Spraying air plants with water from a bottle on occasion is beneficial. Your air plants will enjoy a cool mist, especially if you live in a dry environment. Remember that you shouldn’t use this technique to water your air plants exclusively. The trichomes won’t be able to get all the water they require from misting on their own.
Although most air plants require more watering than misting, Tillandsia tectorum is an unique exception. This air plant is native to the Andes mountains, where the hard environment has allowed the plants to evolve in a special way. Due to an abundance of trichomes that protect them from the sun’s rays, they appear fuzzy. The trichomes also maximize the little moisture that is present.
This indicates that misting—rather than soaking or dunking—is the optimum method of hydrating these air plants, which also benefit from direct sunlight.
Your climate will determine how often you need to water T. tectorum. If your area is humid, spraying the plant thoroughly once every three weeks will do. You must sprinkle your T. tectorum once a week in dry regions.
Depending on your climate, thoroughly mist a T. tectorum once a week to once every three weeks. Never submerge a T. tectorum or wet it.
Giving your air plants a brief dunk will keep them going for the day until you have time to give them a full drink if you are in a rush and are aware that they are thirsty. You can swiftly immerse an air plant in water once or multiple times by doing so. Alternately, place the plant under the sink’s faucet.
Air plants should be promptly and entirely submerged in water before being dunked. Quick dip time for this T. tricolor v melanocrater.
Nothing works better than a thorough soaking to truly hydrate an air plant. This can be done by placing the entire plant in a dish that has been filled with tepid water. You might use a sink or even a tub if you have a lot of air plants.
Allow your air plants to soak in a water bath for about an hour once a week. Make sure to modify this timetable to reflect your local climate. Your plants might just require 20 minutes if the humidity where you reside is extremely high. It can be necessary to soak for up to 4 hours in dry conditions.
Watering Air Plant Arrangements
It can be a little challenging to remove an air plant that has been affixed to a display, but it is definitely achievable. Use your faucet instead of soaking the entire arrangement in a bowl of water.
Hold the air plant under a gentle stream of lukewarm water, keeping the wood or other surface it is bonded to out of the water. Allow the water to soak the plant for a while.
Hold the air plant under the faucet for a few minutes while using lukewarm water to keep the driftwood dry. A T. abdita is shown above attached to driftwood.
Hold the display after watering to ensure that any extra water runs off and does not collect inside the plant.
If the air plants can be easily removed and are not permanently attached to the display. Remove them from the arrangement and hydrate them by soaking the plant in a bowl of water, just like you would any other air plant.
Allowing your air plants to dry up completely can maintain their long-term health and longevity. After watering your plants, allow them to rest for around 4 hours on their side with plenty of airflow. With this drying technique, water won’t build up inside the plant and cause it to decay. Return the plants to their display once 4 hours have passed. You cannot exaggerate how crucial it is to let your plants drain and dry off.
Place air plants on their sides or upside-down so that any excess water may drain away from the plant. This will help the plant to dry. For this, you could make use of a dish drying rack, a colander, or a towel.
Taking a trip? No issue. Without you, your air plants will remain alive. Soak your air plants for 12 hours right before you leave. Soak them once more for 12 hours when you get home. This strategy works well for a two-week trip. If it takes longer, you’ll need to enlist the aid of a friend or neighbor.
Soak and Dry
You now know how to water your air plants correctly. Your air plants won’t decay from too much moisture accumulation or crumble in your palm from dehydration. You can do this. Rinse and dry. I’m done now!
How to Water an Air Plant
The most challenging aspect of caring for air plants is watering them. Some individuals use misting religiously, others immerse their air plants, while yet others utilize a mix of misting and soaking.
In our experience, watering air plants is challenging because the plant’s requirements differ significantly depending on the environment. Additionally, some species need particular care. Assessing your environment is the first step in watering your air plant. How much light is reaching your plant? What’s the temperature like inside your house right now? Is there a lot of dry air there (is your plant close to a heater or fireplace)? Is it also really humid?
Following your responses, you can modify the air plant watering schedule to meet your specific requirements. Here is what we suggest as a place to start:
- Every one to two weeks, give your air plant a 5- to 10-minute soak in room-temperature tap water (or, if you can get it, rainwater or pond water).
- Once your plant has soaked, gently shake off any extra water. It should be placed on a towel upside down in a well-lit area. This is very crucial. If extra water is allowed to stand, air plants will quickly decay.
- The plant should be able to dry completely in 3 hours once the soaking process is finished. More time than this could cause your plant to decay. Try putting it somewhere brighter with better airflow to encourage quicker drying.
