How To Prune Air Plants

We all adore air plants since they require little maintenance, but as with any plants, you may need to trim or prune them sometimes to keep them looking beautiful. We frequently receive inquiries about how and when to prune these unusual plants, so we have put together some advice to help you maintain your air plants’ best appearance and spot any problems.

Dead Leaves: It is normal for an air plant to shed some leaves while new ones sprout as it develops or adapts to a new or changing environment. As with any living thing, your plant may experience some dead leaves, which is typical and does not always indicate an issue. You may notice some wilted or dried-out leaves towards the base of your air plant; you can remove these leaves by gently pulling on them. A pup may occasionally be growing behind one of these dead leaves, in which case it is best to leave the leaf on until the pup has reached a size of approximately 1/3 that of the mother plant and can be safely removed.

A little pup grows at the base of this Tillandsia ionantha plant beneath some leaves.

Browning Leaf Tips: You could also notice that the tips of your airplant’s leaves have started to brown slightly. This could be a sign of either too much or not enough water. As a matter of fact, more “varieties that are thin, such the ionatha or argentea. These browning tips can be delicately pruned off without hurting the plants. As a general guideline, trim the air plant leaf at an angle rather than straight across to give it a more natural appearance. We also advise you to check your air plants’ leaves for browning or curling as these signs may indicate that they require more water or less light “Paying attention to your air plants’ needs and modifying your care as necessary. Depending on the amount of water provided and the habitat they are in, some xeric cultivars, such as the xerographica and streptophylla, may naturally develop curly leaves (read our post on mesic vs xeric air plants).

The shape and curl of the Tillandsia xerographica’s leaves vary naturally based on their moisture, habitat, and how they are presented.

Broken Leaves: Like all live plants, air plants occasionally have a leaf that is broken or injured. These plants can still be maintained in excellent health by trimming the broken leaves at an angle to improve the plant’s appearance.

Make sure not to remove too much of the length of the healthy leaves while trimming or pruning the leaves of your air plant. The air plant is resilient and tolerant, but if the leaves are cut too much, there will be less surface area for the plant to absorb nutrients.

Roots of an Air Plant: Tillandsia (air plants) are epiphytes, which means that they get their nutrients from the trichomes on their leaves and that they use their roots to anchor or connect to a rock or tree limb. They technically do not require the roots to thrive because they are not required for nutrition absorption. If kept as indoor plants, you can prune out these roots for aesthetic reasons or utilize them to hold the plant firmly in place on a wreath or a picture frame. If you do choose to clip the roots, be careful to do so without damaging the air plant itself by trimming only the roots.


I only recently learned about air plants, and I’m in love! It’s incredible how few people are aware of these wonderful little plants. I appreciate the helpful information you provided, but I do have a question about one of my plants that is currently in the flowering stage. I once read that doing so would encourage pup production. Is this a fact? I think it would look prettier if I cut off the browning portion where the blooms formerly were, but I don’t want to harm the plant.

I love these air plants more and more as I learn from you, Ryan! Make preparations for them both indoors and outdoors for the upcoming summer. Having to purchase more substantial ones! adore them

Do I need to trim my air plant?

Like any other plant, air plants occasionally require upkeep and maintenance. Even healthy air plants require pruning; trimming is not just for sick plants.

Trim air plants, especially the brown and dead leaves so that new ones can grow. Cut off the dry leaf tips, any leaves that are damaged or ill, and any dead blooms. The plant won’t suffer if the roots are cut off. You are also responsible for removing the grown pups of the air plant.

You will learn when and how to prune your air plants after reading this article. If you are not ready, you risk over-trimming and damaging your plant.

Why are my air plant’s tips going brown?

Air plant types with wispy, delicate leaves, such as T. ionantha or T. fuchsii v gracilis, are particularly prone to browning leaf tips. It is typical for mild browning to happen shortly after your plants arrive in the mail, so this doesn’t necessarily indicate that you are doing anything incorrectly. This can indicate that your air plant is becoming used to its new surroundings. Plants under stress may exhibit browning leaf tips.

If the T. fuchsii is not given enough water, its wispy leaves may turn brown.

Brown leaf tips can also be caused by another typical offender. You can be giving your air plant too much sun. While they do appreciate filtered sunlight, if they are exposed to direct sunlight all day, your plant may become sunburned and become brown.

Lack of watering your plant might also result in browning leaf tips. It’s a popular fallacy that air plants don’t require much water, if any at all. Despite being nicknamed “air plants,” they nonetheless require weekly watering. To prevent your plant from rotting, make sure to shake out any extra water after watering.

You could notice that your air plant’s base has some browning in addition to the browning of the tips. If you notice the base of your T. xerographica or T. ionantha browning, this may suggest illness such as rot or drying out from lack of water. This is entirely normal for many air plant species, such as the T. juncea or T. melonocrater tricolor.

How long does an air plant live?

Perennial plants are tillandsias, also referred to as air plants. According to the source, they have a lifespan of between two and five years, which indicates that they normally survive longer than two years.

The type of air plant and the growing conditions have an impact on how long they live, though. They reside in deserts, on various surfaces, and on tree branches in their natural habitat (other surfaces they can grow on).

Air plants only experience one flowering during their existence, which marks the culmination of their development and maturity.

