How to Water Your Air Plant

Splish, splash it’s time for our Tillandsia’s to take a bath. Fun times in the studio! Incredibly easy, we’re always surprised to hear, “I had one of these air plants once but it died .”  Our immediate inquiry:  ” how were you watering it? ”

We love to see these babies thrive so, we’re going to tell you:

How to Water Your Air Plant

First so you know, it is easy. And, it’s one of the most important aspects of succeeding with Tillandsias.  Because their nickname,  Air Plants, people think they need no water. Well, they’re not living on air. In fact, this is the biggest mistake that’s made. Air plants need agua, although they can survive for long periods of drought, they aren’t growing or happily thriving in these conditions. Would you?

When they’re parched the Tillandsia’s are dormant trying to survive. They will die if water is scarce for too long. Admittedly, they amazingly “hang in there” for a really long time with eency amounts of water.

Now having said that, your plant will also rot to death if left wet for too long. So, this means your plant loves water but needs to completely dry out before drinking again.  Air Plants should be given enough light and air circulation to dry in no longer than 4 hours upon watering. It’s best to water your plants in the morning so they dry by night. We lay them on paper towels to dry because it soaks up the moisture.

Humidity isn’t a source of water for your baby. Tillandsias can only absorb water if it literally sits on their leaves – in nature through dew, fog or rain. Humidity actually delays the drying process. Tillandsias are covered in suction scales (trichomes) that capture moisture, these scales automatically close when your plant has enough.  Cool, huh?

Get to know your plant. Handle the leaves.  After watering the leaves will feel stiff and full of water. Conversely, when water is wanted they’ll be softer to touch and the plant will be lighter in color.  Dehydration can be noticed by flaccid, wrinkled or rolled leaves.

Water Quality

Water quality is not important to Tillandsias.  In fact, distilled water is too pure as it will actually pull nutrients out of the plant tissue. Refrain from using distilled water.


Watering Schedule

Your plant needs to be watered at least 2 to 3 times per week. Misting is generally not sufficien. Air plants need to be watered (underneath as well as on top) to the point of runoff.   Just imagine, it is just like they’ve just gone through a rain storm. Two rainstorms per week is perfect. The easiest way to achieve this is to actually immerse the whole plant in the sink or  bucket if possible, if not, use a hose or the kitchen faucet to totally wet your plant. Your plant will also appreciate a good soaking for several hours every one to two weeks (although never submerge the blooming flower for more than a few seconds, or the petals will dissolve, of course if you’re going away for several weeks it is more important to give your plant sufficient water, than to the preserving of  the bloom). In extremely dry conditions, or in the house or office with air conditioning or heating going, your plant may require more water, if your plant looks dry (check in the leaf sheaths, and the base of the plant) you could water daily if required, as long as the plant dries out before being watered again, you will not cause harm to the plant (there are exceptions to this rule, if you’ve purchased a different care plant you should have been informed). Shake out any excess water from your plant container, don’t forget your plant wants to dry out by nightfall, not to be left sat in water. Shake off any excess water from fleshy plants. Give thin leaf varieties an extra spray on their tips as they dry out faster.

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