5 Air Plants You Should Avoid Soaking


Air plants are very easy to care for. You can soak them in a bowl of water, give them a thorough mist, or even dip it in a bowl of water to provide your plant the moisture it needs. And how you water the plant just comes down to personal preference in most cases.


With that said, there are some tillandsias that are just better misted than soaked. Here is a list of 5 air plants you should avoid soaking:


Tillandsia Tectorum (Ecuador)

Air Plant Tillandsia Tectorum

Tillandsia Tectorum

The fluffy coat of fur that gives Tillandsia Tectorum its fame is actually a dense layer of trichromes (scales that cover the leaves of air plants and help them absorb the water without any root system).


Since they are indigenous to arid regions of Ecuador, Tectorums have developed very efficient trichromes that absorb water like none other. And it prefers to stay dry most of the time.


You should not soak your Tectorum since it’s very difficult for its “fur coat” to dry completely. Keeping the plant dampened can cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.


The safest way to water a Tectorum is by misting. The trichromes should look drenched and the leaves will turn to a greenish gray when you are done watering.


Tillandsia Bulbosa

Tillandsia Bulbosa

Tillandsia Bulbosa is a very hardy air plant. It’s typically not a problem to soak your Bulbosas. But it can get tricky when your Bulbosa is dry. While you might be tempted to revive it with a good soak, that may actually do more harm than good to your little friend.


The pseudobulb (or onion-like shape) of Bulbosa is actually empty inside. When the air plant dries, its leaves around the “bulb” curves in, leaving gaps for water to come in.


When you soak a dry Bulbosa, water often gets trapped in the “bulb” and never really dry out completely. This can lead to fungal growth, which can cause irreversible harm to the plant. So next time you come across a very dry bulbosa, mist it thoroughly once a day and shake off any excessive moisture.


Tillandsia Butzii

Air Plant Tillandsia Butzii

Tillandsia Butzii

Similar to Tillandsia Bulbosa, Tillandsia Butzii has a pseudobulb that makes it really cool but a bit tricky to water sometimes. Just make sure you don’t have water collecting inside the “bulb” after each watering.


If you notice gaps at the base with the bottom leaves curving in, mist rather than soak your Butzii.


More frequent misting is much safer than a long soak in this case.


Tillandsia Seleriana

Air Plant Tillandsia Seleriana

Tillandsia Seleriana

Tillandsia Seleriana is a truly amazing plant. The pronounced trichromes make it so soft to touch! A giant specimen is often remarked for its magical looking pseudobulb.


The thick layer of trichromes and bulbous bottom makes Seleriana one of the top candidates on our “no soak” list. A thorough misting will be enough for your Seleraina to stay happy and healthy.





Tillandsia Pruinosa

Air Plant Tillandsia Pruinosa

Tillandsia Pruinosa

Covered with a thick coat of fur (trichromes), Tillandsia Pruinosa has a very efficient system of obtaining moisture. Its bulb-like bottom makes it very easy to trap excessive water.


Mist rather than soak your Pruinosa to reduce risks of root rot and algae development.


The best way to avoid fungal and algae growth is to prevent them in the first place. It can be difficult to get rid of the problem once it happens to your plant.







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