How to Water Air Plants

How to Water Air Plants

Table of Contents

Air plants are fascinating things, as baffling as they are beautiful. 

However, the confusion they cause isn’t just their strange methods of growing and flourishing in the air, they are also baffling to many of their owners who struggle to figure out the best way to care for these exotic novelties. Particularly when it comes to air plants water care.

‘How long should I soak my air plant for?’ and ‘How do you water air plants?’ are heard ringing through the homes of many people who’ve recently purchased one of these shrubs.

If this sounds familiar, worry no more! The days of being baffled are over! In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about how to water air plants, from guidelines in winter to the best misting schedule.

Looking for easy-to-care-for indoor greenery for your home or office space? We’ve got you covered with this guide to the best low-maintenance houseplants. 

How do you water air plants

The best technique to keep all species of Tillandsia hydrated is actually to submerge them in water. 

Fill a large container - a sink or bowl - with tepid water and make sure it’s deep enough to completely immerse the entire thing. This is called soaking. Keep reading to discover the most  effective ways to soak your greenery. 

How often to water air plants

As houseplants, air plants need regular water and so should be soaked frequently. While the exact schedule you may choose will vary depending on the particular environment of your house, watering at least once and sometimes even 2-3 times a week is generally considered to be best for optimal care. 

An extra long soak of an hour or two is also advised every week or couple of weeks. 

Aside from following this schedule, the best way to know how often to water Tillandsia is to look at its leaves. If you can see the edges of leaves beginning to curl inwards you know it’s time to soak it again as this means it’s using up its moisture. Looking closely at the leaves is so important because one of the crucial things about Tillandsia is that it doesn’t wilt as obviously as other foliage does. 

Dealing with dead indoor shrubs? Bring them back to life with these easy steps.

How long do I soak my air plant for?

Deciding how often to soak air plants will depend on the particular variables of your home environment. For example, during wintertime, when artificial heating can make the air drier, shrubs might need a longer soaking. 

However, the best way to begin soaking Tillansia is with a 30-60 minute soak once a week, taking care to submerge the entire thing (except perhaps for a bloom). 

See how your particular shrub responds to this and then, if it needs a little more or less hydration, either increase the weekly soakings or stretch them out to ten days or two weeks if it seems adequately nourished.

The crucial thing to remember when soaking is to dry the shrub properly afterwards, laying it out on a dish towel on its side or upside down so that it can drain correctly and its leaves can be completely dry before returning to its terrarium or vase. 

Watering air plants in winter

Unlike most other houseplants who require less water in winter, these shrubs, depending on the conditions of your indoor area, might need just as much moisture as they do in summer. This is because the use of indoor heating can significantly dry them out. This is problematic as, unlike other shrubs, Tillandsia absorbs nutrients and moisture not through its roots but through its leaves. 

So, the best way to winterize your air plants is to watch them closely, perhaps keeping the same watering schedule and then supplementing them with extra misting. This will keep their environment humid enough for them to survive. Add in extra mistings and waterings when you see the leaves beginning to curl once again.

The best water for air plants

What kind of water do air plants like best? These fussy little delights have specific water requirements that you should meet in order to keep them happy and healthy. Water should always be lukewarm or room temperature to prevent shocking the plant.

Secondly, due to the fact that air plants get most of their nutrients from their water source, it’s important to use mineral- and nutrient-rich water. Rainwater is ideal as it best replicates their natural food source but spring water, lake water, creek water or similar can all work well.

However, make sure to avoid using distilled or filtered water as these have likely been stripped of the kind of nutrients air plants need. 

Otherwise, if using tap water, as this has been chemically treated and is probably full of chlorine, allow it to sit out overnight before using. This allows the chlorine to dissipate and for the water to get to room temperature.

With this attentive watering plan, your air plant is sure to thrive indoors, bringing delight and drama to any indoor home. Find your ideal Tillandsia at Plants.com or, for more inspiration on the best hanging indoor shrubs, click here.


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