How to Water Air Plants

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

This presents endless possibilities on creative ways to display them. From those adorable teensy terrariums to seashells, or anything really, air plants don’t mind at all.

Just check out these modern wall planters that air plants can snuggle in!

With their attractive spiky tendrils, these epiphytes are no doubt a got-to-have in every living room. And if you’re a brown thumb looking for some bragging rights, air plants got you covered.

These trendy plants are low-maintenance and so you can get away with some little negligence. Less maintenance and easier to take care of 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 due to several reasons. The most common however, is in regard to watering. To have a healthy air plant, the following watering best practices are valuable.

What are Air Plants?

Air plants are part of the Tillandsia genus which consist of about 650 species. Native to Mexico and the Americas, air plants are epiphytes, which means they grow on other plants and emerge from stem crevices or tree branches. Their roots can also attach on rocks and other shrubs just for support as the roots can’t take in water or nutrients.

In their native tropical rainforest habitats, air plants survive by absorbing water in the humid environment though their leaves. Unlike other plants, these rule-breakers don’t require dirt to grow, just air.

Think air plants are cool yet? If you want to get some for yourself check out where to buy succulents, there might be some sources there for buy air plants too.

Do Air Plants Need Water?

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

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

In home settings however, the humidity is nothing close compared to the forests out there and so they have to be watered just 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 on soil, they solely depend on water to get their minerals and nutrients. Therefore, the best water for air plants would definitely be rain water.

Here’s a neat little tool you can use to collect rain water for your air plants when it rains.

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

If you can’t get a hold of any of these options, then tap water can be utilized. Your last option should be soft or distilled water. It has little nutrients and minerals—not suitable for air plants as they depend on these nutrients for growth.

Mistakes to Avoid when Watering Air Plants

Thanks to the current digital age, it doesn’t take long for misinformation 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 such 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 especially when growing in the living room or office.

Sure, they may absorb itty 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.

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 leading to 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.

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 stand in as the only means o watering your plants. It should only complement other watering methods. The trichomes on the leaves are unable to absorb enough water through misting.

Dunking

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

To do this, just 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
@zoiascreations

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 bath tub or sink. Be extra gentle with air plants that have blooms and don’t submerge the buds. Let the plants stay soaked in the water for at least one hour, on a weekly basis on the minimum side.

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 successfully water your plants, what follows is leaving them to dry out right after their bath time. Lay them on a colander, towel or a dish drying rack and set them in a brightly 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 fully dry to prevent water from accumulating inside the plant which will ultimately result to rotting.

How Frequently Should I Water my Air Plant?

Watering air plants at home
@airplantdesignstudio

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 dehydration evidence on your plants.

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


Think you’ll give air plants a try now? If not, here’s some rare succulentsyou can check out.

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

Has this helped you at all? Be sure to share with a fellow green thumb, i’m sure the info will help them too!

If you’d like this read you’re going to love our full in-depth ebooks! With so many of our succulent lovers asking for more, we listened and can’t wait to share it with you here! With our very detailed ebooks, you’ll get more information than these short articles, some ebooks are 30+ pages, perfect for a weekend read.

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