Watering Air Plants the Right Way

Last Updated: 02.01.2024
Harpreet Monga
Written by
Harpreet Monga, a seasoned content writer and gardening enthusiast, has crafted over 150 articles at India Gardening. She expanded her writing journey with freelancing at the Times of India. Her passion for writing shines through her contributions to various book projects. Harpreet's commitment is to sow stories that resonate with readers, fostering a deep connection to the natural world.

Watering Air Plants can be difficult as doing it in a wrong manner can lead to rot. This article will guide you into doing it the right way!

Watering Air Plants

Air plants, also known as Tillandsia, are unique because they don’t require soil to grow. They’re epiphytes, meaning they naturally grow on other plants (like trees) in their native habitats. They obtain their nutrients from the air, rain, and debris around them, so it makes it really important when it comes to Watering Air Plants! Let’s learn how to do it the right way!

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Watering Air Plants – Step by Step Guide

1. Frequency

Air plants should be watered about once a week, but they may require more frequent watering in dry, hot climates, or less frequent watering in a cool, humid environment.

2. Immersing

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The preferred method of Watering Air Plants is by soaking. To do this, fill a bowl or sink with water and completely submerge your air plants. Tap water is usually fine, but if it’s heavily chlorinated, you may want to use rainwater or bottled water. Avoid using softened water, as the salt content can harm the plants.

3. Duration


Let the plants soak for about 20-30 minutes. This allows them to absorb enough water. If your air plant is very dry, it might benefit from soaking for a couple of hours.

4. Drying

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After soaking, gently shake the plants to remove any excess water from their bases and the spaces between their leaves. It’s crucial to let the plants dry completely before placing them back in their usual spots.

This can take a few hours. Make sure to place them upside down to let the water drain out.

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5. Placement


Once completely dry, return them to their display. If you have them in a terrarium, ensure it has holes for airflow. Air plants thrive with good air circulation and plenty of indirect light.

6. Misting

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In addition to weekly soaking, air plants can benefit from misting 2-3 times a week, especially in dry environments. Use a spray bottle to lightly mist the plants, ensuring the water reaches the entire surface area of the plant.

Why Watering Air Plants at the Right Time is Important

Watering Air Plants (Tillandsia) at the right time and in the right way is crucial for a few reasons:
  1. Hydration: Like all plants, air plants need water to survive. They absorb water through small, specialized structures called trichomes on their leaves. When watered correctly, the trichomes absorb and store water for the plant’s future use.
  2. Nutrient Absorption: While they take most of their water from the humidity in the air, soaking air plants allows them to take up not only more water but also any nutrients that might be in the water.
  3. Preventing Desiccation: In dry conditions or heated indoor environments, air plants can dry out quickly. Regular watering helps prevent desiccation (extreme dryness) and keeps the plant healthy.
  4. Preventing Rot: Conversely, Watering Air Plants too frequently, or not allowing them to dry out completely after watering, can lead to rot. This is because standing water in the crevices of the plant can promote bacterial and fungal growth, which can harm or even kill the plant.
  5. Growth and Bloom: Regularly Watering Air Plants support the plant’s growth and can stimulate blooming. Many species of Tillandsia produce stunning and exotic-looking blooms, but they need proper care to do so.
  6. Photosynthesis: Like other green plants, air plants use water in the process of photosynthesis, combining it with carbon dioxide to produce glucose, which fuels their growth.

Remember, when it comes to Watering Air Plants, the “right time” to water is generally in the morning. This allows them the entire day to dry out, mimicking their natural conditions where morning dew or rain would provide their moisture. Proper watering at the right time helps keep air plants robust, healthy, and beautiful.

You can also explore the best method of watering plants here

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