How to Grow Air Plants (Tillandsia)

Tips for growing and caring for Air Plants (Tillandsias)

Air plants are one of the easiest plants for beginner gardeners to grow and care for.

They’re hardy and very low maintenance – they don’t even need soil!

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Air Plants (Tillandsia) belong to the bromeliad family of plants. They’re flowering perennials that have stunning flowers when in bloom.

There are about 650 species of Tillandsia with leaves ranging from silver / grey to green. [1]

Tillandsias are epiphytes, which means that they don’t require soil to grow. They have the unique ability to capture moisture and nutrients from the air through tiny scales on the leaf surface.

Air plants produce roots, but they are mainly used to secure themselves to branches or rocks in the wild.

Tillandsia flower at maturity and will only bloom once in their lifetime. The flowers can last from days to months, depending on the species.

Tillandsia help to purify the air indoors and they’re a good plant to have in your bedroom because they absorb carbon dioxide at night. [2]

RELATED: 10 Best Bedroom Plants

How much sunlight do Air plants need?

Air plants need at least a few hours of bright, indirect sun daily.

The ideal spot is within 1 to 3 feet (30 to 90 centimetres) of a window or artificial light source.

Air plants don’t do well in areas with low light.

Watering Air plants

When you first bring a new Air plant home, it’s a good idea to revive it by submerging it in water for a few hours. When you take it out of the water, give it a shake to remove the excess water and place it in a well ventilated place to dry out.

Air plants can be submerged in water once a week in warm weather or every few weeks in cooler weather.

You can also mist Air plants that are inside terrariums or globes, but they still need to be fully submerged in water occasionally, especially if you have air conditioning or live in a warm area.

The best water to use is filtered water, bottled water or tap water that has sat for a few hours to let the chlorine evaporate.

A small amount of Bromeliad or Orchid fertilizer can be added to the water once a month.

Air plant terrarium

Best temperature for growing Air plants

The ideal temperature range for Tillandsias is 50 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit (10 – 32 degrees Celsius).

Air plants that are grown outdoors will need protection from heavy rain and frost.

How to Propagate Tillandsia

Air plants reproduce by growing little offshoots from their base.

Each plant produces between 2 to 8 of these baby plants, also known as “pups”.

The baby Air plants can be separated from the mother plant when they’re about a third to a half of its size.

Air plants can also be grown from seed, but they’re slow growing and will take two to four years to grow into a full sized plant.

RELATED: 10 Easy To Propagate Houseplants

How to display Air plants

There are so many creative ways to display Air plants:

  • On a bed of pebbles or gravel
  • Inside seashells
  • In a glass bowl or terrarium
  • On top of driftwood
  • Hanging from wire
  • In a hanging pot

Air plants are low maintenance indoor plants that are super easy to grow and care for.

If you’ve struggled to keep other houseplants alive, Air plants may be the ideal plant for you.


Have you tried growing Tillandsia at your house? Let me know in the comments below.

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How to grow air plants

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Sara Green

    I adore air plants. I have zero green thumb, so these are right up my alley. I find them to be so beautiful too.

  2. jerry godinho

    i have a garden at the back but i have learned a lot from this article. I did not even know there is such a thing as air plants thanks for this beatiful and colorful write up. As soon as we enter your website all the colors hit you and make your day. Keep it up.

  3. Lindsay Brown

    I love the look of air plants! I have not been able to find any though at my local stores so perhaps I can send away online for them? I will just have to keep my eyes out for some. This is an awesome article with so many helpful tips on how to care for air plants. I’ll definitely keep it in mind!

    1. Kelly Martin

      Thanks Lindsay, Air plants are a bit hard to find in local nurseries but you can definitely buy them online.

  4. Erica (The Prepping Wife)

    I didn’t even know air plants were a thing! I learn something new every time I visit your blog. I’ll have to give air plants a try, as I don’t have a very green thumb. I’m planning to try growing a couple vegetables on my porch next summer, and that will be a test to see if I can be successful.

  5. Rupy

    Great post. I will show it to my father. He loves to do gardening and he will surely like this.

  6. Lyanna Soria

    I’m trying to place some plants all over the house and this would be a great addition. I like that it’s easy to take care of and help to purify the air indoors.

  7. Alyssa @ Click Happy Mom

    I’ve never heard of air plants! I don’t have a green thumb but I’d love to try to keep a plant alive. These sound perfect. And your guide was so easy to follow.

  8. Wanderlustbeautydreams

    Never heard of this type of plant. Would love to try it out for my new place, great post!

  9. Lyosha

    I am not much of plant person, i don’t have any plants at home but I think it’s a great hobby if you like it.

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