Growing and Caring for your Air Plants

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Tillandsias, or air plants, are easy to grow.   Why?  These bromeliads are epiphytes and get all of the water and nutrients they need from the air through their leaves. They use their roots only for attaching themselves to rocks, trees, shrubs and the ground.   Native to the southern United States, Mexico, Central & South America, air plants are warm-weather lovers that can thrive on neglect.  Here are our suggestions for keeping your Air Plants happy and thriving.


- Tillandsias need bright, indirect light.

- Constant air circulation is paramount to keeping your plant happy.

-Water your tillandsia by misting it two to three timers per week, andby submerging it in room temperature water for 15-20 minutes every week.  Watering is one of the most important keys to succeeding with Tillandsias, and one of the most misunderstood.  People tend to think that because the common name is Air Plant these plants need little or no water (as living on air).  This is the biggest mistake you can make.  They need water, although they can survive for long periods of drought, they are not growing or thriving in these conditions, they are going dormant. 

- Fertilize monthly in spring and summer, using a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer mixed at one-quarter strength.  

-In summer, most air plants need protection from full sun.  

- Don't let an air plant sit somewhere  colder than 45 degrees, it will die at those temperatures.  If you live in Zone 9 or warmer, you can grow an air plant outdoors all year if you keep it dry during the winter (In the Pacific Northwest, you can give your air plant a treat and put it outside in the summer, but be sure to bring back inside when night time temperatures are below 50 degrees).


Air plants make a great architectural element in your home and also work well in a terrarium.  At Ravenna Gardens, we have a great assortment of glass (hanging and not) and also decorative rocks, perfect for making your own air plant garden.

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