Air Plants + Air Circulation

Air Plants + Air Circulation

by Megan Richards

Air plants, while very easy to care for, still require some basics, like water, light, and you guessed it, air.


Tillandsia ionantha guatemala in bloom

Air circulation is one of the most important aspects of an air plant’s care. Why is air circulation so important? Well, air plants have trichomes which help them absorb as much moisture from the air as possible, and they need air flow in order to use their trichomes, as well as dry after being watered. A good rule to follow is that an air plant should be able to dry within 4 hours of watering.


Tillandsia air plant terrarium

The open front of this air plant terrarium, allows adequate air flow for the plants within


Humidity also plays a role in how well your air plant will thrive in its new home. If you live in an area of moderate to high humidity like we do here in Florida, your air plants should thrive due to the excess moisture in the air. If there is too much humidity though, this can contribute to rot, so be careful with the amount of water you are giving your plants if you do live in an area of high humidity. If you live in a drier more arid climate, you might notice that your plants need a little extra water or misting in between waterings to make up for the lack of humidity in the air. 

Another thing to consider with air quality is the environment where you are displaying your air plants. If you are displaying them indoors, keep in mind that they can dry out due to air conditioners, fans, and heaters. If your air plants are near fans or air vents, take care to monitor them to ensure that they are getting enough moisture, and aren’t drying out too quickly after watering. You might need to mist your plants in between waterings if they are getting dried out too quickly by air conditioners or heaters. 

Temperature plays a role in the health of your plants, and you should keep in mind that most air plants come from tropical regions or dry desert like climates with high temperatures. If you keep your air plants outside, make sure that they aren’t left out in cold weather below 40 degrees or in hot weather over 90. They prefer a temperature range of 50-90 degrees. 

Here are a few tips for happy healthy air plants:

  • Do not display air plants in a closed container or terrarium. The lack of air circulation can cause rot and the plant will die. 
  • Try to avoid placing your air plants near fans or air/heat vents. If you do, monitor them to ensure that they are receiving enough moisture.
  • Air plants should dry within 4 hours of watering. If they haven’t dried by that time, there might not be enough air circulation in their environment. 
  • If you are in a very dry climate, you can supplement the humidity levels in your home with a humidifier. (Not required, but your air plants might love it!)

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