Accidents Happen

Find out what to do when your air plant gets crushed

air plants crushed air plants

Find out what to do when your air plant gets crushed.

Air plants, though hardy, have delicate leaves. I’ve dealt with crushed air plant leaves and it’s sad to see once beautiful leaves become bent beyond repair. But, alas! All is not lost!

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When your air plant is crushed during shipping:

Sometimes air plants arrive a little crushed in the mail. In fact, when getting them out of the box it is completely normal for the air plants to look a little hammered. Given proper care, the air plants will soon bounce back. Personally, mail-order air plants are the way to go despite their initial set-back.


The first thing to when bringing air plants home (no matter how you acquired them, mail or brick and mortar) is to give them a big drink of water. Soak your air plants in tepid water. Tap water is fine.

Learn more about watering air plants.

Watering Air Plants

Fact and Fiction



After hydrating your air plants it is time to let them dry. You can set them on a towel or on a dish-drainer. I like using a dish-drainer because the leaves can poke through the bottom of the drainer without bending the leaves. Or, if the base of the plant has grown with a crook shape, hook the base of the air plant over the edge of the dish-drainer. This way, the delicate leaves are able to dry without touching anything but air.

After about 4 hours, you can place your new air plants in their display.

Learn more about drying air plants.

How to Dry Air Plants

Properly Drying Air Plants Will Prevent Crown Rot


Time and TLC

After watering and drying your air plants, it is likely they still look a little forlorn. Now it’s time for a little patience. Give your air plants time, and slowly they will regain their regular form and lose their smashed appearance. Give your air plants a few weeks and you’ll never know they arrived a little crushed.

What if my air plant is more than a little crushed? What if it’s a lot crushed?

If you’ve been a good air plant caretaker, and the plant still looks done-in, your best bet may be to wait for babies. If your air plant has never flowered before, and if it’s a new plant, chances are it hasn’t bloomed, then wait for the magic of a blooming air plant. It is during the blooming cycle that air plants produce offsets. Once these babies are a couple of inches long they can be removed from the mother plant. Hopefully, you’ll be rewarded with more than one plant-let.

In the end, if the mother plant wasn’t able to recover from being crushed, you will still end up with some healthy air plant-lets. Click here, to see where I like to buy air plants.

Learn more about air plant babies.

Air Plant Growth Cycle

Learn How to Propagate Air Plants


The Long-Game

When all is said and done, air plants are pretty darn tough. If outer leaves are crushed beyond repair, all is not lost. Given enough time, new leaves will grow, replacing the crushed leaves.

We’re in this air plant adventure for the long haul, right?