How to Care for Air Plants

How to Care for Air Plants I’ve only been bitten by the “plant bug” recently in the last few years, but it’s been really fun discovering and learning about different types of plants and how to care for each variety. Some of the coolest kinds out there are air plants! These small plants don’t need soil so you can use a wide variety of planters to display these air-loving friends. 

How to Care for Air Plants Buying air-plants: There are lots of places that you can get air plants from online (we bought ours here and here) and several different varieties to choose from. I recommend getting a multi-pack that has a few different kinds and sizes of plants to vary the look of your terrarium or planter.

How to Care for Air Plants Watering: “Wait, do these plants need water? Don’t they just live off air?” Well, actually, no they don’t. These plants may not live in soil, but they do need water! When you get your air plants, you’ll want to soak them in a small container of water for 20-30 minutes. Try to use filtered, well, or rain water if you can as regular municipal water from the tap can have harmful chlorine. Gently shake the water off your plants and allow them to dry completely before placing them in their new homes. You’ll need to repeat this soaking ritual once a week in order for your plants to stay hydrated. If you don’t, they really will die. Believe me.

Make sure not to let your air plant sit in water or soil for extended periods of time. (They get their nutrients through their leaves, not through their roots.)

Light: Air plants love bright, but indirect, light. While bright, indirect light is best, they can also thrive in direct indoor light, if that’s the best available spot. Just make sure to mist them with a spray bottle every couple of days, and consider moving them if the direct light seems too much for a particular plant. You can even keep your plants outside as long as they are in filtered light. (Just be sure to water them more often than indoor plants.)

Grooming: If some of the lower leaves of your plant have dried out, you can gently pull off those withered stems. You can also snip any tips of leaves that have dried out as well. Don’t worry about hurting your plant; the leaves will grow back.

Air Plant “Pups”: Another cool thing about air plants is that they will eventually produce little sprouts, or “pups,” from their base (up to 2-8 per plant!). When a pup reaches 1/3 of the size of the adult plant, you can gently separate it by pulling it apart from the parent plant. Cool, right?

How to Care for Air Plants Displaying your plants: I love the fact that you can display these plants in some unique ways (like here and here) since you don’t have to have a container for soil. We chose these simple hanging planters for our new studio, but I’m sure they won’t be the only air planters around for very long!

How to Care for Air Plants abeautifulmess.comNow that you know all about air plants, you can see why we think they are such a fun area of the plant world to dive into. Got any tips of your own to help keep air plants happy and healthy? xo. Laura

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Laura Gummerman and Sarah Rhodes.

  • I love taking care of bromeliads and I believe this is another name for air plants.

  • These are fantastic tips! I liked them so much I featured them on my most recent round-up post! If you like, you can see the post here:

  • Once I get my own place, I will definitely get a few of these to display!

  • I keep mine in with my orchids who require high humidity. Though my air plants were collected off trees on a Florida vacation they definitely seem to survive better than the one’s I’ve bought before. So long as they do not soak, humidity is really helpful. I water when I water my orchids, which presently is once every week.

  • When you search on line for Air Plants, they are also known as Tillandsias. Note that they will usually flower first, then form offsets/pups/daughter plants. They are also related to the other New World plants, bromiliads.

  • Those planters are the cutest! I so want to try this one out when I move into my new place in a few months. Air plants look really cute, and those planters remind me of Christmas baubles!

  • Hi Laura –

    SO happy to see others loving air plants as much as we do! Another tip to keep your air plants happy and healthy is a pinch of Bromeliad Fertilizer once a month. Our customers find this infographic ( as a really useful care guide!

  • I use to hang air plants in the window, looks so pretty when the sun hits. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  • I’ve taken different sizes and different length and hot glued them to objects( sea shell, drift wood, small toy and stones) and displayed them on my porch & deck. Very nice

  • I would love to make some of these when I get my own place. They’re so nice! x

  • Thanks for sharing these tips. I love air plants! I only recently started bringing live plants into my home too, so I love these guys because the care is so straight forward. I haven’t killed any yet. OK, one. I killed one.

    For hanging, I decided to take an old branch and hang a bunch of terrariums with air plants on it. Right now it’s in my living room, but I’m hoping to move it to my bedroom soon so that it can act as a headboard.

    Here’s a picture from my instagram…

  • these are so cute! i never heard of air plants before!


  • this article came at the perfect time! a friend bought me an air plant & i had no idea what to do with it (apart from stare at it, as it is quite pretty!) so after reading your article i gave it a bath & its looking less…sad! haha
    thank you for saving my plant from it’s untimely demise! 😉
    Cheray x

  • Check out CTSAirplants on Etsy. Gorgeous displays with all the extras needed
    I just found his shop -looking for bonsai moss.


  • These are adorable and I’ve been wanting some of these in my home 🙂

    Lulu xx

  • I love plants but have never given these a try. They look so airy and beautiful! You’ve got me interested for sure….

  • I’ve been wanting to try out some air plants and I love those little globes you got to display them! So cute!!


  • Hello and good evening.

    All small are quit:-)
    I love this small air plants, nice:-)


  • Air Plants are great. There are so many different ways you can use them in designs. Mine live on my front porch year round & I soak them every couple of months. So easy!

