Air Plant

7 Tips on How to Care for Your Air Plant (Tillandsia species Infographic)

Air Plants (Tillandsia species) are a lot of fun to grow as houseplants. They are unique because they are not grown in pots. This gives you a lot of flexibility to be creative on how you display your Air Plant at home. You can hang your Air Plant on the wall, let it suspend mid-air in the bathroom, or keep it in a dish on your coffee table. There is one variety of Air Plant that is grown in pots- the Pink Quill (Tillandsia cyanea). Here are tips on how to care for your Air Plant at home.

Air Plant Houseplant Infographic

Air Plant Infographic
Air Plant Hosueplant Infographic

7 Tips on How to Take Care of Your Air Plant

1. Your Air Plant is Happiest in Bright, Filtered Light  

Air Plant will be happy in bright, filtered light. It will do well at an East or West facing window but make sure it’s not getting direct sunlight. You can filter the sun with sheer curtains and sheer blinds. 

2. Moderate Water is Best for Your Air Plant

There are 2 ways to water your Air Plant. You can spray your Air Plant with distilled water twice a week (spray the entire plant) or you can submerge your Air Plant in water once every 2 weeks for 2 hours. If you have Xeric Tillandsia variety, the preferred method is the spray it with water twice a week, since it is native to more arid conditions. While if you have Mesic Tillandsia variety, you can opt for the submerging method.

Just make sure you let your Air Plant dry out completely within 4 hours. The best way to air dry your Air Plant is to leave it upside down so water does not accumulate at the roots which can cause root rot. 

3. Get the Soil Right for Your Air Plant

Pink Quill (Tillandsia cyanea) needs an organic potting mix. Use potting mix for orchids.

4. Fertilize Your Air Plant

Your Air Plant should be fertilized at half strength once a month during the growing season. You can spray the leaves with diluted fertilizer, just make sure the entire plant dries out completely. Don’t overspray.

5. Get the Temperature Right for Your Air Plant

Your Air Plant needs to have a daytime temperature of 70F to 80 Fahrenheit (21-26C). The nighttime temperature should be at 60-70 Fahrenheit (15-21 C).

6. Your Air Plant Can Tolerate Dry Indoor Air

Your Air Plant is a houseplant that can tolerate dry indoor air. It does not need additional misting on top of its regular watering. If you have the Xeric Tillandsia variety, it comes from more arid conditions so it does not require a lot of moisture. The Mesic Tillandsia variety, it is native to moderately humid environments so will prefer a little more humidity. But either way, they don’t require additional misting in between watering. 

7. Water Your Air Plant with Distilled Water

Your Air Plant can’t be watered with tap water. Your Air Plant is too sensitive to the chemicals in tap water. Use distilled water or filtered rainwater to water your Air Plant.

3 Common Air Plant Houseplant Problems

The common problems for Air Plant are root rot, brown leaf tips, and mealy bugs.

Why are there Fluffy White Growth In Between the Leaves of Your Air Plant?

Problem: There are fluffy white growths in between the leaves of your Air Plant. Cause: Mealybugs are causing the fluffy white growth on your Air Plant. It is a common houseplant disease. 

Mealybugs
Mealybugs (example photo is not an Air Plant)

Solution: To get rid of mealybugs on your Air Plant, wash your plant with water. You can also use soapy water. Spraying rubbing alcohol on affected areas can also get rid of mealybugs. Horticultural oil and insecticidal soap are also effective in getting rid of mealybugs. Just make sure to air dry your Air Plant completely to avoid root rot.

Check out our article on how to make your own homemade pesticides using baby shampoo: How to Make Horticultural Oil and How to Make Insecticidal Soap

Why Does Your Air Plant look Wilted?

Problem: Your Air Plant looks wilted. Check for root rot by examining the roots (if any). If the roots of your Air Plant plant look mushy (healthy roots are firm) and the roots are gray to black in color, these are telltale signs of root rot. 