Depending on the species, the flowers might remain in bloom for a number of months. However, the air plant will begin to die when the blossoms start to wilt and fade. Air plants develop pups or offsets before they die to carry on the same growth cycle.

Despite the mother plant dying, you can take the pups out and raise them separately. Separating the pups from the mother is referred to as “division is a method of air plant propagation.

As an alternative, you might leave those puppies grouped together ” (also known as “tillandsia balls).

What can you do with leaves from a dead air plant?

Why keep dying my air plants? It’s likely that your Tillandsia is really thirsty if it doesn’t appear its best, especially if it’s shriveled or discolored. Spritzing normally doesn’t give enough moisture to keep the plant healthy and hydrated, despite the fact that misting the plant is frequently advised.

When this is the case, reviving a Tillandsia entails getting the plant back to its previous condition of health and hydration. The simplest way to do this is to submerge the entire plant in lukewarm water in a bucket or basin. To prevent the plant from floating to the surface of the water, you might need to attach it to a hefty item.

Allow the bowl to soak for 12 hours in a warm place. The plant should be taken out of the bowl, laid out on a layer of paper towels, and allowed to air dry before being put back in its usual spot.

Repeat the technique, but this time leave the Tillandsia submerged for only around four hours if the plant seems dry and sickly. Shake the plant lightly while holding it upside-down to drain the leaves of extra moisture.

How can I determine the health of my air plant?

Unique and hassle-free indoor plants, air plants (Tillandsia) add significant visual charm to your home. These unique plants come in a variety of sizes, have health benefits for your home during the photosynthesis process, and need very little upkeep from you, which appeals to busy professionals. How can you know whether your air plant is healthy considering that they require less maintenance than other plants?

Hydration of the plant is essential to avoid underwatering and determine the health of your air plant. To determine whether the plant is getting too much or not enough moisture, regularly look for discolored leaves or dry or wet rot. An air plant is in good health if it blooms and produces fluff.

There are numerous techniques to determine whether your air plant is healthy, and the majority of them only require a visual examination. They could quickly get ill by doing some unexpected activities. Continue reading to learn more about 11 quick ways to assess the general health of your air plant.

Must I remove the brown leaf tips?

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We’ve experienced our fair share of brown, decaying leaves as we’ve learned how to properly care for various home plants over the years. We weren’t sure at first whether to take them out or leave them. Here is what we’ve discovered works the best.

Do you need to remove the dead leaves? Yes. Your indoor plants should have brown and withering leaves removed as quickly as possible, but only if they are more than 50% damaged. By removing these leaves, the plant looks better and the healthy foliage that is left can receive more nutrients.

Even though it might appear straightforward, there’s more to it than merely cutting those leaves off. To keep your plant healthy, you must assess how much of the leaf is dying and then carefully remove the damaged areas.

Can you trim an air plant’s base?

You might be wondering if you can cut an air plant for your decor and creative endeavors in the same manner you would cut a succulent. It can be very tempting to chop air plants into any form for your project because they survive just well without any roots or soil.

The majority of air plants are extremely tough and can survive even if you remove some of their leaves or its spike. However, if you do decide to trim an air plant, remember that once a portion of the plant is removed, the leaves cannot grow back on their own.

As the plant ages, the clipped leaves may lengthen from the bottom up and develop new leaves. Trimming off dry tips or deceased leaves is a very common and safe practice. However, be careful not to cut an air plant so severely that it lacks sufficient leaf to carry out routine photosynthesis and carbon exchange.

If you overcut an air plant, it could still dry out or wilt no matter how often you water it.

Although you can cut an air plant, it’s best to keep some general guidelines in mind before you start cutting.

After it blooms, an air plant’s spike can be cut to promote the development of “pups” (baby air plants)

If you cut the stem of an air plant in the middle, like you could with a succulent, they won’t survive or reproduce.

Can you cut an air plant? can be simply answered with a simple “yes.” Your plant will thrive with the right care if you just remember the best techniques for trimming an air plant before you clip away.

Do I need to wet my air plant frequently?

I frequently receive queries concerning caring for air plants that are kept in glass globes because they have become so popular. To enjoy your plant in a glass enclosure for many years, follow these few instructions. If you’re seeking for glass globes, our shop has a wide variety of unusual patterns.

  • The more attention you can provide your plant, the bigger the globe.
  • When you initially get your plant, give it a 20 to 30-minute bath. Keep an eye on the size and color to determine how content the plant is. Consider this “image” constantly.
  • Before inserting your plant into the globe, let it almost entirely dry out.
  • Every 4-5 days, mist your plant with one spray for small globes, two or three sprays for globes 3-5 inches in diameter, and more if the plant is in a wide open globe. The objective is to estimate the drying time; the longer the plant can retain moisture, the smaller the globe and less circulation. Overwatering will cause the plant to perish.
  • Do you recall how your plant seemed after soaking? If it no longer has that cheerful, healthy appearance, remove it, soak it for 30 to 60 minutes, shake, and let it almost completely dry before replacing in the globe.
  • Place your globes away from windows or other areas where they will receive direct sunlight. Keep in mind that the glass will make the heat and sunlight more intense. Some plants may even grow in low to moderate light, though indirect light is preferred.