Air Plant Watering: The Soaking Method

Air Plant Watering: The Soaking Method

Here at the Air Plant Supply Co., we have found that air plants do best when you soak them in water. It's important to remember that air plants take in all their nutrients through their leaves not through the roots.The roots serve only to attach the air plant to a host tree or rock or even the ground, nothing more. Soak your air plants in a bowl of water for 20 minutes to an hour every week to 10 days is best. Submerge the entire plant. If your plant has a bloom, you may wish to keep the bud above the water to not disturb it, although in nature they get wet all the time. Make sure the water is lukewarm or room temperature so you don’t shock the plant.

Because air plants get many of their nutrients directly from the water, it is best to give them water that has plenty of minerals and nutrients in it. Rainwater is best, but if you don’t have an easy way to capture rainwater, the next best thing is spring water. You could also use creek water, lake water or well water. Do no use distilled or filtered water. Distilled and filtered water have less minerals and nutrients. Many municipal water systems have more chemicals and less minerals and nutrients. If you are PH conscious, air plants prefer slightly acidic water. The best range is between 5.5 to 6.0 alkalinity. City water from the tap is most often higher than this range and therefore not ideal for air plants. Do not be too worried about PH levels. Good clean water will be fine.

The second most important part of watering your air plants is properly drying them afterwards. It is very important to lay your air plants out on a dish towel on their side or upside down to let them dry completely. This is especially important for the larger species like Xerographica, Streptophylla, and Sparkler. They should be fully dry to the touch within 2 hours after their bath. Do not return your air plants to terrariums and vases until they are completely dry. Watering plants and then immediately placing them inside an enclosure may cause rot to develop in your plant. If you follow these simple watering instructions you will have happy and healthy air plants.


  • Chris Black

    My Tillandsia is in a wood ornament with a little painted bird perched Olin it, in short, I can’t let the root soak on a paper towel since it’s already in something permanent. So how do I dry it after soaking it?

  • Mariah

    So.. I do not have access to spring, well, or the ability to collect rain water.. what would be my next best option? I currently use filtered water with air plant fertilizer mixed in but I have so many plants I would love the ability to soak them more often as i have had several die on me in the past 6 months :(

  • dylan

    I have fertilizer packs but no access to consistent rainwater/natural sources. What’s my best alternative? Could i soak some filtered water in plant clippings or something?

  • Michele

    I’ve noticed mine love a good dunk in the dirty water from my fish tank (freshwater tank- of course). Water and fertilize at the same time! Love your site-

  • Bernie

    I have been misting all of my air plants is this ok and does this apply {misting} to all including stag horn fern. I have been applying some fertilizer to the mist spray. I this also ok or a mistake. Love your articles


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