How to water air plants

These quirky plants don’t need soil, but they can’t live on air alone. Here’s what you need to know to keep them healthy.

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Air plants are adorable – more like pets than plants. No matter whether a variety is fuzzy, furry, spiky or trailing, it’s irresistible. Air plants are usually tiny, easy to grow, and they don’t need soil. As the name implies, air plants absorb nutrients and water from the air through scales on their leaves. They’re having a moment as houseplants because they’re easy to care for and don’t need much light to thrive.

How to water air plants

Tillandsia tectorum

Native to the Andes, this air plant (Tillandsia tectorum) has unusually large white scales that create a fuzzy effect on leaves.

Photo by: Paul T. Isley III / Rainforest Flora, Inc.

Paul T. Isley III / Rainforest Flora, Inc.

What Are Air Plants?

Air plants look as if they came from another planet, but they’re native to the Americas, ranging from the southern United States to Argentina. In the wild, they use their roots to hang on the bark of trees, feeding on rainwater and bird poop they absorb through their leaves. There are more than 600 species and varieties of air plants, also called Tillandsias.

They usually have strap-like leaves that grow in a rosette pattern with new growth coming from the center of the plant. The foliage may be silver or green, spiky or fuzzy, and some produce flowers in shades of red, pink or purple that last from a few days to a few months. Most air plants are tiny, ranging from 2" to 12" tall.

How to water air plants

12 Planter Ideas for Decorating With Air Plants 12 Photos

These little lovelies deserve a fabulous planter for being so wonderfully low-maintenance.

Air plants are hard to identify because of the multitude of types and because two plants of the same species can look completely different depending on climate. The same species of air plant grown in California will look completely different than one grown in Florida.

Botanical Name: Tillandsia spp.
Common Name: Air Plants
Hardiness Zones: 9 to 13

Planting Air Plants

  • Don’t plant them in dirt. Ever. They’re epiphytes, which means they grow on other plants, not in the ground.

Air Plant Care

Air plants have a rep for being easy to care for, and they are, if you play by their rules. The first rule of air plants is they cannot live on air alone. They need lots of water. But the second rule? Give them too much water and they’ll die.

Confusing, we know. But here’s the secret to watering air plants: Don’t mist them. Dunk them in water. Here’s how to take care of an air plant.

  • Once a week, submerge air plants in water and let them sit there for hours.

Blooms and Propagation of Air Plants

  • Air plants may flower, but they bloom just once in their lifetime and then die.

Pests and Diseases

  • Look out for mealybugs and scale insects on air plants. If your plant gets an infestation, treat it with a Tillandsia-safe pesticide.

Recommended Species

‘Bulbosa’ looks like a sea creature, with a bulb-shaped base and tentacle-like leaves. Varieties include ‘Guatemala’ and ‘Belize.’

‘Inoantha,’ also called a sky plant, has spiky leaves that start out silver-hued and turn a deeper shade of green as the plant matures. Native to Mexico and Costa Rica, it shoots out a striking yellow or white flower. Common varieties include ‘Guatemala,’ ‘Mexican’ and ‘Rubra.’

‘Aeranthos’ is native to Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. This spiky little plant produces a pink bud that opens into a deep purple flower. Varieties include ‘Grey Ghost,’ ‘Bronze,’ ‘Black,’ and ‘Purple,’ after the colors of their leaves.

How to water air plants

Air Plant Varieties 15 Photos

Discover the hidden beauty of exotic and easy to care for air plants.

‘Streptophylla,’ also know as Shirley Temple for its curly mane of leaves, likes drier conditions than other air plants.

‘Latifolia’ is one of the largest air plants, a spiky plant that grows up to 18 inches tall. It produces a tall, red bloom spike.

‘Xerographica, known as Xeros, are everyone’s favorite. These natives of Mexico have silver leaves that curl and spiral around themselves as they grow.

Garden Design Suggestions

  • Indoors, put air plants near a window facing east, south or west.

How to water air plants

One of the most important aspects of keeping your plants healthy and happy is to make sure that they receive adequate water. Many people think that because these little guys are called “air plants” that they don’t need water to survive. Sorry guys, they aren’t that low maintenance. They still need water to thrive and grow! There are a few different ways that you can water your plants depending on what kind of plant they are and where you live in the country.

