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How to Take Care of Air Plants

By April Sanders ; Updated September 21, 2017
Tillandsia plants do not need soil to grow.
tillandsia arrangement image by Shirley Hirst from Fotolia.com

Air plants (Tillandsai spp.) are just as their name implies--plants that grow by absorbing nutrients and moisture from the air, not the soil. These distinctive plants have tiny scales covering their leaves just for that purpose. Air plants are epiphytic bromeliads, according to information published by Clemson University. In the wild, these plants cling to a host plant or object. For this reason, air plants do not need to be planted in soil, but instead should be mounted or placed in a location where they have room to grow and plenty of humidity.

Tie your air plant to a large piece of bark, or rest it in a wood basket or other object that is not made of copper.

Set your air plants in a location where they will be exposed to bright but indirect light. Filtered light is best, according to Clemson University, such as light filtered through a curtained window or through the leaves of a shade tree.

Provide humidity for your air plants. Mist them twice a week with warm water, or set them on a tray filled with pebbles. Add water to the tray so that the pebbles are not covered. This way, the air plants do not touch the water, but as the water evaporates, they will be provided with humidity.

Water your plants in the morning. Air plants should be watered two times per week. Submerge your air plants completely in lukewarm water. Wait until they are thoroughly wet, then remove them from the water. Turn them over and shake them gently to remove excess water.

Fertilize your air plant with a bromeliad fertilizer every other week. Add the fertilizer to lukewarm water, then mist the plant gently with the water. Use the amount suggested on the label of the package of fertilizer according to how much water your spray bottle holds.


Things You Will Need

  • Large piece of bark (optional)
  • Warm water
  • Bowl
  • Tray filled with pebbles
  • Bromeliad fertilizer
  • Spray bottle