Do Air Plants Need Sunlight?

Ralph Astley is a retired gardener from Philadelphia who specializes in outdoor plants and trees. With years of hands-on experience, Ralph not only cares for a diverse range of outdoor flora but also shares his extensive knowledge through well-written articles and social media posts. A trusted authority in arboriculture, he's committed to helping the community grow healthier, more robust gardens.
Learn About Our Editorial Policy

2-Minute Read

Do Air Plants Need Sunlight? Or they can grow without it? Find your answers in this detailed article.

Air plants are the most low maintenance plants on earth, and you don’t need a green thumb to grow them. As they’re epiphytes, they don’t need soil to grow. But what about the sunlight? Do air plants need sunlight? How much light do air plants need? Find the answers below.

Learn about 8 amazing air plant benefits you can have by growing them in your home!

Do Air Plants Need Sunlight?

Do Air Plants Need Sunlight

The straightforward answer to this question is–YES! Sunlight is a must for air plants, like water. Just remember the fact that air plants don’t thrive well in direct sunlight, but they do need bright indirect light. The amount of sunlight also depends on the type of air plant and climatic condition. You can also use artificial lights to grow them.

How Much Light Do Air Plants Need?

Air plants do need sunlight, but knowing their requirements is the key here. Indirect sunlight is the best for air plants, and they seem to do pretty well near a window that gets filtered sun, shaded by a tree or something similar.

Ideal Location

As air plants enjoy indirect sunlight, their ideal location is where they can receive several hours of mild morning sunlight and day-long bright light. An East-facing window is fine. If you’re placing them at the South or West window, make sure to maintain 2 to 4 feet distance to avoid direct exposure to the sun for their optimum growth.

Is There an Exception?

Air Plant Sunlight

Not exactly. But, certain xeric tillandsia species like Xerographica can survive well under direct sunlight for short durations, thanks to the presence of trichomes. Trichomes provide a flurried look to the surface of an air plant, making it absorb nutrients and water more efficiently. It also allows the air plant to handle the direct sunlight better.

The silvery appearance of any tillandsia is due to high trichome density, which means it’s adaptable to dry conditions and has the ability to reflect the sunlight. Conversely, greener air plants (Mesic tillandsias) have fewer trichomes, and they’re suitable for shade and need more frequent watering.

Air Plant Growing Tips

Do Air Plants Need Sunlight? Or they can grow without it? Find your answers in this detailed article.

  • With air plants, dunking them in the water or misting their leaves with a sprayer works the best. Shake off the remaining water and put them back to their location. For more information on how to water air plants, click here.
  • Feed your air plants with a bromeliad mix fertilizer. Avoid excessive use of fertilizer as it can burn their leaves and impede the growth.
  • Air plants thrive well in a warm temperature range between 12 C to 30 C (54 to 86 F). A relatively humid environment inside the home serves them just right. Also, avoid exposing them to dry air.
  • If you’re keeping air plants in glass terrariums, avoid closed ones. As these plants need proper air circulation, open terrariums like fish bowls are suitable.
  • Avoid placing the terrarium under direct sunlight as the glass may trap excessive heat, which might be detrimental for your tillandsias.
  • Don’t miss checking out our air plant growing tips here.

Recent Posts

Join our 3 Million Followers:


Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here