Growing Tillandsias

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Tillandsia air plants like mostly shaded areas. They can be grown in these sorts of environments:

  • Indoors near a window for some natural light. Air plants need light to photosynthesise. If you place them in a dark hallway they won’t remain healthy. They like ventilation so place them in a large room, a room where there is lot of movement, a room with adjacent rooms, or a room with good air flow from outside.

  • Outdoors in a mostly shade place. Or outdoors under bright filtered light. Air plants love being under pergolas and in courtyards. They are happy hanging from other plants which can provide natural shade. Tillandsias can handle a small amount of early morning or late afternoon direct sunlight.

  • Terrariums are a ‘no go zone’ for most Tillandsia species. There is not enough air flow for them to get the nutrients they need, and not enough air flow for the tillandsias to dry out completely between waterings.



  • Water air plants via a spray bottle 1-2 times weekly in winter, and 2-3 times in summer. Less is more, air plants survive better being thirsty and dry most of the time, than over-hydrated and wet. They can go weeks without being sprayed and still thrive. They may need a short soak to rehydrate if left for weeks unsprayed.

  • Soaking - You can bath air plants in water for 30-60 minutes once a week. If you are using 'soaking as a method of watering, don’t spray your plants as well, in between soakings, or you will overwater them and they will rot.

  • Tillandsias love rain water or pond water delivered via a spray bottle. Chlorinated tap water can leave the tips of air plant leaves brown. If you are using tap water via spray bottle fill up the bottle the day before you water. Let the bottle stand for 24 hours with the lid off to allow the chlorine to evaporate.


Fertilising (not essential)

  • Spray air plants monthly with a 25% strength liquid orchid fertiliser.

More about caring for air plants

Marianne Annereau