Air plants might sound weird for those unknown with the term. These plants have evolved out of plant definition by absorbing nutrients from leaves. Shocking, right?

Air plants do not require soil for growing. Hence, they are popularly classified as epiphytes. These plants are also known as Tillandsias. They belong to the family Bromeliaceae. 

We often come across plants that grow being attached to the surfaces of other plants, rocks, etc.  They are popular home plants due to their attractive appearance and the extraordinary quality of not needing soil to grow. 

We can display these plants in an exciting manner inside houses. Hanging, putting them on the shelf are some of the methods. They are fun plants to arrange in a decorative manner. Additionally, these plants are very easy to propagate. 

Air Plants are some of the easiest maintenance plants, but they seek some attention and proper environmental considerations to thrive. 

As their name alludes, they do not require soil to grow. Instead, they take the needed nutrients from the air. They still need a proper amount of water and nutrient supply, and adequate light to thrive. 

Here we list out some of the basic things one should take care of if s/he wishes to have healthy air plants at home.

Table of Contents

1. Light

Air Plant exposed to sunlight
Air Plant exposed to sunlight | Image Credit – Cactusway

Light is crucial for any living creature, and Tillandsia species are no exception. 

The specific requirements vary from species to species, but most air plants will perform best in bright indirect sunlight. 

Some species of air plants can handle direct sunlight, but most of them cannot. So, one should be careful that the plant is not exposed to too much direct sun. It can burn the plant. 

On the other hand, low light may damage a plant’s health in the long term. 

For some varieties, artificial light may also be sufficient. But most air plants prefer indirect sunlight to thrive. 

2. Water

Tillandsia With Water Droplets
Air Plants are Epiphytes, so they do not need soil to grow | Image Credit – Jason White

Air plants do not need soil, but water is a basic requirement to survive. The variety of air plants has different watering schedules. We should water them 1 – 2 weeks intervals. 

Fill lukewarm water in a sink or a tub and soak the air plant for 15-20 minutes. After soaking, it is vital to dry the plants before placing them back. 

Prolonged soaking may create damage to the plant. The plant may rot if it is not dried properly. 

You can figure out whether your plant is thirsty or not. If it is hydrated enough, the leaves of the plants are wide open. If the plant is dehydrated, the leaves curl and close. 

3. Air

Air Plant Caring Tips | Video Credits – Nick Pileggi

Air plants prefer good air circulation for survival and healthy living. Anything that restricts air circulation is harmful to the plants. Flow of air around the plants is equally important as sunlight, water and organic matters. 

The proper circulation of fresh air helps to absorb nutrients required for the plant’s growth. 

4. Temperature 

Growing air plant in a well-suited temperature
Growing air plant in a well-suited temperature | Image Credit – Pottery Barn

These plants perform well in warm conditions (50-90 degrees Fahrenheit).  The temperature directly affects the growth of the air plants and their water requirements. 

These plants are susceptible to extreme cold climatic conditions. If you wish the air plants to flourish, make sure to place them near the Air Conditioner and Heater. 

They cannot withstand extreme heat or cold. They may dry out in such conditions. 

You can keep these plants on the balcony if it is a shady place. But exposure to extreme sunlight will be harmful to the plant. 

5. Fertilizer

ertilizer for air plants
Fertilizer for air plants | Image Credit – Air Plant Design Studio

The use of fertilizers is not needed for these plants. But, if you are very particular about the shape and size of your Tillandsia, you may use low nitrogen fertilizers such as Bromeliad. 

These fertilizers enhance offset production and blooming in air plants. You must be careful that the fertilizer is non-urea-based nitrogen fertilizer. You may use it a few times a year. 

6. Grooming and Aesthetic Maintenance

Air Plant Trimming
Air plants maintenance | Image Credit: Air Plant Forest

If you are a plant parent, you must be aware of grooming the plant. Once in a while, your air plant needs grooming too. 

The lower leaves of these plants dry out as they adapt to the environment and the new ones start to grow. All you have to do is pluck off the lower leaves. The plant will grow gradually. 


If you are thinking of bringing your first Tillandsia home, these are the basic things you should know. 

You can make your air plants thrive and perform best for your internal decor if you are careful about these things. 

Do share in the comment section; if you have any other ideas that have worked better for your Tillandsias.

(Last Updated on March 25, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Suraksha Pal is an Industrial Engineer currently pursuing my master’s degree in Renewable Energy Engineering at the Institute of Engineering, Pulchowk Campus. She has a keen interest in Renewable Energy and is passionate about sustainable development. She loves to express her views on these subjects through articles and blogs.