Do Air Plants Need Sunlight? Yes!

Find Out How Much

give your air plants the right light

let there be light

Some people wonder: Do air plants need sun? The answer is Yes! They do! It’s important to know the right-light sweet spot is for your air plants. The short answer is bright, indirect light.

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Of course, that answer can be fine tuned. I’m sure you have noticed the silvery sheen or whitish fuzz on your air plants. Sometimes it is more visible on the underside of the leaf. On some air plants the sheen is highly visible, on others, not so much. The silvery sheen or fuzz has a name: trichomes.

Perfect - now my air plants get the light they need

Trichomes serve many purposes. Like a sponge they absorb water for the air plant. That’s why soaking is the best way to water air plants. Soaking gives the trichomes time to reach maximum water capacity. But, trichomes are more than sponges.

Soak air plants in water

Soaking your air plants in gives the trichomes a chance to absorb water and prevents dehydration.

Trichomes are serve as sun shields protecting the leaves from intense sunlight. The more trichomes an air plant has the more sun they can handle. Give the more silvery air plants the most very most light possible. Keep in mind that because our homes are so much darker than the outdoors, give your air plants the best indirect light that your home has to offer.

T. aeranthos basks in indirect light

Perched atop a bit of driftwood, this Tillandsia aeranthos basks in bright, indirect light. Although the trichomes are difficult to see, be assured that they are there.

You may be thinking: I know my side table is dark, but that is exactly where I want to place my air plant display. My answer is: Go right ahead and put your air plants wherever you want. This may mean that your plants won’t last as long as they would have in a more sunny location. But there is an alternative.

Play musical air plants. Watering day is the perfect time to take the air plants from their less than ideal locations and place them in the very best light location your home has to offer. Then take the air plants from their ideal location and place them on your side table. Or, wherever makes you happy to see them. Just remember that a weekend stay in prime light is not enough to compensate for primary residence on the dark bookcase.

Play musical air plants to give air plants enough light

Because my home has wide eaves, I know my air plants will never get enough light hanging out in my living room. By playing musical air plants they can take a short turn in the less than optimal lighting without any long-term harm as long as I don’t let them sit there for too many days before returning them bright, indirect light.

Remember when I said that indirect light is ideal for your air plants? Now I am going to modify that advice. A bit of direct light can actually be beneficial and can bring out more color in your plants. That said, watch for sunburn on the plant’s leaves and make sure they are adequately hydrated and ventilated. Weather permitting,cracking a window will add more air circulation for your air plants.

Pull up your blinds, throw open your curtains and let in the sunshine!