How to Care for Air Plants

Tillandsia, or air plants, are fantastic as a house plant. They require relatively easy care and can handle a little neglect. In the wild, Tillandsia grow in the crooks of tree branches, but they are just as at home indoors. Tillandsias are epiphytes, which means that they grow on another plant, and are not parasitic to the host plant. They absorb water and nutrients into their leaves and roots from the surrounding air.

Light Needs

Tillandsias prefer bright, indirect light. Never place them in full sun. If you need to supplement low natural light, any full spectrum light bulb will work. Place the light no more than three feet from the plant for no more than 12 hours a day.

Watering and Misting

The most effective way to water your air plants is to soak them in the sink or a tub of water for about an hour, once a week. Filtered water is best but tap water that’s been left out so the chlorine can dissipate will also work. If you happen to have an aquarium or a pond, you can use that water and take care of watering and fertilizing at the same time!

Air plants take in water from their entire surface, not just their roots. The hotter and drier the environment, the more often they need to be watered. In practice, most of our homes in winter are warm and dry, so tillandsia should be watered more often.

Try to supplement your once-a-week soak with a couple mistings.

Lastly, Tillandsia can die in standing water or if water collects between the leaves. So be sure to give them a good shake and let them dry upside down before returning them to their home.

So Many Locations

Air plants can fit into almost any interior. Because they should never be planted in soil, they make a great choice for wooden or antique furniture that you want to protect from dirt and water.

Bathrooms with large windows make a great home for air plants—frequent showers keep the humidity high and the bright filtered light is perfect for air plants. You can even hang a collection right in the shower.

Air plants are also a great choice for bookcases, coffee tables and bedside tables. They can nestle into a variety of containers or empty corners. Have a glass or ceramic bowl that’s empty? Air plants add texture, color and life. Remember, no soil means air plants can go just about anywhere.

The kitchen is another great place for air plants. Watering is convenient and there’s no mess if your container is knocked over. Using multiples of the same variety adds visual impact and is soothing to the eye.


  • Place in bright, indirect light, never in full sun
  • Soak in filtered water once a week for 1-2 hours
  • Can be misted once or twice a week
  • Place air plants almost anywhere in your home