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Air Plants

Scientific Name



Tillandsia, Bromeliad

Origins / Hardiness Zones

South USA, South and Central America


This adaptive mechanism has resulted in an incredible variety of interesting leaf forms and plant shapes, including paddle leaves, tight rosettes, and bushy or trailing columns of teardrop leaves.

Light Needs

Water Schedule


Humidity Levels




Air plant humidity needs to be between 50 - 70%. Mesic air plants do better in moderate humidity. Xeric types, however, thrive in high humidity climates. In most homes, the humidity won't be nearly as high – the average indoor humidity level falls between the 40 - 60% range.

Air Plants are mildly toxic to pets and humans. Ingestion will cause mouth and stomach irritation and possible vomiting.

Bright light, but not direct sunlight. Full sun will burn the plant around the edges, especially in the summer months. A south, east or west window is perfect. They can also be grown under grow lights.

In your home, you'll need to water your air plants about once a week. Some varieties can go two weeks without being watered. Keep an eye on them to determine when your plants seem to need a drink.

To water, place them in the sink or a small jar with enough water to submerge your plants. Let them soak for about half an hour, then give them a gentle shake or two to dislodge some water before turning them upside down on a towel to let them drain.. You can also mist them every few days between soaking to keep them looking fresh, especially in winter when humidity in our homes tends to be lower.

Air plants love warm weather so it's the other end of thermometer you need to watch. Protect your plants from anything colder than 45°F; they will die at those temperatures.

As for pests, air plants are commonly infected by Mealybugs and Scale insects. They are usually found around the stems and leaves, and mostly get attracted to a dying air plant. To avoid your air plant being infected by disease or pest infestation, it is best to keep a close look on your watering schedule.

Sad but true, every air plant will only bloom once in its lifetime. Once the flower has dried up, you should trim off the entire flower stalk, as this will promote “pupping.” Tillandsia “Pups” are simply new plants forming at the base of the plant. They typically begin to grow about two months after the mother plant or the main base of plant has stopped blooming. You can either twist and pull new pups off the mother plant or leave them on as they begin to clump together and the mother plant will slowly die and be replaced by the pups. Be sure to wait until pups are 1/3 to half the size of the mother plant before you remove them.

Air plants are epiphytes! The term Epiphyte simply refers to a plant that needs no soil to thrive and obtains its nutrients non-parasitically by anchoring itself onto another plant or structure. In order to anchor themselves on to something they will grow roots, but these are only for support and balance purposes. If your plants roots become unruly, you can always trim them back with a scissor, as this will not harm the plant.

Fertilizing your Tillandsia is great to promote faster growth and blooms, but be sure not to overdue this. This step is not necessary if you have access to rain or pond water. We recommend fertilizing no more than once every two months. You can use ¼ recommended amount of any water soluble fertilizer as long as it does not have a urea based nitrogen which is preferred for only plants that are kept in soil.

Rot often occurs in air plants that are either overwatered, under-watered, or even plants that aren't getting enough light. Overwatering is the number one cause of rot. If the base of your air plant is soft and mushy to the touch, or if you can pull its leaves easily from its base, rot is often the culprit.

Another big issue that is common with air plants is drying up/dry rot due to under-watering. There is a common misconception that since these guys are called "air plants," that they don't require much water, if any. This is not the case! Air plants need adequate water to survive, and should be watered at least once a week.

Don’t plant them in dirt. Ever. They’re epiphytes, which means they grow on other plants, not in the ground.

While an air plant might look nice in a closed off terrarium, this could spell disaster for your plant, as it can't "breathe" and will die from lack of air flow. Poor air circulation can also cause rot, as moisture won't dissipate in an area with a lack of air flow.




Pests / Diseases

Common Problems



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