How to Water an Air Plant: Tips and Tricks

Greetings plant enthusiasts! Air plants, or Tillandsias, are unique and low-maintenance plants that can thrive without soil, but they still need water to survive. If you’re a new air plant owner, caring for your plant can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why we’ve created this guide to teach you everything you need to know about watering air plants.

The Importance of Watering Air Plants

Before we dive into the specifics of watering air plants, it’s important to understand why water is crucial for their survival. Air plants absorb nutrients and moisture through their leaves, which means they need a regular supply of water to stay healthy. Watering your air plant can help keep its leaves plump, prevent wilting, and promote growth.

How Do Air Plants Take in Water?

Unlike traditional plants, air plants don’t have roots that can absorb water from soil. Instead, they rely on their leaves to take in moisture from the air around them. When air plants are exposed to high humidity, they absorb moisture through their trichomes, small scales that cover their leaves. This is why it’s important to mist or soak your air plant regularly.

How to Water Air Plants: Mist vs. Soak

One of the most common questions air plant owners have is whether to mist or soak their plants. The answer? It depends on your plant and its environment.


Misting is a great option if you have a small air plant or if you live in a humid environment. To mist your air plant, simply spray it with a fine mist of water every few days. Make sure you don’t oversaturate the plant, as too much water can lead to rotting or fungal growth.


Soaking is ideal if you have a larger air plant or if you live in a dry environment. To soak your air plant, simply submerge it in room-temperature water for 30 minutes to an hour every one to two weeks. After soaking, gently shake off any excess water and place the plant in a well-ventilated area to dry.

The Dos and Don’ts of Watering Air Plants


1. Use room-temperature water: Air plants are sensitive to temperature fluctuations, so it’s important to use water that’s around the same temperature as the plant’s environment.

2. Use filtered or distilled water: Tap water can contain minerals and chemicals that can harm your air plant over time. Stick to filtered or distilled water instead.

3. Dry your plant thoroughly: After misting or soaking, make sure you shake off any excess water and let the plant dry completely before placing it back in its container.

4. Check for signs of underwatering: If your air plant’s leaves are curling or shriveling, it may be underwatered. Give it a good soak or mist to revive it.


1. Use chlorinated water: Chlorine can be harmful to air plants, so avoid using tap water that hasn’t been filtered or distilled.

2. Leave your plant sitting in water: Air plants are susceptible to rotting, so make sure you remove any excess water after soaking or misting.

3. Overwater your plant: While air plants need water to survive, overwatering can be just as harmful as underwatering. Stick to a regular watering schedule and don’t be tempted to water too frequently.

The Pros and Cons of Watering Air Plants

Advantages of Watering Air Plants:

1. Low-Maintenance: Air plants are easy to care for, and their watering needs are minimal compared to other plants.

2. No Soil Required: Air plants can thrive without soil, making them a great option for those who don’t have a green thumb.

3. Unique Appearance: Air plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and their unique appearance can be a great focal point in any room.

Disadvantages of Watering Air Plants:

1. Susceptible to Rot: If air plants are not dried properly after watering, they can rot and die.

2. Limited Placement: Air plants need to be placed in an area with adequate humidity to thrive, which can limit their placement around your home.

3. Sensitive to Changes: Air plants are sensitive to temperature and humidity fluctuations, which can make them tricky to care for.

Watering Method Frequency Best for
Misting Every few days Small air plants, humid environments
Soaking Every 1-2 weeks Large air plants, dry environments

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why are my air plant’s leaves turning brown?

There are a few reasons why air plant leaves may turn brown, including overwatering, underwatering, exposure to direct sunlight, or poor air circulation.

2. How can I revive a dehydrated air plant?

If your air plant is dehydrated, soak it in water for 1-2 hours and then let it dry completely before placing it back in its container.

3. Can I use tap water to water my air plant?

We recommend using filtered or distilled water to avoid exposing your air plant to harmful chemicals and minerals found in tap water.

4. How can I tell if my air plant is getting too much water?

If your air plant’s leaves are turning yellow or the plant feels mushy to the touch, it may be getting too much water.

5. Can I use fertilizer on my air plant?

Yes, you can use a diluted fertilizer once a month to help your air plant grow, but be careful not to over-fertilize.

6. Can I mist my air plant with a spray bottle?

Yes, as long as you use a fine mist and don’t oversaturate the plant.

7. Can I put my air plant in direct sunlight?

Air plants prefer bright, indirect light, but direct sunlight can scorch their leaves.

8. Can I propagate my air plant?

Yes, air plants can be propagated by separating the offsets that grow from the parent plant.

9. How do I know when it’s time to water my air plant?

If your air plant’s leaves are becoming thin and wrinkled, it’s time to water it.

10. Can air plants be grown outdoors?

Air plants can be grown outdoors in warm, humid climates, but they should be protected from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.

11. Can I place my air plant in a terrarium?

Yes, air plants can be placed in a terrarium as long as there’s adequate ventilation and they receive regular watering.

12. Are air plants toxic to pets?

No, air plants are non-toxic to pets and humans.

13. Can air plants be grown in soil?

Air plants can be grown in soil, but they will require a different watering and care routine than when grown without soil.


Congratulations! You now know everything you need to keep your air plant healthy and thriving. Remember to stick to a regular watering schedule, use filtered or distilled water, and make sure your plant is drying properly after watering. With a little love and care, your air plant will be a beautiful addition to your home or office.

Ready to start growing your own air plants? Browse our selection of Tillandsias and start your collection today!

Closing Disclaimer

The information contained in this article is intended for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace professional advice. If you have any concerns about the health of your air plant, please consult a qualified professional.

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