- Mist your plant well once a week (instead of watering it). Make sure the entire surface is saturated (but not so much that there is water dripping down into the plant).
- You need to water more when the air is hotter and dryer (summer, early fall). Your air plant will require less water during the cooler and more humid seasons (winter and spring). Just be mindful of your plant because heaters and fires dry out the air.
- Water everything in the morning. Evening sopping or sprinkling interferes with the plants’ ability to breathe at night and prolongs the drying process.
Is My Air Plant Getting Enough Water?
The tops of your air plant’s leaves may turn brown or crispy if you’ve been neglecting to water it. When an air plant is under-watered, its leaves’ inherent concavity tends to become more pronounced.
Unfortunately, it’s frequently too late to save an overwatered air plant. Your plant has certainly succumbed to rot if the base of the plant turns dark or black and leaves are falling out or off from the center.
Regarding temperature, air plants are fairly tolerant. They thrive between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature difference between daytime and nighttime is roughly 10 degrees.
To maintain your air plant healthy, include orchid or specific air plant fertilizer in your watering routine once or twice a month. Simply sprinkle some in your water, then carry on as usual. Your air plant will blossom and propagate if you fertilize it (or pup — more on this later)
If so, can they grow on wood?
Air plants (Tillandsia) are incredibly simple to mount on wood and require very little maintenance. They generally anchor themselves to a tree and get their nutrients and moisture from the air, hence their name, as well as other decomposing materials like leaves. They don’t need potting soil to flourish. Unlike Octo-mom, who IS parasitic and relies on her parents for support [Gasp! ], they are not parasitic and merely rely on other plants for support. Unbelievable, what I just said!
- alloy wire (NO copper wire, it can kill your plant)
- Cutters for wire
- Pruning scissors
- blanket moss (usually found at nurseries)
- E600 Glue (Industrial & weatherproof adhesive) (Industrial & weatherproof adhesive)
Step 1: Choose Plants
There are literally hundreds of different types available, and depending on where you live, some of them may even grow in the wild. You may also check with your nearby nurseries. Grouping plants with comparable maintenance requirements will greatly simplify your life. Who in the world needs additional complexity, you could ask? The Octo-mom, oh no! I should stop talking.
Step 2: Choose Mount / Base
To attach your air plants to, you will need a base or support. If you’re like us, you can just go outside and select a gnarly-looking dead tree stump, limb, or stick. If you want to spend the money, pet stores sell cool driftwood for aquariums that also functions. If you discover something outside, be sure to clean the wood by brushing off any loose material.
Step 3: Attach Wall Mount (if you plan on hanging it)
It’s up to you whether you want the support to dangle or simply set on top of a table. If you want to hang it, wrap wire around the wood to create a loop for hanging. If necessary, you can also drill a hole in the wood before wiring it. Everything works.
Step 4: Attach Plants
Apply a dab of glue the size of a dime where you wish to attach your air plant. If you want to attach larger plants, just wing it. Give glue a minute or so to become sticky. Plant should be placed on glue, even the roots! Firmly press into position. For each plant, recite steps 1 and 2 again. (If you don’t have glue, you can wire each plant into position.) I was shocked when I first heard that I needed to stick the plant into hazardous glue, but it’s okay.
Step 5: Apply Sheet Moss
A more natural appearance will result from the sheet moss’ ability to conceal the glue. More glue should be applied where the plant is nailed to the wood. Press moss into the adhesive with your fingers or a wooden dowel. Before watering, give the glue 24 hours to set.
Step 6: Water & Finish
Plants should be watered in the shower or sink, shaken lightly to remove excess water, and then hung or set in direct sunshine.
Once a week, saturate with water, and once a month, fertilize with a multipurpose fertilizer (weak solution).
If you decide you want to make a change, you can remove the plant from the adhesive; just be careful not to damage it as Octo-mom did! Oh my goodness, I have no self-control!
How frequently do air plants need to be watered?
For the best care, your plants should be watered 2-3 times each week in addition to once every week. Every 2-3 weeks, a 2-hour bath should be taken. You will need to water or mist your plants more frequently if you live in a hotter, drier region. Your plant’s leaves will start to feel heavier and more wet after watering, and they will be softer and lighter in color when they require more water. Dehydration may be indicated by leaves that are wrinkled or rolled.
Can I use tap water to water my air plant?
