Updated: Aug 20, 2021
Air plants live on air, right? Uh, not right! While air plants don't grow in soil, they definitely NEED to be watered. While the plants can survive for long periods of drought, they will not grow or thrive and will eventually die off if water is too scarce. Follow the directions below for watering your plants on a regular basis and they will stay alive and thrive. The good news is that since these plants are very forgiving, you shouldn't stress over their care schedule. There's no need to get a babysitter when you go on vacation for a few weeks.
How to water your air plants As a main method of watering your plants, it is recommend giving them a thorough rinsing under running water or soak them in a bath of water for 20-30 minutes. You can use a bowl, the sink or even the bathtub if you've got a large family.
DO NOT USE DISTILLED water! It is void of nutrients and the air plants will not thrive. You have several choices for watering.
Tap water can be used depending on your source of water. Most city water has chlorine in it which can kill air plants depending on the parts per million of chlorine. I recommend if you do use tap water to let it set for 4-hours to let the chlorine dissipate before watering your plants. Or you can also buy spring or purified water from the store if you only have a few plants to water. Another choice is to fill up a bucket of water; let it set over-night and water the plants the next day.
After their shower or bath, gently shake the plants to remove any excess water from the base and the leaves, set them out to dry in an area with enough air circulation to dry them out a bit. If your plants need an in-between watering, misting them with a spray bottle is a great method. I use the water from our pond in my spray bottle.
A plant that is in bloom should be rinsed rather than submerged in water, and take care when rinsing the delicate flowers.
Air Plants LOVE Pond Water
#1 - Any chlorine in the tap water has dissipated and since chlorine can kill air plants this is a good thing!
#2 Some ponds have natural algae growing that give the pond water nutrients. If you have a lot of plants, they can be put directly into the pond, or you can scoop out some water and spray or soak the plants in your sink or a large bowl if you only have a few. I also use the pond water in my spray bottle.
How often do I water my air plants? Your plants should be watered at least once per week, and 2-3 times is recommended for optimal care. Some growers recommend a longer, 2-hour soak every 2-3 weeks. If you are in a drier, hotter climate, more frequent watering or misting will be needed. You'll begin to notice that after watering, your plant's leaves will feel stiffer and full of water. They'll be softer and lighter in color when they're in need of water. Wrinkled or rolled leaves can be a sign of dehydration.
After a good soak, lay them out to dry before putting them back onto their displays.
Air plants should be kept where they'll receive bright, indirect sunlight or under fluorescent home/office lighting. Periods of direct sunlight are just fine, but more than a few hours of hot sun will deplete the plants of their moisture. If your plant will be in a spot with some pretty direct light, try misting them every couple of days to keep them hydrated in between their bath days.
Hope you enjoy your unique Air Plants!!