Watering Your Air Plants

Requiring just air, light and water, magical air plants (also sometimes called tillandsia) are a genus of flowering, evergreen plants from the bromeliad family. They are native to the forests and deserts of Central and South America, and those we supply are grown in Guatemala. These low maintenance houseplants absorb everything they need through their specially adapted leaves, and therefore need no roots to survive.

 Caput medusae and Iononatha ionantha air plants

Caput medusae and Iononatha ionantha air plants

Since they are native to a tropical climate, your air plants will be happiest displayed somewhere fairly warm, with plenty of bright, indirect light. Too much direct light can cause leaves to scorch and shrivel up, so it is best to display air plants in a spot away from strong sunlight.

 Showering a Tillandsia oaxacana

Showering a Tillandsia oaxacana

To water your air plant, soak the whole plant in room temperature water for a couple of hours. Alternatively, generously mist the entire plant using a spray bottle. If it is soft, you can use tap water, but otherwise filtered water or rainwater is ideal. We recommend watering these plants at least once a week if soaking, and more often in summer months when they may dry out more quickly. If misting, you may need to water your plant a couple of times a week. If you see your air plant’s leaves start to curl up, it is likely to be dehydrated and you may need to increase frequency of watering.

 The mystical Caput medusae

The mystical Caput medusae

We have found the most common ailment of air plants kept indoors is a build up of moisture between the base of their leaves, eventually causing bacteria to grow. To prevent this, gently shake off any excess moisture after each watering.

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You can find more detailed information on caring for air plants, as well as inspiration for styling them in your home, in our debut book House of Plants.

Words by Ro Co, photography by Erika Raxworthy