I wanted to go into more detail about this because our Facebook Page gets a lot of questions about how to water air plants. Although tillandsia, often known as air plants, are simpler to maintain than many other plant species, they still need some care and attention, and water is crucial to their general well-being. Here are some frequently asked questions about watering air plants along with our suggestions:
This mostly relies on your climate, where you’re keeping the air plants, the Tillandsia species itself, and the environment in which it naturally grows (learn more about mesic vs. xeric air plants here). Since most of the year is humid where we live in Tampa, Florida, we don’t run the heat in our home as often as our friends in the north do (I’m not trying to pick on them, I swear!). We typically water our plants twice a week, but drier climates require more frequent watering. Depending on the season, you may discover that you need to water your plants less. Additionally, it depends on where you put them at your house or office. The plants will stay more wet in a humid bathroom, but you’ll probably need to water them more frequently if they’re close to an air vent or a heat source. (Note: We don’t advise keeping your plants close to heat sources.)
It should be noted that while humidity might slow down drying, it in and of itself is insufficient for watering.
Again, you should modify your watering practices according to your climate and the species of your air plants, but for the majority of air plants and surroundings, we advise that you immerse your plants in water at least once a week. Use something that allows you to totally submerge the air plants, like a bowl, bucket, or your sink. Give them a lengthier bath for an hour or more every other week if you live in a dry area. Soak for 30 to 60 minutes at least once a week. You might wish to shorten the soaks if you reside in a location with higher humidity or if your air plant is more xeric in nature.
You should allow the air plants to completely dry after soaking. They can either be let to dry with their leaves facing down or turned over and gently shaken. If water is allowed to sit in the leaves, the plants risk rotting. The plants should be placed in an area with sufficient airflow, and they should be able to dry entirely in less than four hours. Before bringing your plants back home, ensure sure they are entirely dry if they are in a globe or terrarium.
You will observe how open and wide the leaves are after soaking your plants, as well as how much more “happy” they seem. A well hydrated air plant should appear like this! You’ll learn over time that if the color starts to look a little dull and the leaves start to close or curl, your tillandsia are thirsty and you should give them another nice wash. Try soaking your air plant for several hours or even overnight if it is really struggling to see if you can rehydrate the plant. Always allow them to totally dry off before soaking or spraying them once more.
Between waterings, you can spray the plants. If you live in a dry region, this might be a terrific method to keep plants healthy and offer them some additional care. However, unless you have one of the few species of air plants that appreciate low moisture, such as T. tectorum (for which we only advocate misting) or T. xerographica, misting is not a replacement for a thorough soak (which we recommend dunking instead of soaking).
When it comes to water, air plants aren’t particularly finicky; most tap water is suitable, although it depends on the water quality in your location. The most nutrient-rich types of water to utilize are rainwater, aquarium water, or pond water. If utilizing one of these types of water, don’t add any more fertilizer. Allow the water to rest for several hours to allow the chlorine to dissolve if you’re using tap water (maybe 24 hours in some areas.)
Use water that is not distilled since it is too “pure” and will deprive the plants of the nutrients they require. Additionally, artificially softened water should not be used since Tillandsia cannot tolerate its high salt concentration.
We advise soaking your air plants in the morning so that they can dry completely over the day. Additionally, air plants utilize the nighttime hours to breathe carbon dioxide, so if they are wet in the evenings, they won’t be able to do so effectively. This method is known as CAM; to learn more about CAM, read our page on how air plants breathe. You can check on them before you go to night and place them back in their terrariums or displays. Some indirect sunlight will help them dry more rapidly.
These are the queries about watering air plants that we encounter the most frequently. Did we respond to yours? If not, just inquire! Need advice on caring for air plants? Visit our page on air plant care.
Regarding watering the plants with blooms, I have a query. How do you water them if, as I understand it, you don’t moisten the bottoms or the blooms? Do you bring all of your indoor air plants inside during the winter? Although it doesn’t get very cold very often where I reside in Largo, Florida, it does occasionally. Since we don’t have snow, I believe the wind to be the main issue with the cold. Please lend me any assistance you can.
I recently purchased an aquarium, and in order to ensure that my three air plants receive continuous moisture in the office, I planned to tie them to a branch and let them sit on top of the tank. Do I still need to sprinkle and soak them as usual if the water that has evaporated from the tank should be plenty for them to receive?
Our well water passes through a water softener, which I should have mentioned in my previous query. They would be set up here if they could just survive on smoke.
Since we live in north-eastern Washington, rain has not been an option for us. Instead, we use well water, which I won’t even drink. I use spring water to water my air plants because I purchase it and drink it. I haven’t had them long, but they seem to be doing fine. Is using spring water for irrigation problematic?
Due to hydration issues, I do not advise attaching air plants to driftwood. In retrospect, it sounds apparent, but I was new to air plants and lost five of my six because the wood kept too much water when I first gave them a soak.