The Dunk Method

This is a great method to use for plants that need less water, such as the xerographica air plant that is used to living in a drier desert like conditions. This can also be used for other “xeric” varieties such as the duratii and other plants that prefer less water and more sun. What you are basically doing with this watering method is filling up a bowl, sink, or container with water and dunk the plant multiple times to ensure its fully saturated by the water. As always, you will want to gently shake excess water out from the plant and put it in an area with good air circulation so it can dry out within a few hours.

Soaking is the best way to ensure that your plants are getting enough water. Some plants such as the xerographica prefer the dunking method to the soaking method because they don’t need as much water as other air plants. With the soaking method we recommend letting the plants soak in a container of water for at least 15-20 minutes. You can even mix in a longer soak once a week or every other week which can last an hour or two. This will help plants that may have become slightly dehydrated to perk back up and gain some hydration back. T he soaking method is recommended for for green/mesic type plants like aeranthos, capitata, bracyhcaulous, etc and is not recommended for plants like xerographica and streptophylla.

The biggest downfall of soaking your plants all together would be the potential to spread fungal diseases between your plants. So if you notice a plant looks like it may have fungus or is starting to rot, pull it aside and water it individually after the rest have been watered.

For most environments and most plants, we recommend starting out with once or twice a week soaks for 15 minutes or so and see how the plants respond. Do they get dry tips? Do they seem to close up? If so, you will need to soak more frequently. Theoretically you could soak your plant daily, as long as the plant is able to dry out fairly quickly and doesn’t stay wet for prolonged periods of time. Luckily most plants/environments wont need daily soakings so we don’t recommend it!

For the sake of this discussion, spraying is not going to be the same as misting. When spraying your air plants, we are talking about spraying them with a hose or sprayer that fully saturates the plants to the point of water run off. The goal is to simulate a nice rain, ensuring the entire plant is able to get wet and absorb sufficient hydration. This is the process that most growers and collectors with large amounts of plant use as soaking and dunking just becomes impossible. The advantage of this method would be ease of watering a large amount of plants and ability to inject fertilizers/fungicides directly into a mixing system, but there are some downfalls as well. The risk of rot/fungus is increased as you are unable to ensure water doesn’t sit in the cups of the plant and sitting water in the cups of a Tillandsia will promote fungus/rot if the conditions are present.

You can use misting in-between normal soaking or dunking. Misting is a good way to give your plant a little extra moisture if you notice that its leaves are looking a little dry or if you live in a drier climate with not very much humidity in the air. For most plants in most environments, we do not recommend misting as the sole watering method. The plants need to be fully saturated, and most of the time misting does not do this as the water droplets are so small they are unable to fully be absorbed into the plant.

Tillandsia, AKA air plants, are so much fun. They are completely unique to the plant world, requiring no soil to survive. But, they do require a different water routine in order to thrive. Follow these steps to water air plants the right way and keep them hydrated and happy all year long.

How to water air plants

What’s in a Name?

Tillandsia get their more common name, air plant, because they grow without soil in the air. One of the most common misconceptions about Tillandsia comes from their name and the idea that they only need air to survive. However, it really means that they need to absorb moisture through their leaves consistently. This either comes from very high humidity (as in a greenhouse) or from regular soaking.

Their spiky tendrils are oh-so-cool looking and because they don’t need soil to survive, there are endless creative ways to display them, from terrariums to popping them inside seashells. You can even make them into jewelry! They are hardy and easy to care for if you know what to do, and the most common problems that people have with air plants are due to incorrect watering.

When Tillandsia grow in the wild, they absorb moisture from the air which is much more humid than it is indoors, and that is usually where we keep them, so we have to soak them to re-hydrate. But it must be done properly or the air plant will rot!

How to water air plants

How to Water Air Plants

Water your air plants in the morning to ensure they get enough time to fully dry or it may disrupt their ability to respire at night.

To water air plants, remove them from wherever you have them displayed and submerge in a bowl or sink full of enough water to completely cover them. Parts of the plants will float up above the water—this is okay, just make sure that the majority of each air plant is submerged in the water. Leave them in the bath for one hour.

Remove each plant, hold facing upside down, and shake well to get rid of any excess water that may be pooling at the base of the inner leaves. Then, turn your air plant upside down on a towel and place it in a bright spot. Let it sit for one to three hours, depending on when it is fully dry. Ensure there is no water pooled or else your air plant may rot.

Return your air plants to their regular spot until it is time to bathe them again.

