How to Grow and Care for Air Plants (No Soil Required)

If you’re looking to expand your plant collection or start gardening as a new hobby, getting an air plant is a great option! Air plants (Tillandsia spp.) are epiphytes, which means they grow on other plants in nature, usually on the branches of trees.

What are Air Plants?

“Air plants” are plants that don’t need soil to grow. Instead, they grow on top of other plants, like trees, without being parasitic. Air plants don’t need soil because they can receive all the nutrients they need from the air, water, and debris in their immediate environment.

Do Air Plants Need Soil?

The fact that air plants, or epiphytes, do not require soil to survive is their distinguishing feature. However, some air plants, including staghorn ferns, birds nest ferns,

Air Plant Care

Don’t be afraid of growing and caring for air plants just because they don’t require soil like traditional house plants. Once you know what they need, air plants are easy to take care of and are quite low-maintenance.


Air plants are used to bright to medium indirect light because they are frequently seen growing on trees and other large plants under the forest canopy.

Temperature and Humidity

Providing air plants with enough moisture and humidity is one of the most essential aspects of caring for them indoors. To avoid drying out, air plants like warm, humid environments.


Add water-soluble fertilizer for air plants, bromeliads, or epiphytes to the water you submerge them in once a month to feed them. Special fertilizers like these have nitrogen in a form that plants can absorb and use.

Types of Air Plants

Air plants, also known as epiphytes, come from many different plant families, and there are likely hundreds or thousands of them. Here are a few of the most well-liked and well-known types of air plants.

Bromeliads Family

The bromeliad family (Bromeliaceae) is the largest and most diversified group of air plants, as well as the most well-known. Even though not all of the plants in this family are epiphytes, a lot of them have evolved to thrive in epiphytic environments over time.

Recommended Species of Tillandsias to Consider Growing


Tillandsia bulbosa:

This species has a base that looks like a bulb and leaves that look like tentacles making it look like a sea creature! Among its common varieties are ‘Guatemala’ and ‘Belize.’

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