Get the Dirt on Air Plants

Spindly air plants, also called tillandsia, are tenacious enough to skip the soil and add funky style to your space.

With air plants, the possibilities are truly endless. Pair them in a grand display with succulents and orchids. Or forgo a container altogether. Set tillandsias on coffee tables, nestle them into your favorite nook or place them on a bookshelf or windowsill. They’ll look great no matter what! But however you decide to grow them, follow these basics for success.

Watering Air Plants

Misting a few times per week keeps most air plants fresh, but if your leaves look crispy and are curling inward, soak it in tepid water once a week for one to two hours.

Light Needs

This plant loves the sun, so give it as much bright, indirect light as possible. An east-facing window will give your plant a few hours of direct sun, which results in an air plant with better color and growth. If your air plant’s leaves look discolored or faded, it’s not receiving enough light.


Whether it’s sweltering or snowing outside, air plants do just fine all year long because they grow best indoors in an average home temperature. Move them outside, though, and they’re likely to wither if temperatures get lower than 40 degrees or climb higher than 100.

Do Air Plants Bloom?

All healthy tillandsias have the potential to bloom and transform their overall look, but their flowers can differ as much as the plants themselves, from fanciful blue petals to super tiny green blooms. Just practice patience and make sure your air plant gets maximum light and sufficient water. 

Read More! Grow your expertise with Air Plants: The Curious World of Tillandsias by Zenaida Sengo, an artist and horticulturist. This book is packed with gorgeous photos and easy-to-follow care instructions for air plants.

Decorate With Air Plants

Air plants have a remarkably long shelf life, and that makes them ideal for decorating. Liven up a desk space with tillandsia terrarium or weave a couple of plants into a festive wreath with branches of blue cedar and sprigs of berries.

Kaitlin Stainbrook
Kaitlin Stainbrook has been writing about birding and gardening for nearly a decade. As the associate editor of Birds & Blooms magazine, she wrote and edited articles across a wide range of topics from houseplants to hummingbirds. She's worked closely with top birding and gardening experts and continues to learn everything she can about the natural world around us.