Can You Revive Air Plants

Most people will at some point in their adventure of cultivating tillandsias wonder how to revive their air plants. Finding the source of the problem is the first step in saving any air plant. After that, you can take the necessary steps to address the issue that is harming your air plant.

Your air plant may occasionally start to seem very white or gray. A naturally green air plant that is going very white or gray could be an early symptom of your air plant drying, even though it is typical for your air plants to be covered in a coat of white or gray hair or trichromes in most circumstances.

When your air plant becomes extremely white or gray, the good news is that it is not dying. When the air plant is dehydrated, the trichromes are simply becoming more noticeable and making the plant appear paler than usual.

A dry air plant can be brought back to life by soaking in water for 5-8 hours. After soaking, shake out any excess water, and let your air plant to dry out in 4 hours. Up until the plant no longer appears dry, repeat the prolonged soaking every two to three days.

If your air plant is drying out again after being rejuvenated with a series of prolonged soaks, check the light, temperature, and humidity conditions of the immediate area.

To assist your air plant maintain moisture, place it away from direct or extremely bright indirect light. Around 5090 F is the ideal temperature for air plants. If you subject your air plant to severely cold or hot temperatures, it could be difficult to recover it. It’s possible for the air plant to become too dry to survive in extreme temperatures.

The air plant’s brown or black leaves are often an indication of root decay. When air plants are not completely dried off after watering, they might get root rot. The air plant is prone to fungus infections that irreversibly harm the plant cells when the leaves are frequently damp. The air plant would eventually turn brown or black as a result of these dead cells.

As soon as you notice the brown or black leaves, you can carefully remove those leaves to revitalize your air plant and stop the infection from spreading. To prevent root rot, keep the air plant in a place with sufficient airflow and allow it to dry out promptly after each watering.

The air plant may perish in severe cases of root rot that have reached the plant’s center. You will need to try again with a fresh plant if the root rot is so severe that the plant begins to fall apart.

It can take some trial and error to understand how to grow air plants. The most frequent explanation for “why is my air plant dying” is root rot as a result of the air plant not drying out correctly. Air plants might wither from dryness, lack of light, or lack of nutrients in the water.

To lessen the likelihood of root rot in the future, you might try several techniques and situate your air plant somewhere with more air movement.

Are my air plants still alive?

The leaves of a healthy air plant should range in color from green to gray. The plant should not break when you lift it up. In other words, leaves should not fall from an air plant that is healthy.

You can do a variety of things to resuscitate a plant. Here are the steps I take to aid in the recovery of my air plants’ health.

Give the Air Plant an Overnight Soak

When I’m trying to revive an air plant, I always start by watering it. Keep in mind that although air plants don’t need soil, that doesn’t imply they don’t need water. Water is a necessity for all living things, even air plants.

Since air plants don’t have roots, they must instead collect moisture and water through their leaves because they lack soil. I’ve heard it much too often that garden centers advise misting air plants with water a few times per week. This is not enough water, in my opinion, and the plant will become thirsty. Sadly, if this persists for a long enough period of time, the air plant will die.

How Long Should I Soak my Air Plant?

I give my air plants an hour-long bath to make sure they receive the water they need. I do this on a weekly basis during the summer when it’s warmer and roughly every three weeks throughout the winter. I enjoy using rainwater because I live in a rainforest. But you can also use regular tap water! To let the chlorine vaporize, simply leave the water out for 24 hours.

Simply take the air plant out of its current container and place it in a bowl of water after that. The basin needs to be big enough for the plant to fully submerge. After a half-hour or so, remove it from the bath. To make sure that water isn’t gathering in your air plant’s leaves while it’s upside down, give it a couple gentle shakes. After that, return the plant to its location. It’s that simple!

Make Sure Your Air Plant has Air!

Even though it might seem simple, your air plant requires oxygen to survive. There are numerous pictures of air plants being kept in tightly sealed jars floating about, and they make me scoff since plants cannot survive in that kind of environment!

