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How to Care for your Air Plants

It’s no secret we love plants. In fact, they’ve basically taken over our house.

But trust us when we say we’ve killed our fair share of green babies (Kristin here - I kill plants like it’s my J.O.B.). You get a plant and think it will be easy – water and sun, then you’re done!

But it seems to be more complicated than that with the number of plant funerals we’ve had at our houses.

For some instances we’ve turned to fake plants – when did they start making these things look so real?! But we both still love how a home feels with live plants.

Plus, there are so many benefits to having live plants in your home or place of work! They help clean the air, they can help prevent illness and they look absolutely gorgeous. What’s not to love?

Our latest solution to the whole wanting-live-plants-but-killing-them issue has been air plants. These babies are a piece of cake to take care of, but we wanted to take some time to tell you about our tried and true tricks to keeping them green.

First, what the heck are air plants? Basically, they’re plants that get most of their nutrients from the air as opposed to getting nutrients through their roots. There are over 650 different species of air plants and they almost look like succulents – super cute. 

Getting started:

So, you’ve done your research and now you have your first set of air plants and you’re ready to get them set up in their happy little planter homes – but hold tight. They need a little TLC first.

Your new plant babies first need a bath. We’ve included a video to show you how to do it below, but it’s super simple. Fill your sink or tub or whatever you’re using with water, and make sure your air plants have enough water to get a good soak on the leaves. 

We typically do this for about 20 to 30 minutes. You definitely don’t want to leave them in for too long because air plants don’t need that much water. Then, pull all the plants out and let them air dry FACE DOWN overnight on a towel. We’d recommend letting them air dry in a spot with a lot of airflow to speed up the process. However, drying them with their faces down is the key to the longevity of your air plant. If you dried them facing up and let the water sit in the base of the plant it can cause rot and the leaves will begin to peel off from the inside of the plant out. 

Then you can set them up in whatever spot you’ve created for your new plant babes. We love that these plants can be placed inside basket walls, on the tops of vintage candlesticks and anywhere you need a little life! They make really interesting centerpieces and since they don't need to sit in water or soil, you can literally place them anywhere. If you want it to stay in a certain spot, be sure pay attention to the light sitch. Read on for insights into light requirements...

One of the reasons we love air plants so much is because their ongoing care is super easy. We lay it all out for you below.


Like orchids, air plants work best with indirect light or fluorescent lights. They’re the plants we turn to in areas of our home without a lot of natural light.

If you decide to put your air plants where they do receive a lot of bright, direct light, misting them more often will help them from drying out. But they should really be kept in areas without direct light.


You should repeat the bath soak we outlined above once every two or three weeks for your air plants. For these ongoing baths, we soak our air plants for about 20-30 minute and then let them air dry with the FACE of the plant DOWN.

About 2-3 times a week we mist our air plants with water and have found that works well. However, the air plants can survive for longer periods of drought – thank goodness! Sometimes life gets busy and we forget how many times we’ve watered them in a week.

The good thing is you can easily tell how your air plant is feeling most of the time. After you water them, you should notice your air plants’ leaves feeling stiff with the water they’re holding. If they’re in need of some good ol’ H20, the leaves will be softer and a little lighter in color.

If your air plant’s leaves are getting stiff, they definitely get those babies in a tub of water. That means they’re super dehydrated.

Another note: if your air plants are flowering, do not submerge them in water. Instead, give them a quick rinsing under running water or just mist the leaves of the plant (avoiding the flower). 

Flowering Tillandsia 

General care tips:

Another reason we love our air plants: They are SO forgiving. Forget a few waterings because you were
on vacation? No biggie, just do a soak when you get a chance.

Accidentally take off some green while trimming your air plant’s dying tips? It grows back quickly.

Want your AC cranked at 65 degrees overnight but then adjusted to 80 throughout the day? Your energy bill might hurt, but not your air plants.

These plants grow well on any type of vessel, in nearly any type of environment. We can’t get enough of them (seriously - we’ve got a tab open as we finish this blog post up where we’re purchasing more).

And hey, don’t forget if you’re purchasing some air plants (or regular plants with roots, for those of you showing off), we’ve got a lot of super cute, unique planters available for you on our site. Many of these are fair trade from artisans around the world, and we love sharing them with you (and our own plant babies). We also have a ton of repurposed air plant holders in our Vintage Collection!


Until next time, y'all!

-Kristin and Rachael

1 Response



October 12, 2019

Nice article. I also love air plants.

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