Why Is My Air Plant Turning Red

When exposed to intense light, certain types of air plants, like Tillandsia brachycaulos and Tillandsia bradeana, are known to become a shade of red. Plant collectors who look for them specifically to add this lovely tone to their collection find this attribute attractive.

If the tops of your air plant’s leaves start to become brown rather than red, this indicates that it is being dried out by too much direct sunshine.

Make sure to mist your air plant at least twice a week if you intend to keep it indoors where it will receive plenty of light in a dry environment.

If you’re unsure of the conditions your indoor plant requires to thrive, using indirect light is always a safer option.

The answer is yes if you follow a few guidelines to ensure that your plant can continue photosynthesizing and growing as it would in natural sunlight. If you’re wondering if you can use artificial light to help your air plant turn red, here’s what you need to know.

  • Use full spectrum lighting because conventional lightbulbs don’t contain the wavelengths necessary for your plants to fully photosynthesize and develop.
  • Keep your plant three feet or less from any artificial lighting: Your air plant won’t be able to absorb enough light to stay healthy if you place it too far from a weak light source, even one that is completely spectrum.
  • Consider using supplemental lighting for at least 12 hours a day in areas with no natural light at all: Since most grow lights include an automated timer, you are virtually simulating natural sunshine here.

How can I re-green my 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 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.

How can I tell if my air plant needs more water?

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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Your Air Plants Got Problems?

I’ve got you covered if you’re wondering how to maintain your air plant alive. Air plants that are dying can be distressing. When we’re unsure of the cause, this frustration is even worse. We have taken the first step toward solving the issue and are now ready to avert further issues.

Air Plant Rot

Let’s start with rot, which is an air plant’s main weakness. Rot can result from allowing water to build up in the plant’s cup, deep into its core. If this is the case, you will see a purple or black tint at the plant’s base, which denotes the presence of rot. The unfortunate fact is that decay kills.

The good news is that rot is completely avoidable. This is how: After soaking in water, place the plant on its side or upside-down to dry for approximately 4 hours. This will prevent extra water from accumulating inside the air plant and allow it to drip away. Before putting the plant back on display, wait until it is entirely dry.

Tip: Overwatering Air Plants: After watering your air plant, worry more about allowing the water drain away from the plant rather than worrying about overwatering it. Return the plant to its display once it has dry, which should take about 4 hours.

Keep in mind that the roots of air plants do not absorb water. Never put an air plant on exhibit where water will collect. Whether the air plant is to be displayed on rocks, pottery, sand, or in a terrarium, the platform must be entirely dry.

Allow the air plant to dry on its side or upside-down after watering. Thus, rot will be avoided.

Dehydrated Air Plant

Dehydration is the opposite situation. The most common myth about air plants is that they can obtain all the water they require from the surrounding atmosphere. They are frequently sold as being absolutely carefree. Despite the fact that air plants are incredibly simple to maintain, they do need three things: air, light, and water. Once a week, submerge your air plant in a basin of water for a few hours to hydrate it. Ensure that all of the leaves are submerged in the water entirely. After that, as was already mentioned, let the plant dry before putting it back on display.


Perhaps the poisons copper, boron, iron, zinc, or rust are causing your air plant to respond. Check your air plant display first. Is your air plant in contact with rust, pressure-treated wood, or copper wire? Do you use fertilizer, secondly? Fertilizers frequently contain the following elements: copper, boron, iron, and zinc. Use a fertilizer designed especially for bromeliads, tillandsias, or air plants to avoid these poisons.

Fertilizer Burn

Fertilizer burn is another thing to think about. Use a fertilizer specifically designed for air plants, as suggested above, to avoid using metals that are beneficial to most other plants but hazardous to air plants.

Although fertilizer can encourage faster growth and more vivid flowers in tillandsias, it should only be applied once a month, after watering.

How to spot fertilizer burn on air plants: If you know they are hydrated yet they appear dry and crispy with browning leaves, they may have fertilizer burn.

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).