How to Revive an Air Plant in 9 Simple Steps

Air plants, or Tillandsia, have a tendency to cling to nearby surfaces without needing soil to grow. However, if you do not care for this plant properly, it might end up withering quickly. If you have noticed this, you can figure out how to revive an air plant through this guide.

how to revive an air plant

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What Causes Air Plants to Die?

The main cause behind a withering or dying air plant is the lack of proper care. In particular, the amount of water that your air plant is receiving might not be enough, leading to a lack of nutrients and moisture that can allow it to grow properly.

A lack of sufficient air circulation around it can also cause the air plant to die if you do not correct this on time. Make sure you provide proper sunlight and feeding while also keeping pests away as much as possible.

Essentially, since this plant relies on the air around it along with regular watering to receive its growing conditions and nutrients, it can be easy to neglect the plant, causing it to wither and die.

what causes air plants to die

How to Revive an Air Plant

If you notice that your air plant is on the verge of dying or is damaged to a certain extent, there are still steps that you can take to revive it on time before it dies completely. You can go through these steps below.

1. Remove Dead Leaves

In case you notice any dead leaves on your air plant, you should remove them before you begin the revival process. Generally, the dead or damaged leaves will simply fall out of the plant or from their branches without you needing to put in too much effort.

Ideally, there should only be a few dead leaves on your air plant. Too many of them can mean that you might not be able to revive your plant after all.

See to it that the rest of your air plant remains intact when you try to get rid of the damaged leaves.

2. Get Rid of Pests

If there are any pests and diseases on your air plant, you should first try to get rid of them before you revive the plant. You can try using fungicides, neem oil, baking soda solutions or even dish soap to get rid of them.

3. Use Tap Water

You can begin the revival process by taking a container and filling it with enough tap water so that you can then soak the dehydrated air plant in this water.

In case you are using tap water, however, you will need to leave the water out overnight or even for 24 hours so that the chlorine can dissipate from it. You can also make use of rainwater to prevent this altogether.

Make sure you take a suitable glass bowl or container that has enough space to hold the plant as well as the water in without causing the water to overflow. Ensure that you do not restrict free space for the plant.

4. Soak the Plant

soaking air plants

The next step is to soak the air plant in the water that you have prepared. Take your air plant carefully from its original location or container and place it inside the glass bowl or container.

You will need to ensure that you submerge the plant fully inside the water. You can try tying it with a heavy object such as a rock to keep it submerged inside.

Leave it inside the water for 12 hours so that it can rehydrate itself thoroughly.

5. Provide Air and Sunlight

Throughout these 12 hours of soaking, you should place the air plant in its container in a place that receives bright but indirect sunlight. You will also need to control the temperature so that it remains consistent and warm enough throughout the process.

Another essential requirement is to ensure that there is good air circulation around the plant so that it can receive sufficient oxygen to survive and thrive, especially since these plants depend on a method called CAM photosynthesis, or Crassulacean Acid Metabolism.

If you usually keep your air plant in a jar or container with a lid, make sure you open up the lid a bit to ensure free supply of oxygen.

6. Remove Excess Water

reviving air plants

Once 12 hours have passed by, you can remove the air plant from the water and lightly shake it so that you can get rid of any excess water from its surface. Make sure you do this as gently as possible so that you do not end up damaging the leaves of the plant.

You can also let it rest in the air for a bit so that the extra moisture evaporates. You can let it dry like this for a couple of hours, following which you can place it back in its original container.

7. Observe the Plant

Return the plant to its original container and ensure that the leaves are already showing signs of revival during this step. If you still notice some withering or brown leaves, you should cut them off with some shears to prune the plant back a bit.

For 2-3 days, you should observe your plant properly to ensure that it is back to looking healthy while also growing in its usual manner.

8. Repeat If Required

Even after soaking the plant for 12 hours and watching over it, if the plant continues to look like it is withering and dying, then you can try repeating the soaking process once more.

This time, do not soak the plant in water for more than four hours. Make sure that the water you are using is fresh and does not contain too much chlorine either.

Ideally, this should be enough to revive the plant. If not, however, then this might indicate that your plant is dead and you might no longer be able to revive it.

9. Provide Proper Care

You should continue to care for your revived air plant in a suitable way. This includes soaking the plant in water for about an hour once a week when the weather is warm. Once the temperatures start cooling down, you can limit this soaking process to every couple of weeks (or even longer, depending on the condition of your plant).

You should also provide it with sufficient but indirect sunlight during the year and direct sunlight during winter. Feed it regularly with fertilizer and ensure that it gets enough oxygen from the air around it.


How Do I Know If My Air Plant Is Dying?

how do i know if my air plant is dying

If your air plant is dying, parts of its color might turn brown and the leaves will start drooping.

This will usually start from the tips of the leaves and proceed to the inner parts of the leaves.

Should I Remove Dead Air Plant Leaves?

should i remove dead air plant leaves

It depends. If the air plant has had an infection, then it’s recommended to remove dead air plant leaves whenever you notice them so that they do not spread the infection to other leaves.

If the air plant leaves are dead due to dehydration, then it is optional to remove them. Some prefer to remove dead leaves for aesthetic purposes, while some feel they add character to the air plant.

How Often Should I Mist My Air Plant?

how often should i mist my air plant

You should ideally mist your air plant at least twice a week so that you can provide some moisture to the leaves.

However, this is not enough of a watering process so make sure you also soak the plants in water frequently.

How Long Should You Soak Air Plants?

how long should you soak air plants

During regular care of the air plant, you should soak it in non-chlorinated water for an hour every week and less frequently during the colder seasons.

If you are trying to revive the air plant, however, you will need to soak it in water for 12 hours or even more if once is not enough.

How Long Does It Take For an Air Plant to Die?

how long does it take for an air plant to die

Technically, air plants can live for years at a time as long as you provide them with the right care conditions.

However, if you do not provide enough water, provide too much water, do not provide air and sunlight, then your air plant might die in a few days.