Tillandsia Buying Guide - How To Care For Your Air Plants

Tom Coley  |  May 2021

A beautiful plant is like having a friend around the house.

Tillandsia, often known as Air Plants are native to Central and South America and mostly live in desert-like climates.

They are amazing! Needing no soil, they are very easy to look after and just love bright spots away from direct sunlight.

In their native environment, Tillandsia live off the humidity in the air, which is where they get their common name. They are a very strong, hardy plant, needing less care than most other houseplants. Air plants have little fuzzy grey/white hairs on their leaves, called trichomes. It is via these structures, they get the needed nutrients from the air in a very effective way.

The humidity in their native environment is much higher than here in the UK, so they do need a little TLC to keep them in tip-top condition.

How to care for air plants?

 Spray / Mist regularly with water.

 Soak your air plant periodically (see below).

 Find them a nice bright spot, with good air circulation.

 Protect from direct sunlight & frosts.

Where you keep your Tillandsia also has an impact on how often you water and look after your air plants.

Open Environment

In warmer months, spray your air plants once/twice a week. This can be done once every two weeks during colder months. Preferably with rainwater, but tap water will do the job just fine.

It is also important is that the plants dry off completely, if your plants are packed close together consider spacing them out to allow for proper airflow after watering.

In addition to regular spraying, air plants just love a monthly bath! See below for information on soaking your Tillandsia.

Open Glass Container

The same care as discussed above applies to air plants in an open glass container. However, we would recommend taking the plants out of the glass to spray them.

It is also doubly important to let your plants dry off completely before putting them back in the container again.

To further improve the health of your air plants, a monthly soak would do them the world of good.

Closed Glass Container

Once/twice a week, remove your Tillandsia and give them a spray of tap water or preferably rainwater. Once/twice every two weeks during colder months. Put your plants back in their container once completely dried.

Tillandsia need good air circulation, and can deteriorate more quickly in a closed environment. Therefore, keep a good eye on the appearance of your air plants.

If you see that they are losing colour or starting to look a little less healthy, we recommend you give them a nice long soak.

After soaking it is vitally important to let the plants dry off completely in an open environment with good air circulation and bright light (no direct sunlight). You’ll soon find your plants getting their strong and healthy look again and can be put back into the container.

Whenever your plants are looking a little shabby, simply repeat the process.

Soaking Your Air Plants

To make your Tillandsia as happy as can be we recommend giving them a nice long bath once a month.

Fill a container (or bath! depending on how bad your air plant obsession gets) with room temperature water and place your plants in. They will love the natural nutrients in rainwater if you can, if not tap water will be just fine.

Your air plants will suck up the water for a while. After 30-60 minutes of soaking, take out your plants and find them a nice bright spot with good air circulation to dry off completely.

You’ll see the air plants getting back their colourful, strong and healthy look right before your eyes.

Like always, make sure your plants are fully dried off after their bath before returning them home.

Plant Babies

Once a year a happy air plant will flower and then produce a baby air plant. When this baby reaches about a third of the size of its parent you can safely twist it off and it will live all by itself.

What are your thoughts? Anything you do differently to look after your air plants? let us know in the comments below if you think we've missed something.

We'd also love to see your air plant displays, tag us in any photos on your socials and we'll be sure to respond.

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