The answer is simple.

You can continue to preserve your adorable jar terrarium, but be careful to keep the lid slightly ajar or open to allow air to flow freely.

Remove Dead Leaves

A sick air plant should also have any dead leaves removed by gently tugging on them to check if they fall off. They are dead if they are simple to remove. Unfortunately, you have a dead air plant that has already perished if the entire plant crumbles when you do this.

Your air plant will survive, though, if only a few leaves fall off and the interior leaves are green and healthy-looking.

Look at the Tips of Your Air Plant

Try using rainwater or unchlorinated water as mentioned above if the tips of your air plant are starting to turn brown. Your plant may not be getting enough water if you are not giving them chlorine yet they are still turning brown.

After giving them an overnight bath, make sure you give them baths more frequently.

What if my Air Plant Falls Apart?

You have a dead air plant on your hands if your green air plant just falls apart. This probably happened as a result of spending too much time in water that was left standing or from not adequately shaking off after a bath.

Reread the section about watering, and the next one will undoubtedly go more smoothly.

Are air plants able to regrow?

What could be better than a cute little family of lovely air plants? a sizable group of air plant puppies and plants! Your air plants will soon begin to grow little since they wish to pass on their genes “pups at their foundation. As your family of air plants expands, these genetic copies will eventually develop into a new plant that can be removed and grown separately, saving you money!

An air plant will begin its reproductive process by developing a very small leaf after the first bloom cycle “at its base, a pup. After birth, the bloom cycle can last anywhere from six months to several years. When it comes to caring for air plants, patience is unquestionably a virtue. They appear to take their sweet time with everything. You can promote puppies in a number of ways, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

These puppies mark the beginning of a brand-new air plant that will grow, blossom, and reproduce pups of its own in the future. Pups are a simple way to expand your collection of air plants, even if they can also seed and propagate traditionally. Allow the cute little puppies to reach a size between one-third and half that of their mother. They don’t function well on their own until they have a little more maturity.

These pups would remain tethered to the mother plant until it passed away in the wild. This will result in stunning air plant clumps. It’s not necessary to remove pups if you wish to let them develop naturally. Large balls of plants are extremely sought-after and hard to come by. They look particularly nice when planted in trees and can be hung with wire or rope.

A pup is often born on Tillandsia Caput-Medusae one month after the bloom has dried up.

You will need to undertake a kind of surgery if you prefer the concept of raising your pups separately. Don’t worry; perhaps there won’t be any bloodshed. All you require is a knife or blade with a sharp edge, decent lighting, and a new location to raise the removed pups. Just sever the pup’s connection to the mother at its base. Always err on the side of cutting more from the mother than the pup and try your best to avoid hurting the pup. Actually, it’s a fairly easy technique that anyone can complete. Sometimes you can simply snap the pup off between two fingers depending on how it is positioned.

Once they are eliminated, you can cultivate them in the same manner as a regular plant. It really is that easy. Owning air plants can be a highly gratifying hobby, but one of the most exciting parts of caring for air plants is being able to propagate pups. In the comments box below, feel free to ask any questions you may have.

Tillandsia Melanocrater swiftly produces robust pups that can be gently pulled from the mother or can be easily separated from the parent with a sharp knife.

How come my air plant is dying?

More air plants perish from overwatering than from underwatering. The telltale indicator is when the bottom of your air plant appears brown and slimy. Instead of submerging or soaking your air plants, try misting them with a spray bottle. In between waterings, make sure your air plant has completely dried out. Only mist your air plants 1-3 times each week. Less can be more. It’s crucial to dry your air plant within four hours because they can become overwatered if they don’t. Get a fan for your air plant if it doesn’t dry after four hours of watering, and water it less the following time.

