Air plants are amazing plants that have no roots – they take everything they need to survive from the air, right through their leaves!

Tillandsia, commonly known as air plants, come from Southern and Central America. They have little scales called trichomes on their leaves that take in water and nutrients from the air. What’s amazing is they can digest dust and turn it into valuable food, making them great houseplants!

In nature these plants grow attached to other plants, these are called epiphytes – clinging to trees or anchored to rocks, rather than rooting in the ground. So, they don’t need any soil at all, and while some varieties do have roots, they just use them as anchors.


There are some 500 known varieties of air plant that grow in locations as diverse as mountains, deserts, and rainforests.

Some live on rock faces, some on the ground and others grow on trees. However, they are not parasitic and do not usually harm the host plant.

Where to grow air plants


Tillandsias make excellent houseplants because they are easy to care for. They need to be kept somewhere with good light, but not direct sunlight. Too much heat and bright light can scorch their leaves.

Any room in the house that has plenty of light is ideal. They like the humidity of bathrooms but will still need watering as below.

These plants also cope well with conservatories, provided there is not too much direct sunlight.

Trailing types like Spanish moss can be hung up, while smaller varieties like Tillandsia ionantha can be placed on shelves, desks, and tables. They like good airflow around their leaves, so try not to place them somewhere stuffy and enclosed.

You can also keep them in the garden too, but bear in mind that they are not frost resistant. Bring them into the house or a heated greenhouse over the winter.

How to water air plants

The only thing you need to give to these plants is water. Simply dunk them in some water one to two times a week and let them dry off before putting them back in their home. A sink or bucket filled with water is ideal.

Submerge them in water for a few hours or overnight every few weeks to give them a boost. This method can also be used to revive air plants that have become dehydrated.


However, don’t submerge blooming air plants or you will damage the petals.

Generally, the air plants with fine leaves come from rainforests and enjoy a thorough soaking. Varieties with larger, thicker leaves need less water.

You will notice that an air plant needs more water if its leaves start to curl and wilt.

If your air plant is growing in the garden, you can simply give it a soaking with the hosepipe in dry spells. However, make sure it isn’t sat in water or its leaves may rot.

With these tips you can have air plants in every corner of your home. So, add some intrigue to your home with these houseplants that will fill you with wonder.

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