Easy Propagation of Air Plants

Easy Propagation of Air Plants

A Family Affair

What’s better than a small family of beautiful air plants? Answer: A large family of air plants and pups! Your air plants want to pass on their genes and will eventually start growing small “pups” at their base. These genetic copies will eventually become a new plant that can removed and grown separately saving you money as your air plant family grows!

When should you expect pups?

After the first bloom cycle an air plant will start its reproduction process by growing a very small “pup” at its base. The bloom cycle can take anywhere between 6 months and several years after birth. Patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to raising air plants. They seem to do things in their own sweet time. There are several things you can do to encourage pups but we will get to that in a moment. 

These pups are the beginning of an entirely new and independent air plant that will eventually mature, bloom and propagate pups of its own. While air plants also seed and spread the traditional way, pups are an easy way to grow your collection. Let these adorable little pups grow to be at least one third to half the size of its mother. They don’t do so well on their own until they’ve grown up a little.

In the wild these pups would stay attached to the mother plant until it dies. This will produce beautiful clumps of air plants. Removing pups is not necessary if you want to let them grow au naturale. Large balls of plants are highly desirable and rare to find. They can be hung with wire or line and are really neat when placed in trees.

Caput Medusae Tillandsia with PupsTillandsia Caput-Medusae normally produces a pup within a month of the bloom drying up.

Pup Removal

If you like the idea of growing your pups separately you will need to perform a surgery of sorts. Don’t worry, no blood will be involved...hopefully. All you need is a sharp blade or knife, some good light and a new place to grow the removed pups. Simply cut the pup away from the mother at its base. Do your best to not damage the pup and error on the side of cutting more from the mother than the pup. It’s actually a very simple procedure that anyone can do. Sometimes the positioning of the pup allows you to easily snap it off between two fingers.

Once they are removed you can grow them just as you would a full sized plant.  It’s really that simple. Owning air plants can be a very rewarding hobby but being able to propagate pups is one of the most exciting aspects of raising air plants. Please feel free to contact with us with any question in the comments section below.

Diving Air Plant Melanocrater Tricolor Tillandsia with Off Sets

Tillandsia Melanocrater quickly creates hardy pups that can be separated from the parent with a sharp knife or by gently pulling the pup from the mother.


  • Ellie

    Hi, I just got an air plant from a friend who put it on soil and watered it once a week, and I just realized that it has crown rot, and some leaves are falling off. The problem is, I just found a pup smaller than a pencil eraser! Can anyone give me some advice on what to do? Because I don’t know what to do besides wait.

  • Morgan

    I have a plant that is on my back patio and has bloomed and spread it’s seeds. Until now I didn’t realize that they put out seeds. The seeds remind me of dandelions. Is there a way to encourage those seeds to actually sprout into plants since I have seeds and no pups?

  • Kathi

    I was hoping to see answers posted for a few of the questions above. but no luck. being very new to the air plant world, I don’t know what the ‘seed pod’ planter is all about. How does one start this beautiful strange plant by seed? Do you guys sell seeds?? Thanks so much!

  • Pam LeBlanc

    I’m new to air plants n think that’s the coolest plant next to succulents. Also new to Pinterest searching for propagations for a month now. U have just inspired me to start propagating air plants… thx

  • Ana Azpurua

    Great post!! Thank you for the propagation tips! I find @akplants Air Knots are a great way to display and grow my Air Plants and work indoors and outside

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