Air Plants- Tillandsia

A hand holding Tillandsia bulbosa in flower. The plant is blushing bright red at the top and purple flowers are emerging

Air plants are an interesting, whimsical addition to any home or terrarium. They require no soil to grow and thrive. Though, the lack of soil does not mean they require a lack of water. Below is everything you need to know about air plant care. Please keep in mind this is general air plant care. Specific care will vary from species to species.


Air plants are epiphytes, which means they grow on the surface of other plants. Typically, these plants are trees, which means air plants are used to shade. Keeping them in a terrarium or in a location with bright, indirect light is best. They can live easily in north facing windows, or even bathrooms with windows. They will get sunburn if they’re put in direct sunlight. 


    Misting every three days will help keep the plants hydrated between waterings. To water an air plant, fill a container with water and soak the plants for 15 to 20 minutes once a month or bimonthly. Keeping the base just above the water will help prevent rot. Shake as much water out of the plants as possible and allow them to dry upside down for at least four hours. This will help prevent rotting which is possibly the biggest cause of death for air plants. If being grown in a closed terrarium, your air plant might not need watering depending on the level of humidity. It will not need misting if being grown in a terrarium setting.

Terrarium Setting

    Terrarium settings are the closest we can get to Tillandsia’s natural habitat. Closed terrariums will have enough humidity to forgo misting. Keep a lookout for signs of thirst on the plant. The leaves will curl in on themselves when the plant needs soaked. Good airflow will help prevent rotting. 


    Mounting is not necessary for air plants to thrive, however if mounting is desired, it is suggested to use fishing line to hold the plant against an organic board such as cork bark, another live plant, etc. Leave the fishing line loose to allow removal for watering if need be and to allow for growth of the plant. If the plant begins to outgrow the fishing line (i.e. the line becomes snug), cut the line and retie a new one, keeping it loose. If the line becomes too tight, the plant’s health can suffer. There is a potential for the plants to attach themselves to the organic mount. If this happens and is undesired, carefully use a razor blade or exacto knife to remove the roots from the mount.


    Feel free to email me photos of your plant if you believe there is something wrong at With the photo, please tell me the care you have been giving the plant Have a generic question about care? Please, post it in the comments!

Happy growing!!

<3 Gina

A huge air plant