to the Air Plants Design Studio, air plants only bloom once in their lifetime. Air Plant Central reiterates this usually takes between one and two years. But, the period can be shortened to six months when growing the plant under the optimum conditions.

It’s around this time that they begin to produce pups. Air Plants produce an average of 1-3 pups after the blooming process.

There are two ways to propagate Air Plants. You can use its leaves or its seeds. The best way to do it is by removing pups growing from the base of the parent plant. However, before cutting them off from the mother plant, you got to ensure they’re at least an inch long.

Also, the pups’ leaves are delicate and should be removed with care. It would be best if you gently peel them from the mother plant. Alternatively, you can use a sharp knife or scissors. Lastly, dip the pups in water and place them by the window or somewhere else to receive some sunlight.

closeup photo of Tillandsia

How to Fertilize Air Plants

Waiting 12-24 months for air plants to bloom can be such a long time. The good news is, you can speed up the process by growing the plant under the right conditions and applying some fertilizer.

What is the best fertilizer for air plants?

The best fertilizer for air plants is made exclusively for them! Thus, going for random fertilizers won’t be a good idea. The Drunken Gnome Tillandsia Air Plant Food and Fertilizer and Cute Farms Tillandsia Air Plant Fertilizer are remarkable Air Plant specific fertilizers to try out.

Another way to fertilize air plants is to use a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer like the Espoma Organic Indoor Plant Food. Air plants thrive when fed the right nutrients. You, therefore, want to expose them to a sufficient amount of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium.

The easiest way to do this is to use nutrient-rich Air Plant fertilizer. So, you want to check the ratios every time you shop online or at your local plant store. It’s usually labeled on the fertilizer container as 10-15-10 or 20-20-20. Also, remember to ask the shop attendant when unsure.

The best practice is to fertilize air plants once a month. Nonetheless, life gets in the way many times. In that case, you can apply the fertilizer once every quarter. Create a solution by mixing some fertilizer with water in a container. Use the right water to fertilizer ratio based on the provided guidelines. Lastly, dunk the Air Plants into the fertilizer solution for a minute or less until they’re submerged.

Where to Buy Air Plants

Here are some of my favorite online shops that sell Air Plants:

hand holding a large air plant
Air Plant Design Center

The Best Air Plants for Beginners (the easiest to care for air plants)

There are plenty of Air Plant species out there. While some are high maintenance, others are low maintenance and easy to care for. According to a Terrarium Plant Guide, below is a quick rundown of easy to care for Air Plants other than the Tillandsia Bulbosa!

  • Tillandsia harrisii
  • Tillandsia caput-medusae
  • Tillandsia ionantha
  • Tillandsia fuchsii
  • Tillandsia tectorum
  • Tillandsia streptophylla
  • Tillandsia aeranthos
  • Tillandsia capitata
  • Tillandsia stricta
  • Tillandsia butzii
  • Tillandsia tenuifolia

Final thoughts

Air plants are awesome because they enhance aesthetics in every space. Hopefully, I answered all your questions concerning this plant. Be sure to leave a comment below or contact us for any questions you may have about the Air Plant.

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