2. Insufficient air causes air plants to lack nutrients. It results in “dry rot.” There won’t be enough food if there isn’t enough air movement around air plants. Keep in mind that air plants consume nourishment. Terrariums and small, quiet locations like toilets shouldn’t be used to house air plants because there isn’t enough airflow in these areas. Instead, pick a place with lots of natural light and fresh air, such as close to an open window, in a large room with other rooms adjacent to it, in a courtyard or on a veranda. Lack of air flow can also lead to overwatering because it delays the air plants’ ability to fully dry up. The problem with air plant holders is dry rot. Your air plant may develop dry rot on the area of the plant that has poor air flow from the planter if the base is placed in a planter, such as a pot, hanger, or pouch, that has no ventilation. Before you notice the rot, it will have spread and your air plant will be dead.

3. Lack of Light – To produce their own nourishment, air plants require light. If your air plants are indoors, make sure they are one meter or less from a window. They’ll definitely perish from lack of sunshine if you put them in a dark hallway.

4. Too much direct sunlight will burn your plant or severely dry the foliage. Generally speaking, 45 minutes of moderate early morning or late afternoon direct sunshine is acceptable. However, it is advised to use filtered sunlight or total shade.

5. Frost – Because they are sensitive to the cold, air plants. They dislike temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius. If you live in a chilly climate, you might want to think about bringing your air plants inside during the winter.

6. Humidity – some types of air plants like it when the humidity is high. If the leaves of your air plant are too curled, the air may be too dry for the plant. Spraying or soaking air plants in water just isn’t enough moisture if the air is too dry. Consider soaking your air plant for 30 minutes each week in addition to your regular spraying if you believe it died from low humidity. or daily spray your plant. Additionally, you can put the air plant on a piece of driftwood or any object that can hold moisture. Another choice is to make a bed using a mixture of 50% perlite and 50% orchid potting mix. Spray the mixture every time you spray your plants. Your air plants might even drop roots into the mixture since they are so content.

7. Rust – Your air plant will develop dead areas as a result. Keep your plant away from anything that is rusty. Regular wire might rust in the future. For mounting air plants, use plastic-coated or galvanized wire.

8. Copper wire is well recognized for killing air plants. Copper is poisonous to air plants, particularly when it is regularly moist.

9. It’s typical for the mother air plant to pass away. Air plants develop, blossom, give birth to pups, and then go extinct. If your air plant has already bloomed and produced pups, it’s entirely possible that she is about to die. Don’t get rid of her just yet. Before she leaves, she might surprise you by bearing even another pup.

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Why is my air plant becoming shriveled?

Here is a list of things to consider while thinking back on the conditions and upkeep of your prized tillandsias, even though there is no conclusive explanation for why any one particular air plant perished.

Over & Under Watering

An air pant can be killed by either too much or too little water. Watering a plant correctly might be challenging at times. Before placing your plant back into a container, soak it for 20 to 30 minutes, shake it out, and let it dry for a few hours. We’ve had the best success making our weekly water baths a tradition. A decent rule of thumb is to observe the leaves’ state the day after a thorough bath. The leaves ought to be open and more flat, not folded or curled. Aim for this appearance with each watering and adjust the frequency accordingly so that your air plants exhibit this appearance the majority of the time. Aeranthos Major is an excellent indicator of hydration in air plants. Depending on the plant’s level of hydration, the leaves of this species significantly curl and open. In smaller species like Ionanthas, the distinction is more pronounced.

When plants are not given enough time to completely dry out in between water baths, they will succumb to overwatering and die. This frequently happens when water is misted over the air plants while they are housed in a terrarium or other enclosure. The enclosure’s tightness retains moisture, which can lead to plant base rot.

Exposure to Salts & Chemicals

Salts from water softeners may smoothen our skin and hair, but they can also damage air plants. Have you ever watered a home plant a few times and then let it to dry before seeing a white crust forming on the top of the soil? These salt buildups are particularly damaging to air plants. Salts end up being deposited on the ends of leaves in air plants because they lack soil to filter the salts. This will eventually choke the plant because the trichomes won’t be able to absorb nutrients and water. Additionally bad for plants, some municipal water contains chlorine, which should be avoided if at all feasible.