  • Oh these are perfect for me! I’m a serial plant killer (unintentionally). The more I love house plants, the longer they suffer. So air plants might just do the trick. Those dusty pink ones are just too cute. Now I just need to find out where I can get my hands on some of these in Dublin …

    xx A

  • I just looked up the orbs on amazon, and they are currently out of stock. 🙁 But I found the same ones at cb2 if anyone is looking for them!
    Thanks for the post, ABM – I’m looking forward to ordering some of these for my home!

  • Wow these look amazing, something like this would look lovely in my flat and I really want to get some more plants! Thank you for sharing (plus lovely photos), I’m going to look into getting some 🙂 xx

  • I love air plants. I recently purchased one and placed it in my bathroom. It loves it’s new home and has bloomed twice for me already.

  • I love airplants, I’m things of getting one for my new place, so this informations comes in very handy. Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Have an amazing day!

  • Thanks for the tip about soaking them. I always thought you just misted them to keep them hydrated. Great tips!

  • these looks so amazing, i’d love one when i move out – definitely adding this to my favourites!

  • I’ve never heard of air plants before, I’ve been looking for some ideas on indoor plants. Really cool idea!

  • This blog gives us so much homey inspiration! Loved this post 🙂

    Eve & Faye x
    Sugar Spun Sisters – A blog about cosmetics, clothes & coeliac disease

  • This is my first time hearing about air plants, I’ve been looking for some ideas on indoor plants. Really cool idea!

  • I haven’t heard of air plants before, but they really look so cute. Thank you for the tips, I like the idea to have some air plants at home.

  • I love airplants! We have a few in our garden, just casually growing on trees or in flower boxes – so easy and so pretty

  • Air plants are so beautiful! nice article thanx or share it is useful click here for love couples , partner love stories and match

  • Pretty pretty pretty! I’d love to incorporate a few of these into our apartment!

  • I mist mine with a spray bottle once a week in the winter and 2x/week in the warmer months. I find that’s all they need to stay happy. It may depend on how humid your house/climate is. We are in TN where it’s fairly humid. Enjoy your fun little beauties!

  • Woah Air Plants, never heard of them before it sounds really cool, but I’m for sure I’d probably kill them, I’m also entering the world of plants, so far it’s good 😀

  • We posted about airplants on our blog recently! This was a great read!

  • Every time I go to Terrain, I almost buy some of these little guys! They’re sooooo cool!

  • such a unique idea! Such a great way to improve a room!

  • Those are darling! Green plants can brighten up an entire room! Love it!

  • Such great tips and tricks! I have never tried air plants before.

  • I really like the look of this!
    Too bad I could never have anything like this, or plant related for that matter, in my home – my cat would destroy it in under an hour 🙂


    • if you shop around, you’ll find many different hanging “planters” for air plants, there are also some that hang onto the wall too, which makes them perfect for our feline friends who just can’t resist chewing on leaves. the glass orbs are perfect, just hang them from the ceiling (but make sure you get some with a few extra smaller holes in the back for ventilation as they are “air” plants and get their nutrients from the air) and with some strategic placement, your cat can look but never touch! also, i mist my more humidity loving plants, and my cats tend to hate the spraying of water anywhere around them, so mine have learned to run from just the sight of me with my spray bottle lol. it has definitely discouraged them from chewing on all my other plants i have that are within their reach, a few squirts in their direction and they will learn quickly, and your plants will thank you too! make sure if you do get air plants, if you must them, don’t let them sit in water, they will rot, so i don’t mist them in their orbs, only the ones in metal or wire holders where they can air out. i think it’s best to just put a bucket outside and collect some rain water and put all your air plants directly into the bucket of water and submerge them for about 30 minutes, then let them dry upside down or in a position where the water won’t collect at the base of the plant. they shouldn’t take more than 4 hours to dry, mine take only an hour usually before i put them back in their homes. but misting around them will create humidity which is always good for most plants, and is undesirable to most cats, it’s a win win! note* i suggest rain water for air plants because they do have to get their nutrients from the water and air since they don’t get planted in soil, so try to avoid any water that’s been purified, nutrients are stripped away from the water in the process… it might be yummy for people, but not for plants, especially air plants! hope you get some soon! they truly are amazing and beautiful with endless decor possibilities! i have some that are attached to different crystals by thick wire. note** avoid copper wire as copper will kill the leaves of an air plant! hopefully you find this information helpful! thanks!

  • Wow, this is so cool! I’ve never actually heard about air plants before! And now I so want one 😉 I’ll be sure to check that out 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing!


  • Air plants are so beautiful! I’ve only recently learnt about them and I don’t know why I hadn’t heard sooner! They’re such a lovely addition to a home

  • I just love air plants. I finally got one for myself to replace a cactus that died, and it is doing great! For your readers in Southern California, air plants aren’t hard to find but a shop in San Diego called Pigment has a great collection, and hanging orbs too 🙂

  • I love those hanging planters, I’ve never seen anything like them, very unique; they remind me of baubles. And I never even knew about these air plants, although I’m so rubbish with plants I would probably still kill them 🙁

  • I have sadly killed a few air plants but they look so fresh and dainty in m y home! Great tips – thanks guys!

  • Never heard of air plants before. I love how economical they are and there are hundreds of ways you can display them. Thanks for sharing this!

  • I LOVE air plants. They are definitely some of my favourite indoor plants! I love the beautiful photos of them in this post!

  • Air plants, what? Intriguing. I obviously have no tips, but I’m into the idea of air plants!

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