A Complete Guide On How to Water Air Plants (By Succulent City)

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I know—these cute little plants are to die for! Don’t have soil? No worries! They don’t need it anyway. They absorb nutrients and water through trichomes, a fancy name for the fine hairs on the leaves. (Kind of like the fine hairs on our arms).

This presents endless possibilities for creative ways to display them. From those adorable teensy terrariums to seashells, or anything really, air plants don’t mind at all. With their attractive spiky tendrils, these epiphytes are undoubtedly a must-have in every living room. And if you’re a brown thumb looking for bragging rights, air plants have you covered.

These trendy plants are low-maintenance, so that you can get away with some negligence. It requires less maintenance and is easier to care for than your traditional succulent plant. Count me in!

Losing an air plant is a sad affair. Though hard to kill, these plants will collapse on you for several reasons. The most common, however, is regarding watering. The following watering best practices are valuable for a healthy air plant.

Do Air Plants Need Water?

A common myth associated with growing air plants is that they don’t need water since they grow in the air. This is fueled by the fact that they absorb water from the atmosphere and can survive long periods with little or no water. Following such advice, you’ll soon end up with a withered plant.

While it’s actual air plants absorb water from the atmosphere, the environment they’re grown in has a significant bearing on this. Their native tropical rainforest habitats are humid, and get along pretty well.

In-home settings, however, the humidity is nothing close compared to the forests, so they have to be watered like any house plant.

One way to water your air plants is to soak them in water. We recommended using a large bowl like this or something similar.

What Type of Water is Used for Air Plants?

Since air plants don’t grow in soil, they solely depend on water to get their minerals and nutrients. Therefore, the best water for air plants would be rainwater.

Here’s a neat tool to collect rainwater for your air plants when it rains.

However, this may not be easily accessible, so you may opt for spring water. You may also use creek, pond, well, or lake water.

If you can’t access these options, tap water can be utilized. Your last option should be soft or distilled water. It has few nutrients and minerals – unsuitable for air plants as they depend on these nutrients for growth.

Mistakes to Avoid when Watering Air Plants

Thanks to the current digital age, misinformation doesn’t take long to spread rapidly. And this has been true when it comes to watering air plants.

Hordes of air plant enthusiasts have lost their plants due to misleading advice. Avoid the following like the plague…

Assuming there’s sufficient water in the air

Don’t let the name “air plant” fool you. Air plants won’t get all the water they need from the air when growing in the living room or office.

Sure, they may absorb bitty amounts of water through their trichomes, but that is nowhere close to what they need to survive. Depending on the climate of your surroundings, you might need to water your air plants once a week.


Read more: 7 Suitable Air Plants For Beginners.

Excess humidity due to wet bed

Nothing spells disaster for air plants more quickly than a wet bed. They’ll be susceptible to rot. Planting air plants with plants that require constant moisture, like moss plants, is not recommended. Air plants flourish on dry medium. Avoid very enclosed containers as this may lead to increased moisture and rot.

Ways to Water Air Plants

Watering air plants doesn’t have to be a high-brow process. The following ways are ideal when it comes to watering air plants.

1. Misting

If you live in an arid area, your plants will appreciate periodic spritzing using a spray bottle similar to this.

It’s important to note that this method can’t be the only means to water your plants. It should only complement other watering methods. The trichomes on the leaves are unable to absorb enough water through misting.

2. Dunking

If your plants are thirsty and in a rush, you can give them a quick drink by dunking them in water to last the whole day.

To do this, submerge the plant in water once or a few more times, and they’ll be good until you have enough time to give them a thorough drink. Like a short swim!

Tips for watering air plants

2. Soaking

Giving your plants a full bath is the best way to water your plants.

This ensures that trichomes have enough time to absorb water and nutrients. To properly soak your plants, fill a bowl with water and fully submerge your air plants.

For much bigger air plants and depending on their number too, you can opt for the bathtub or sink. Be extra gentle with air plants with blooms, and don’t submerge the buds.

So, how long to soak air plants?

Let the plants stay soaked in the water for about 30 minutes to 1 hour weekly, on the minimum side. This will help them absorb the moisture and nutrients they need to grow and thrive. Soaking times exceeding 1 hour or soaking too frequently can harm air plants, so sticking to this recommended schedule for optimal care is essential.

To remove the plant from the water, hold it from the base and pull it upside down, shaking it gently to get rid of excess water. Use water at room temperature to avoid shocking your plant.

Drying Air Plants

Once you’ve figured out how to water your plants successfully, what follows is leaving them to dry out right after their bath time. Lay them on a colander, towel, or dish drying rack and set them in a lit area for two to four hours.

Also, ensure the area has plenty of air circulation – they’re air plants, remember?

Only return your plants to their display after they’re scorched to prevent water from accumulating inside the plant, ultimately resulting in rotting.

How Frequently Should I Water My Air Plant?

Watering air plants at home

This largely depends on the climate in your area.

While air plants grown in humid areas may do well with watering only once a week, those in drier areas may need frequent soaking. You can also look for dehydration evidence on your plants.

A parched air plant has curly leaves with a dull color, while a hydrated plant has open and broad leaves.

But for those that want to, it’s not that hard to care for and water air plants. Let us know if you are trying to care for some air plants. We’ll have more articles about this soon. In the meantime, happy planting!


Final Words

Think you’ll give air plants a try now? If not, here are some rare succulents for an interesting read-through. Has this helped you at all? Be sure to share with a fellow green thumb, I’m sure the info will help them too!

Succulent City chief editor


Succulent City

Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

7 thoughts on “A Complete Guide On How to Water Air Plants (By Succulent City)

  1. To whom it may concen.
    I have various air plants.
    I would like to buy air plants from you, how could I do it.
    Please contact me by Email.

  2. Thanks for the information on watering Air Plants, very helpful. But I do have a question. I have some Air Plants that are like glued into the pots (bought that way). How would I go about soaking them? Thanks for any help you can give me. Have a wonderful and blessed day. Happy New Year.

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