Tillandsia, commonly known as “air plants,” have swept the millennial market in the late 2010s. Many young people enjoy these varieties of bromeliads with minimal root systems because of their easy, mess-free care. Air plants, like the xerographica and brachycaulos pictured above, require no soil.
This often confuses people into thinking that air plants require no care. However, air plants, like all living organisms on Earth, require water to survive. In order to keep your air plant from drying up, you are going to need to water it. But how do you water a plant without roots?
It’s simple. Submerge your air plant in water. For small to medium sized Tillandsia, most kitchen bowls will provide enough depth that the bulk of the plant is underwater. For larger plants, use a pot or bucket deep enough that the main cluster of foliage enjoys a good soaking.
Many people believe misting an air plant with water provides enough moisture to keep it alive. However, keeping an air plant damp will often lead to rot.
It is best to soak your rootless beauties and allow them to completely dry before placing them back in their containers. If your air plant is receiving sufficient light conditions (most air plants require a minimum of twelve hours daily of bright indirect light), the key to watering is “10 Minutes every 10 Days.” Your Tillandsia will also appreciate a monthly dosage of bromeliad food added to its water, and may even reward you with a beautiful flower.