How To Water My Air Plant

It is preferable to soak your air plants in a bowl of water for 20 to an hour once per week to 10 days. Totally submerge the plant. Even though they are constantly wet in nature, if your plant is in bloom, you might want to keep the bud above the water to avoid disturbing it.

How frequently do I need to water my air plant?

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.

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)

Do air plants need to be misted or soaked?

Most air plants with plenty of trichomes (xeric plants) should be often misted or soaked, whereas mesic plants, which have bright green leaves and less trichomes, prefer to be drenched only once a week. In our blog post Mesic Vs Xeric Air Plants, we go into further detail regarding the differences between Xeric and Mesic plants. However, there is one exception to this rule: air plants with bulbous bases, even those with bright green, smooth leaves, should frequently not be wet for extended periods of time as well. Because of water buildup in their bulbous bases, plants are susceptible to internal rot.

Instead of being wet, Xerographica air plants should be sprayed or submerged. These plants, which are xeric in nature, are indigenous to arid areas. These plants can survive more sun and less water. A xerographica should be submerged in a basin or pail of water, then gently shaken to let the water drip off the leaves. To prevent water from getting stuck in the leaves, let the item dry upside-down.

The Tillandsia tectorum is an air plant that you shouldn’t wet because it has a lot of fuzzy leaves. The tectorum’s large trichomes on its leaves aid in absorbing moisture from the surrounding atmosphere. These plants have evolved to survive without much precipitation and are naturally found in arid areas of Ecuador and Peru. Depending on how hot and dry it is where you live, we advise spraying these guys every other week or so. They also favor open air and strong light.

The distinctive feature of bulbous air plants is that they have what are known as “pseudobulbs.” In the natural, ant colonies construct their nests inside of these hollow onion-shaped bulbs, which are essentially hollow themselves. When watering these plants, especially when soaking them, exercise caution. These so-called pseudobulbs are susceptible to water intrusion, which can cause the plant to rot from the inside out. You can either submerge them in water and shake off the extra afterward, or you can hold them under running water while avoiding their bases. The T. caput medusae, T. bulbosa, T. pruinosa, T. pseudobaileyi, T. butzii, and T. seleriana plants are included in this group.

Another reason not to soak T. pruinosa and T. seleriana is that they both have a lot of trichomes. They could decay from soaking because of too much water.

You shouldn’t immerse air plants with delicate leaves like T. fuchsii v gracilis and T. andreana. These plants benefit more from light misting or rapid dunks. You may need to spritz these plants as frequently as every couple of days to make sure they are receiving enough water because of their thin, wispy leaves, which can cause them to dry out more quickly between waterings.

The Tillandsia magnusiana should be misted or dipped rather than soaked because it has a lot of trichomes. These plants’ form and trichome content can make them more prone to decay.

When watering air plants that are in bloom, exercise caution to avoid getting the blossom itself wet. While it would be acceptable to soak the plant’s bottom leaves, we frequently advise pouring water over them or immersing them to avoid wetting the blossom. A bloom that has been moist for a long time may develop rot, which may eventually spread to the leaves and kill the plant.

Can water be sprayed on air plants?

One of the more unusual types of flora on our planet is tillandsia, sometimes known as air plants. Because they obtain their water from the air and occasionally occurring rainstorms, air plants are frequently believed to be waterless. This is probably certainly true in their home regions, but the air is too dry there to experience abrupt storms. Although they require regular moisture, tillandsia shouldn’t be overwatered. With mounted air plants, this can be a concern, but we’ll go over a few ways to keep your plant hydrated.

Bromeliads and epiphytic plants are air plants. Despite not being parasitic, they often grow on logs, in crevices, and even off living plants. Although some do live in more drier climates, tropical forests are where they are most frequently seen. Like other plants, air plants require regular access to food, light, and water. Because they are in a soilless environment, frequently mounted on something or housed inside a terrarium or glass bowl, they are more difficult to care for than regular houseplants. The problem of how to maintain them healthy arises from the lack of media to hold moisture and nutrients.

The most popular way of watering is air plant misting, however it doesn’t truly hydrate plant roots very well, and if the plant isn’t in good ventilation where leaves dry quickly, it can lead to fungal problems on the leaves. The greatest way to enhance humidity in extremely dry homes and environments is to spray air plants.

Do my air plants need to be misted?

The final technique in our series on watering air plants is misting, which you can employ in between regular soaking or immersing. Read more in our earlier blog posts to learn more about the dunk method and soaking.

If you notice that your plant’s leaves are starting to seem a bit dry or if you live in a dry region with low air humidity, misting is an excellent approach to give it a little additional hydration. Misting is probably not enough water for your plant to grow, therefore you shouldn’t utilize this method as its only supply of water.

The T. tectorum, which has a lot of trichomes, is an exception to this rule and prefers misting to soaking or submerging. In a temperate area, you might only need to mist once a month with one of these guys, or once a week in a hotter environment.

In contrast to other plants with bigger leaves, plants with wispy leaves such the T. ionantha, T. andreana, or T. fuchsii v gracilis may require misting more regularly in addition to weekly watering.

