Dunking a Tillandsia Ionantha Guatemala in a Bowl of Water

Watering Your Air Plants: The Dunk Method

by Jamie Beck

watering tillandsia air plant

One of the most important aspects of keeping your plants healthy and happy is to make sure that they receive adequate water. Many people think that because these little guys are called “air plants” that they don’t need water to survive. Sorry guys, they aren’t  that  low maintenance. They still need water to thrive and grow!

There are a few different ways that you can water your plants depending on what kind of plant they are and where you live in the country. Today we are going to spotlight the dunking method.

This is a great method to use for plants that need less water, such as the xerographica air plant that is used to living in a drier desert like conditions. This can also be used for other “xeric” varieties such as the duratii and other plants that prefer less water and more sun. We also recommend dunking plants that are in bloom because you want to take care to not get the bloom wet. In this case, gently submerge the bottom of the plant, be careful to not get the bloom wet, and then shake out any excess water. 

tillandsia xerographica air plant in bud

The Dunk Method:

We usually do this once a week, but those living in drier climates might need to water more frequently.

  • Fill a bucket or large bowl with water. Rain or pond water is best, but you can also use tap water if you have allowed it to sit out for a while to let chemicals dissipate. Do NOT use distilled water as this type of water is actually too "pure" and will pull the nutrients out of the plants. Also, don't use artificially softened water, as it is often too high in salt content for Tillandsias.
  • Dunk your air plant in the water a few times and allow it to get fully wet. Then, gently shake out excess water.
  • Allow the plant to dry upside down for a few hours so no water collects in the base of the leaves.

Make sure that they are completely dry before adding them back to their planter or terrarium.

watering air plants infographic

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