How to water air plants

Use the Right Water

Don’t use chlorinated water for your air plants as it can harm them. Instead, use rainwater or filtered water if possible. If you want to use tap water, allow it to sit out in a bowl for 24 hours first so that the chlorine evaporates. Chlorine can turn the tips of the leaves brown.

Change Your Watering Schedule Seasonally

Depending on the season, air plants need to be bathed at different frequencies. In the summer when it is hot, they like to be bathed once a week, but in the cool winter months, once every three weeks or so will do. Pay attention to the changing of the seasons and the health of your air plant and water accordingly.

You will also want to note the location of your air plant. For example, how much light is your plant is receiving? If it’s getting lots of sun, it may need to be watered more often. Is your plant located next to a heater where it may dry out more quickly or do you live somewhere humid where it will require less water? Take the time to evaluate the surroundings of your air plant when thinking about a watering schedule.

How to water air plants

Should I Mist my Air Plants?

Many garden centers or plant stores will tell you to mist your air plant with water from a misting bottle a few times a week. Personally, I do not find this to be very helpful for the plant. Spritzing is just too inconsistent and doesn’t provide the air plant with enough moisture. Misting should not be the only method you use for watering your air plant.

That being said, greenhouses and garden centers just mist them because it is already humid inside a greenhouse. And if you live in a humid climate (or a greenhouse) you can also get away with spritzing them. For air plants adopted as houseplants for the rest of us, the key is soaking them in a bath.

If your air plant is stuck in a terrarium or glued somewhere and it cannot be removed, misting may be your only option. If this is the case, mist very often to ensure it gets as much water as possible without letting water sit in the base. However, I highly discourage placing air plants anywhere where they cannot be removed and bathed!

How to water air plants

Signs of an Unhappy Air Plant

If your air plant is showing signs of distress, it could be due to watering. Crispy tips that are turning brown could be a sign of under-watering. You will also notice that the air plant’s concave-shape is more noticeable when lacking water.

Signs of over-watering, however, are tricky to undo. If the air plant is rapidly losing leaves and the base has turned black or brown, the air plant has gone rotten. Resist watering and cross your fingers! View my guide on how to revive a sick air plant for more information.

Learn How to Water Air Plants in this article. As growing air plants is easy, but Watering Air Plants is tricky. Although, it’s not difficult if you understand the process well!

Watering Air Plants can become a tricky business especially if you are among those who believe that air plant only needs air to survive. The reason behind them being called Air plants is because they do not require soil not because they can survive without water. So now if this misconception is clear let us know more about How to Water Air Plants.

Should You Water Air Plants?

In their natural habitat, air plants absorb moisture from the surrounding air. The environment in those rainforests remains humid. But if you have them as a houseplant fulfilling their watering needs become mandatory as indoor air remains dry.

How to Find out if Air Plants Need Water?

If your air plants are looking less vigorous and dull, leaves are curled, they need water. If in case your air plants are underwatered for a long time and dying in neglect, save them by following these tips here!

Watering Air Plants (Tips)

How to water air plants

Consider the Weather

How much water your air plants need and how frequently, it depends upon the climate and season. In summers when the weather is hot and dry, bathe air plants more frequently, i.e., about once a week. In the winter season when weather is cold, soaking them once in two to three weeks is enough. Take note of the health your plant with the changing seasons and increase or decrease watering according to that.

Air Plant Species Matters

Water according to the air plant species you’re growing. Research about its native habitat, if it grows in shady-humid lower levels of rainforests or on the Andes in full sun. Remember that gray and white air plants with thicker leaves require less watering and humidity. Green species of air plants with finer leaves need more watering and humidity.

Best Water to Use for Air Plants

Just like other houseplants, air plants don’t tolerate chlorinated water. It’s better to find out your water is free from high chlorine content. If you use tap water, make sure that you let it sit undisturbed for minimum 12 hours and maximum 24 hours. This way the chlorine present in tap water will evaporate, making it suitable for air plants. Air Plant Tips Turning Brown is a sure sign that chlorine is present in the water you’re using. Alternatively, you can also use rainwater, aquarium water, spring water, lake water. Avoid using distilled water as it is free from all the minerals that air plants need.

How to Water Air Plants

Spritzing Air Plants

How to water air plants

One common method most people use to water air plants is Spritzing. You can use a misting bottle for spritzing air plants two-three times in a week. This method of watering air plants is sufficient if you live in humid conditions or if the air plants are in greenhouses. But if you have dry indoor conditions than spritzing alone won’t be enough. What else to do then? Well, continue reading.

