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 plant

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. I'm passionate about gardening and horticulture and I love growing just about everything including herbs, vegetables, flowers, succulents and indoor plants. I've been gardening most of my life and I created this blog to inspire beginner gardeners to create their own urban garden. Read more