How Do You Water Air Plants?

An air plant does not need to be rooted in the soil to grow, but it needs adequate water to survive. Read on to get a complete guide on how to water air plants.
misting or watering an air plant with water

Air plants don’t need much in the way of maintenance. It’s a double-edged sword -they are easy to take of which also makes them easy to neglect. While it is true that air plants don’t need soil for nutrients, it’s important to remember that they do need water.

Air plant care is tricky because the need of water depends on the climate they are growing in and the type of air plant. There are two main methods of watering air plants, the soaking, and the spritzing method. There are other ways to water your air plants as well, like dunking or misting them. You can use any method you want, but remember to water your plants when necessary.

Read this article to learn how and when to water your air plants.

The Soak Method

The soak method has proven to be the best method of watering air plants. It is preferable because it soaks the plant completely, including all the leaves. There are two main types of air plants— xeric and mesic.

Xeric air plants grow in deserts and can survive with less water. Mesic air plants usually grow in water forests and need more water. The soak method is best for Mesic air plants.

If you are using this method, then start by soaking your air plant in a bowl full of water for 20-60 minutes. Do this once every 7-10 days.

If your plant is in the blooming phase, do not submerge the bud as it can affect the growth. After soaking the plant, take it out and place it on a towel or suspend it upside down so that it dries.

It is important to dry the plant completely. Any trapped moisture between the leaves can lead to fungus growth. Give a little shake if needed to dry between the leaves.

The Spritz Method

People who own lots of air plants can find it difficult to soak all the plants so they use the spritz method. This method is different from misting. You use a spraying bottle or a hose to drench the plant completely in water.

Make sure that the plant is completely wet and the trichomes on the leaves have absorbed enough water. After spritzing the plant, it is important to let it dry completely, especially if you have to put it in a terrarium or any other container. Put the plant in a place where indirect sunlight reaches it or dry it on a towel.

How Do Air Plants Absorb Water and Nutrients?

Although air plants have roots, these roots are not capable of absorbing water and nutrients from the soil. The roots’ main purpose is to attach the plant to rocks, tree branches, driftwood, and wires. Air plants absorb water and nutrients with tiny structures called trichomes.


The shiny structure of the leaves is due to the presence of countless trichomes. Trichomes are tiny, spiky structures that absorb water and nutrients.

There are many purposes of trichomes in air plants. Besides absorbing water and minerals, they also regulate the temperature of the plant. They reflect radiation and prevent water loss.
These tiny hair-like structures also provide protection against insects.

What Kind Of Water Should I Use?

Air plants survive on rainwater in its natural habitats. The rainwater is full of nutrients and natural minerals. If it is possible, collect rainwater and use that to give your plant a water bath. If rainwater is not available, you can also use water from a well, pond, spring or lake, etc.

Most tap water is suitable for your air plant. If your tap water lacks important minerals or has harmful chemicals, you may want to use rain or pond water instead.

Filtered water also loses many important nutrients and minerals in the filtration process.

How Do You Know When to Water Air Plants?

You need to water your air plants once every week or after ten days. Longer soaking in water is appropriate after every few weeks. If the climate is hot and dry, frequent watering is necessary for the air plants.

When air plants dehydrate, the leaves of the plant feel softer and seem lighter in color. Once you water them, they will feel firmer and more sturdy again. Twisted or rolled up leaves also show that the plant is dehydrated.

How to Water Mounted Air Plants?

How you water your air plant depends on the way you display the plant. The soaking method is usually not possible for mounted air plants. Air plants in terrariums are also inconvenient to take out and soak. If you are using this method, then submerge the plant in water once or twice a week.

The misting method works best for mounted air plants. Mist the plant three to seven times a week, depending on the climate of your area. If you live in a dry and hot climate, you will have to mist your plants more times.

How to Water Air Plants in a Terrarium?

If you have displayed your air plant in a terrarium, the spritzing method is not a good idea. It makes the terrarium damp, which leads to fungus growth.

An air plant with shells and rocks in a terrarium

For healthy growth, it is important that the container or mounting surface remains dry.

Carefully take out your plant from the terrarium, soak it in water for 1-2 hours once a week. Then dry the plant completely and then place it in the terrarium.

Is Drying Air Plants Important?

If the leaves of the air plant are not dried, the plant will rot or get fungus. It is important to place the plant on its side on a towel after watering. You can also suspend it upside down for 4+ hours with enough ventilation for it to dry.

You can also keep the plant under indirect sunlight to dry. This will help your plant live a healthy and long life.


If you want your air plants to thrive, watering them is crucial. With little care and adequate watering, you can help your plant live a healthy life. By following the instructions in this article, you can make your air plants happy. Thirsty air plants are not happy air plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you soak air plants overnight?

Yes. There are clear signs that show your plant is dehydrated. If the leaves feel softer or lighter in color, then your plant is dehydrated. When your air plant looks thirsty or dehydrated, you can soak it in water overnight to revive it back to life.

Can you water air plants with tap water?

Air plants are fine with tap water, but make sure that the quality of tap water in your area is good. In most areas, tap water lacks important minerals and has chemicals as well.

It is best to use water from a well, pond, spring or lake. But, the best water to use would be rainwater.

How do you water glued air plants?

Keeping the surface of the air plant mounting dry, hold the plant under the slow flow of water or dunk the plant in water for several minutes. After watering, hold it upside down until all the trapped water flows out and then put the plant on its side to dry.

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