Soaking Air Plants

How to water air plants

It might be clear from the title that we are going to discuss on soaking air plants. But why does the need for soaking arise? Isn’t spritzing enough? To answer it simply, it’s not! In dry indoor conditions, air plants can’t solely survive on spritzing. Dunking them in water is the best way to ensure that they remain fresh and growing.

Apply this soaking method once a week for around 20-30 minutes in a cool climate and 30-60 minutes in a hot, arid climate. In every 3 weeks give your air plants a good soak for about a couple of hours long duration, especially in summers.

  • You’ll need a bucket, bowl or sink to submerge them in water. For this, use room temperature water!
  • Keep them in water for some time (as instructed above) and make sure to keep the water level high enough to cover entire plants.
  • After a good soaking, lift the plants up in an upside down position.
  • Get rid of excess water present on or inside the leaves by shaking the air plants.
  • Before returning the plants to their original spot ensure there is no water left on the leaves and they’re fully dry to touch. If necessary, place the plants on a paper towel in a bright spot for a while.
  • Once dry, bring back the plant to their location.

Over Watering Air Plants. Is it Possible?

Air plants don’t absorb moisture and nutrients through roots, they do this from their fine hairlike silvery trichomes present on leaves. They absorb water as much as they need, the problem of overwatering arise when you don’t dry them well, accumulated water between plant leaves causes the rot. Keeping them in a location with poor air circulation, in closed terrariums, and wet surroundings are the huge mistakes as well.

Tip: Always consider the air plant type you’re growing and your climate to determine the watering schedule.

How to water air plants

Air plants are considered as some of the easiest plants to care for, but this doesn’t mean that they are immune to problems. In fact, even experts sometimes have trouble determining the right watering schedule while taking care of these plants, as too much or too little may lead you to kill them.

But since air plants show early signs as their gesture in telling us if they are still thirsty or already getting too much water, rectifying what might have gone wrong can be done in just a few hours! All you have to do is to carefully examine your air plant and you are all set.

Although figuring out what the symptoms mean can be a bit troublesome, there are a few tricks in helping you differentiate the two easily. And here, we will share them with you and as well as what can be done to remedy the issues.

Sign of Under-watering

How to water air plants

Although air plants like Xerographica don’t need much water to survive, not getting enough would cause dehydration and they will begin to show signs like; looking a bit dull, the tips of the leaves are drying out, and are starting to make a u-shape and get droopy at the same time.

If you see these signs to your air plant, there’s no need to panic as rescuing a dehydrated air plant is easy. Just follow the instructions below and they should be thriving again in no time!

How to water air plants

  • Remove the dead parts of your Air plant.
  • Get a bowl of water and dip it in for at least 5-8 hours.
  • Air plants absorb water through their leaves, not in their roots. So make sure all the leaves are submerged in the water.
  • It is best to use rainwater or unchlorinated water, especially if you see that the tips of its leaves are already turning brown. If in case you are not providing them water with chlorine, but the leaves are still turning brown, there’s a high chance that your air plant is still not getting enough water.

Sign of over-watering

How to water air plants

Overwatering air plants is bad news. It is the most common reason why they die. So if you see that their bases start to turn dark then the leaves fall out from the middle or if they have mushy roots, and yellowing leaves, it is necessary to take immediate actions to prevent any permanent damage that may occur. And here’s how you may rescue your dying air plant from overwatering:

  • Remove any infected or rotten part to stop it from spreading.
  • Dry your air plant as quickly as possible. Use a fan if necessary.
  • Be sure to set your air plants on dry mediums, such as dry rocks. If they are displayed in a terrarium, make sure it is dry and has a wide opening for maximum ventilation.

While saving a dying air plant is possible, knowing how to prevent such problems to occur is better. And here’s how:

How to water air plants

  • Never leave an air plant submerged in water for long periods of time. Remember, some air plants are not meant to be soaked, especially if you live in a humid climate.
  • After watering, make sure to shake out any excess water from your air plant or set it upside down, and allow it to completely dry for about 4 hours. This should let the excess water to drip down, rather than pooling on your air plant.
  • Do not let your air plant sit on a wet bed, instead wait until it is completely dry before returning to its display.