The ideal water to use is non-carbonated mineral water, rainwater, water from a well, pond, or lake. Store-bought bottled and filtered water actually lacks the majority of minerals despite being devoid of hazardous salts. While using only bottled water to water a plant won’t kill it, if that’s all they ever get, they’ll be starved of essential nutrients.

Extreme Heat and Light

Plants quickly become dehydrated in direct sunshine. Sitting in a hot room or close to a hot window will have the same effect. On rare occasions, the plants’ leaves might even become burned by the sun. Air plants shouldn’t be kept in glass containers with direct sunshine because the containers can grow extremely hot (like a miniature greenhouse) and the glass may function as a magnifying glass, concentrating the sunlight on the leaves and rapidly causing them to burn. The majority of air plants prefer temps that you prefer, so that’s a solid generalization. Your air plant probably won’t appreciate it if you wouldn’t sit near your window for several hours at a time since you’d be too hot. The majority of tillandsia prefer temperatures between 55 and 85 degrees.

Nevertheless, a number of air plant species are tolerant of high temperatures in their natural habitats. In hotter lowland areas, xeric plants including Xerographica, Harisii, and Stricta can all be found. These species can survive in warmer climates and brighter environments as long as water is available. In general, the need for watering increases as the temperature rises.

Too Little Light

For several hours each day, air plants need powerful artificial lighting or indirect natural light. The health of air plants kept in dim bathrooms or inside hallways will deteriorate, and they will finally perish. In offices, the lighting is typically adequate because it is on continuously for a number of hours each day. Tillandsias shouldn’t be an issue if the area is bright enough for other common houseplants like pothos, spider plants, and philodendrons.


It is extremely uncommon to observe frost or freezing conditions, despite the fact that many kinds of air plants natively grow at high heights. Most air plants cannot survive in temperatures below 32 degrees or in frost. Spanish moss and the several varieties of ball moss, which can be found naturally from Texas to Florida and up into coastal Virginia, are the principal exceptions to these guidelines. Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) can tolerate days with highs below freezing as well as nights in the teens and twenties Fahrenheit. However, this would be a death sentence for the majority of air plants, especially the ones that are readily available in stores.

For plants that arrive DOA due to the cold in the winter, we continue to provide our 30-Day Guarantee. Since heat packs frequently run out and are ineffective at the end of their useful lives, when they are most required, we no longer use them to ship plants. Our research has also revealed that they have the ability to burn the vegetation. In order to limit their exposure to the cold, it is better to have plants brought to wherever you are when mail is delivered (your place of employment or educational institution, for instance).

If your air plants are only kept outside during the warm months, we advise bringing them inside once the temperature at night drops below 45 degrees. Any air plant will thrive indoors. There are certain crucial care issues to go through for the winter months, especially at higher latitudes. Our second blog that covers winter care for air plants is located here.

Fertilizer Burn

Your air plants may burn if you fertilize them more frequently and at higher water concentrations. You could want to include fertilizing in your routine if you like the misting technique of watering. But before you spray the plants, make sure the fertilizer is thoroughly mixed and diluted (using the same one-quarter teaspoon per gallon of water).

Moisture & Poor Air Circulation

The majority of air plants originate in chilly, windswept highlands or arid deserts. Not all air plants prefer extremely high humidity, but some do. Make sure your plants quickly dry out after bathing. When drying, we prefer to place them behind a ceiling fan. This will lessen the likelihood of bases being too wet and developing root rot. Even if you mist or spray your plants to water them, we still advise taking them out of their cages. Spanish moss needs to be hung in an area with plenty of fresh air. If used as stuffing in a terrarium or against a wall, it will gradually become brown.