Cause: Root rot is caused by fungus and is a serious problem for your Air Plant. Root rot is a result of not letting your Air Plant air dry immediately. 

Solution: When your Air Plant is afflicted with root rot the chance of survival is slim. Your best course of action is to throw your Air Plant out and start over with a new plant. This time make sure to let your Air Plant air dry. Air dry your Air Plant upside down so water does not accumulate on the roots. 

Why are the Tip of Leaves of Your Air Plant Turning Brown?

Problem: The tips of the leaves of your Air Plant plant are turning brown. 

Cause: When the tips of the leaves of your Air Plant turn brown that is a result of not enough water or humidity. The tips of the leaves are turning brown because they are dying. 

Solution: Water your Air Plant and increase humidity by watering your Air Plant. Just make sure to let your Air Plant completely air dry so it does not suffer from root rot.

Air Plant Houseplant Facts

NameAir Plant
Scientific NameTillandsia species
LightBright, Filtered Light 
Daytime Temperature70 to 80 F (21-26C)
Night Time Temperature60 to 70 F (15-21C)
WaterModerate Water
HumidityLow Humidity
PottingFor Pink Quill, you will need an organic, potting mix for orchid
FertilizerSpray once a month at half strength during the growing season
Air Plant Houseplant Facts

Air Plant: Frequently Asked Questions

What are Common Names of Air Plant?

Air Plant (Tillandsia species) is also called Sky Plant.

Air Plant: Varieties 

Popular Air Plant varieties are Tillandsia cyanea, Mesic Tillandsia and Xeric Tillandsia. Tillandia cyanea variety can be found in pots. 

How Can You Tell When It’s Time to Water Your Air Plant?

You can either spray your Air Plant or submerge your Air Plant in water. If you spray your Air Plant, spray the entire plant with distilled water twice a week. You can also submerge your Air Plant in water once every 2 weeks for 2 hours.

If you have Xeric Tillandsia, the preferred method is the spray it with water twice a week, since it is native to more arid conditions. While if you have Mesic Tillandsia, you can do the submerging method. Make sure you let your Air Plant completely dry out within 4 hours. The best way to dry is to leave it upside down so water does not get accumulated at the roots which can cause root rot. 

Can You Use Cold Water When Watering Your Air Plant?

Your Air Plant can’t be watered with tap water. Your Air Plant is too sensitive to the chemicals in the water. Use distilled water or filtered rainwater for your Air Plant. Keep the water temperature comfortable so it’s not too cold and not too hot.

What Fertilizer Should You Use for Your Air Plant?

Use a balanced liquid fertilizer on your Air Plant. Dilute the fertilizer to half strength.

How Do You Propagate Your Air Plant?

Your Air Plant is easy to propagate. You can propagate your  Air Plant by dividing the pups.

Below are steps on how to propagate Air Plant by dividing its pups.

1. Separate the Air Plant pups after the mother plant has died

2. Attach the Air Plant pups

Position the Air Plant pups to where you want to attach them to. Gently secure the pups with wire. If there are any roots, you can wrap the roots with a little moist sphagnum moss.

You May Also Be Interested In:

Popular Houseplants that are Toxic to Pets and Humans (Pictures)

Best Houseplants for Low Light Conditions (Infographic)

Best Houseplants for Bathrooms ( Pictures)

Best Houseplants for Beginners (Easy to Grow, Impossible to Kill Houseplants)

11 Best Air Purifying Houseplants

About Suburbs 101

Suburbs 101 is an insider’s guide to suburban living. Get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to live in the suburbs through our interviews with local suburbanites and features on Food, Fashion, Home, Garden, Travel, Pets, Real Estate and Local Events. Be sure to Follow Us on Instagram, Like Us on Facebook, Subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter.

Suburbs 101 participates in affiliate programs including Amazon Associates Program and may earn from qualifying purchases.