Note: Some air plants like melanocrater tricolor will have naturally darker bases. With such species you may not notice any rot for a long time due to the naturally brown leaves, so you should lean on the side of less water than more. Also some leaf shedding can be normal in healthy air plants so you should pay attention to other signs as well.

Bottom line

In general, air plants can be confusing at times, as they grow differently compared to other houseplants. They are very hardy and don’t need much attention. But if you are a beginner and would like something easy to start with, Xerographica , Tillandsia Stricta Green , or Ionantha is the one for you, as these are the most low-maintenance hardy air plants you’ll ever see.

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Pity the poor tillandsia. With its affable, low-maintenance personality, your little friend tends to get ignored on a bookshelf. Its nickname–air plant–may reinforce the idea that it needs no special attention.

But while an air plant doesn’t need soil, it does need to eat. Here’s how to water an air plant:

Photography by John Merkl for Gardenista.

How to water air plants Above: There are hundreds of different species of tillandsia (and thanks to rampant hybridizing, it’s hard to find two that look identical). But one thing air plants all have in common is they need water to live. How to water air plants Above: A rule of thumb: water a tillandsia once a week.

Fine tune the rule: If the air in your house is particularly dry, water an air plant more often (every five days) and in a humid environment, water every ten days.

How to water air plants

Above: If you have a lot of air plants, fill your sink with water and let them go for a swim.

Instructions:

Step 1: Fill a basin, bowl, or sink with water and dunk your air plants.

Step 2: After 10 minutes, remove the plants from the water and spread them on a towel to dry.

How to water air plants

Above: Step 3. If the plants still seem wet, turn them upside down to shake water out of their bases.

Be particularly careful with bulbous tillandsias (you will recognize them because they have visible bulbs at their bases) because if they get waterlogged, they will rot.

How to water air plants

Above: Step 4. On days you don’t water, you can mist tillandsias lightly. You will notice that as they soak up water, air plants will turn a more vivid color of green.

N.B.: We’re in the throes of houseplant season and here’s some help to keep yours happy in winter:

    . . .
  • For more ideas about how to display air plants, see Hooked on Houseplants, Teen Edition. . .

Finally, get more ideas on how to successfully plant, grow, and care for air plants with our Air Plant: A Field Guide.

Finally, get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various houseplants with our Houseplants: A Field Guide.

Interested in other tropical plants for your garden or indoor space? Get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various tropical plants with our Tropical Plants: A Field Guide.

How to water air plants

A new owner of Tillandsia may wonder “can you water an air plant too much?”. How often to mist air plants depends upon the type, the situation, and the size of the plant as well as the environment. There are three main ways to keep your air plant moist. Once you know all three, you can decide which way will work best for your plant. This article will tell you the methods and how often to mist air plants. Then you will be on your way to healthy, happy Tillandsia of any variety.

Can You Water an Air Plant Too Much?

Tillandsia, or air plants, are one of the more unique forms of flora on our planet. Air plants are often thought to require no water because they harness it from the air and occasional rain storms. In their native regions, this is almost true but in the home setting, ambient air is too arid and no sudden storms will pass by. Tillandsia need regular moisture but should not be overwatered. This can pose a problem with mounted air plants, but we’ll walk through a couple of methods of keeping your plant moist.

Air plants are bromeliads and epiphytic. They tend to grow on logs, in cracks and crevasses, and even off live plants, although they are not parasitic. They are most common in tropical forest settings, although a few live in more arid climates. Just like any plant, air plants need regular water, light, and food. They are trickier than other houseplants because they are in a soilless environment, often mounted on something or inside a terrarium or glass bowl. The lack of media to hold moisture and nutrients poses a dilemma on how to keep them healthy.

Air plant misting is the most common method of watering but it doesn’t get plant roots really well moistened and can cause leaves to have fungal issues if the plant isn’t in good ventilation where leaves dry quickly. Spraying air plants is best to increase humidity in really dry homes and climates.

How Do I Water an Air Plant?

The method of watering will depend upon the style of installation of your air plant. There are three main ways to water Tillandsia. Misting is the first, rinsing the second, and soaking the third. Now the last two will obviously not work on a mounted specimen unless the mount is safe to have wet.

  • How often to mist air plants? In this case, mist the plants 3 to 7 times a week, depending how dry your home air is and what time of year. Summertime plants need more water while they can sustain on less in winter.
  • Rinsing the plants requires you to remove them from their mount and place them in a sieve to be rinsed thoroughly. All parts need to well soaked, including foliage and roots.
  • Soaking is the more thorough method but, again, requires removing the plant from its display. Soak the plant 1 or 2 times per week for 5 hours.