  • It’s easy to spritz plants; just use a spray bottle or hose attachment set to the “mist” setting. Make sure the entire plant gets soaked before misting. As previously mentioned, if this is their sole source of water, this is not the greatest approach for watering. If you mist your plants, remember to additionally soak or dip them once a week at the very least.

A useful generalization to remember is that a healthy air plant will have leaves that are wide open, whereas a dehydrated air plant would have leaves that curl inward. Bring on the mist if you see that your plant is starting to appear a touch dry between your regular waterings!

Do you soak air plants with their tops up?

It is best to provide air plants with water that is rich in minerals and nutrients because they obtain many of their nutrients directly from the water. The best water is rainwater, although spring water is a close second if you don’t have a convenient way to collect rainwater. Alternatively, you might utilize well, lake, or creek water. Never use filtered or distilled water. Less minerals and nutrients are present in distilled and filtered water. Many municipal water systems include fewer minerals and nutrients and more contaminants. If you are concerned about your pH level, air plants enjoy slightly acidic water. The ideal range for alkalinity is between 5.5 and 6.0. Most frequently, tap water from the city is higher than this range, making it unsuitable for air plants. Do not worry yourself too much about PH levels. Any good, pure water would do.

After watering your air plants, thoroughly drying them off is the second most crucial step. To ensure that your air plants completely dry, put them down on a dish towel on their side or upside down. For the larger species like Xerographica, Streptophylla, and Sparkler, this is especially crucial. Within two hours of their bath, they should be completely dry to the touch. Wait until your air plants are completely dry before putting them back in terrariums and vases. If you water your plants and then put them in an enclosure right away, your plant can get rot. Your air plants will be content and healthy if you follow these straightforward watering guidelines.

How can I tell whether my air plant is content?

Under-watering is the main reason why air plants die in new owners’ care. The overwatering that follows is a close second. According to a longstanding myth, these plants draw all the water they need from the atmosphere and don’t even need to be watered at all. While living in a climate similar to the Tillandsia’s natural environment and having them outside, this may be true, for the rest of us, watering is necessary. No need to worry; your plants will thrive if you follow these easy watering instructions. Pick one of the techniques listed below to water your plants like a pro.

The easiest approach to keep your air plant happy, particularly indoors, is to submerge it. People are frequently shocked to learn that you can completely submerge an aerial plant, but they adore it nonetheless! The only effective method for completely rehydrating your air plant is this. When water enters the plant’s root through the entire leaf surface, a stunning metamorphosis occurs. Curly leaves will frequently straighten, and although your Tillandsia won’t have meaty leaves like succulents, there will be a distinct fullness after soaking.

THE AMOUNT A dry tillandsia can benefit greatly from even a brief 30-minute bath, although they are capable of holding their breath for up to 12–24 hours. Our general rule is to soak for 6–12 hours once every week. Ours normally soaks for 12 hours or so. Even without losing too many of them, we’ve occasionally forgotten about them. Some xeric species, such as Tectorum and Xerographica, should be handled with caution. Since they are more delicate, they favor spraying.

Another method of watering your air plant is to spray it until it is completely saturated. It’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t a light sprinkling. For optimal watering, your plant needs to be totally submerged. While spraying your air plant is a good technique to hydrate it, you’ll need to do it much more frequently than soaking, which results in a more thorough rehydration.

THE AMOUNT 2-3 times each week, spray until completely saturated. This will be greater if you reside in Arizona and less if you reside in Hawaii. Whether your plant is indoors or outdoors, as well as the type of light it receives, are the two most crucial aspects to consider when deciding when and how much water to apply. More water will be appreciated if there is a lot of sun. Regular watering is essential indoors, where there is heat, air conditioning, and generally dry circumstances.

Watch the leaves of your plants to see if they are showing signs of thirst. A healthy white fuzz really indicates that your plant is healthy and not necessarily drying out because curly leaves are drier. Other indicators that you are under-watering include brown leaf tips and a generally withered appearance. Watch how your plant appears after a thorough soak. What is that like right now? Because every plant is unique, pay attention to what yours is now telling you.

Choosing your water

I’ll admit that for a long time, my air plants consumed more expensive water than I did. While my collection grew, I would tirelessly transport containers of purified water for them to enjoy. Tillandsia are accustomed to rainwater that has a pH balance and the ideal ratio of nutrients. The perfect balance is provided by well-filtered water, and I would even conduct my own PH testing to make sure the water was properly balanced between acidic and alkaline.

Tap water frequently contains high levels of chlorine and elements like calcium that can clog the delicate leaves of air plants. Interestingly, distilled water kills air plants by removing all of their nutrients through osmosis. Reverse osmosis systems are frequently used by nursery producers to guarantee that their plants receive the best water and produce the greatest outcomes.

But after many years and painful arms, I decided that my plants needed to become more resilient because I can no longer stand it. I turned on the hose and haven’t turned around since. However, I always make sure to take all of my tillandsia outside when it rains so they can take a lovely, refreshing shower. For similar advantages, you can utilize spring water or pond water.

Tip: Tap water’s chlorine levels drop after about 15 minutes. Before adding your air plants, try filling your soaking bin with water and waiting for this to happen.