When Spraying Air Plants is Most Beneficial

Air plant misting is not the most effective method of watering the plants but it is the most convenient because it allows you to provide moisture in the plant’s setting. Otherwise, you will have to remove the wire that holds the plant on its display and rinse or soak to really get moisture into the roots.

In winter, when water needs are lower, misting is an adequate way to give the plant the minimum amount of water. Additionally, in summer when temperatures soar, a nice water bath in the form of spraying will refresh heat-stressed plants.

If you want your air plant really healthy, however, misting is just not going to do a good enough job providing moisture. Dunk or soak your plant at least two times per month if you are primarily misting to give it moisture. This can provide the deep water intake the plant needs to sustain in its aerial setting.

Sure, these fun and trendy plants don’t need soil, but they do still need a little attention. Here’s what you need to know to keep them thriving.

Air plants seem almost otherworldly the way they can grow, well, just in air. Yep, no soil at all required. Plus their leaves can look like a bit like alien tentacles or like the appendages of an exotic sea creature. These fascinating little plants have become quite popular over the last few years, appearing in just about any garden center or even in the checkout line at the grocery store. And there are plenty of online nurseries specializing in air plants, particularly the more unusual types. They're a bit different to grow than most other houseplants so we've rounded up a few tips for caring for air plants and enjoying them in your home.

About Air Plants

Air plants (Tillandsia spp.) are epiphytes, meaning that in nature they grow on other plants, usually on tree branches. There are hundreds of species and varieties of air plants. They usually have strap-shape or slender triangle-shape leaves that grow in a rosette pattern with new growth appearing from the center. Those with silver foliage tend to be the most drought-tolerant; greener types dry out faster. You can also find colorful species, like Tillandsia maxima that can have coral leaves. Most species produce attractive, tubular or funnel-shaped flowers, too.

Air Plant Care

Don't let the lack of soil scare you away. Air plants are easy to care for once you know what they need. You may not have to worry about potting them, but they do still need a certain amount of water and light, plus the right temperatures, just like any other houseplant. You'll know that an air plant is getting what it needs when it sends up flowers. Once the flower dries out, just snip it off and your air plant will keep on growing and eventually making more blooms.

Watering Air Plants

Air plants don't have roots like other plants; they only have a few short ones which are meant to help hold it onto whatever surface it's on. In their native habitats across the Southern US, Mexico, Central and South America, air plants get what they need from high humidity and plentiful rainfall. In your home, you'll need to  water your air plants about once a week (some varieties can go two weeks without being watered). Keep an eye on them to determine when your plants seem to need a drink.

To water, place them in the sink or a small jar with enough water to submerge your plants. Let them soak for about half an hour, then give them a gentle shake or two to dislodge some water before turning them upside down on a towel to let them drain. Once they are dry, return them to their designated spot. You can also mist them every other day between baths to keep them looking fresh, especially in winter when humidity in our homes tends to be lower.

Air Plant Light Requirements

As a general rule, keep your air plants out of direct sunlight. Remember, in the wild, many air plant species like to grow up in the sheltered, shady canopy of trees. They will do best if you can put them in a brightly lit spot out of the sun's rays. A few species, such as T. cyanea or T. lindenii can handle some dappled shade or less intense morning sunlight.

Air Plant Temperature Requirements

Air plants love warm weather so it's the other end of thermometer you need to watch. Protect your plants from anything colder than 45 degrees; they 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.

Styling Air Plants

Air plants look great all on their own or in groups where you can display several varieties together. They can be placed in terrariums or attached to anything from magnets to driftwood for creating your own interesting displays—just use a bit of hot glue or translucent fishing line to secure them. Tillandsia species also make fine companions on a branch with orchids because they like essentially the same conditions. You can also find glass or plastic globes that are made specifically for hanging them. For varieties that have colorful leaves such as Tillandsia aeranthos 'Amethyst', also called the rosy air plant, try using a container that complements or contrasts with their hues.

Because they don't need to grow in soil, air plants can be displayed in just about any way you can dream up. Try using them as an air plant wreath, hanging mobile, or even a beach-themed terrarium that plays off their resemblance to an octopus. Without much effort on your part, these plants can add fun, unique greenery to just about any space.