Is It Safe To Soak Your Air Plants Overnight?

Air plants (Tillandsias) have the remarkable ability to survive practically anywhere, including just air (as their name suggests). These plants make an excellent addition to any garden and are relatively easy to care for — as long as you know how long to soak them (among other things). But is it safe to soak an air plant overnight? 

It is safe to soak your air plants overnight as long as the plant is completely dried out. However, you should not do it too often. It is best to soak an air plant for 7 hours to perk it up. Setting a watering schedule is best so you can soak them for 20-minute intervals every week. 

In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss some frequently asked questions about soaking air plants, how to soak them properly, and what happens if they soak too long. If you’d like to learn more about soaking air plants, read on. 

How Long You Should Soak an Airplant 

First, it’s essential to understand how long an air plant needs to be soaked. Although air plants thrive in dry places such as desert climates, they still require regular watering to survive. 

So how long should you soak an air plant?

An air plant on a regular watering schedule should be soaked for 20 minutes per week. In contrast, a dehydrated air plant may need a 7-hour or even overnight soak to revive it. 

What’s important is to monitor how your plant responds to watering and adjust your methods as needed. 

When soaking an air plant, it’s essential to dry it off afterward. Water that sits on the plant can cause rot and must be wiped off as soon as possible. 

Additionally, a timer will keep you from forgetting about your soaking plant and leaving it in water for too long. 

How Often Air Plants Need Watering 

Caring for an air plant is relatively simple. However, they do have unique watering needs. Their strange watering requirements are primarily because these plants don’t require soil to grow. To water air plants, you generally soak or spray them down, but how often should you do this?

Air plants require regular watering, which is why a watering schedule can come in handy. Generally, air plants should be watered once weekly for about 20 minutes if you use the soaking method. 

However, if you’re misting your air plants, they should be heavily sprayed down and allowed to soak in moisture before they are gently shaken dry. 

If you live in an arid climate, you may need to increase the frequency at which you water your air plants. On the other hand, your plants will require less water if you live somewhere humid. 

So, it’s always a good idea to monitor how your air plants respond to their watering schedule. 

What Happens if an Air Plant Soaks Too Long

Unfortunately, it’s too easy to overwater an air plant, especially since it requires less water than most houseplants. In addition, overwatered air plants can quickly rot despite having a relatively robust root system. 

Air plants that have soaked for too long may begin to rot. The rot will spread to the leaves and eventually through the whole plant. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when watering your air plants because adding more water is easier than undoing overwatering. 

Also, air plants are often found in desert landscapes like South and Central America, as well as around the Southern United States. So, the air plant is used to taking in less water. 

How To Soak an Air Plant Properly

As I’ve repeatedly mentioned, air plants require less water than most plants. Nonetheless, proper watering for them is still important. Incorrect watering can easily cause the death of your plant, especially if you aren’t soaking them properly. 

To soak an air plant, you will need the following:

It’s important to note that if you have an air plant that has flowered, the blossom should NEVER be submerged in water. Prolonged exposure to water will lead to rotting, and flowers are more susceptible to this. 

Here are the specific steps for soaking an air plant:

  1. Fill the bowl with water. You should avoid tap water since it’s often treated with chemicals. Rain, pond, lake, or river water is ideal. That said, filtered water will do if you don’t have access to a natural water source.
  2. Place the air plant face down in the bowl of water. The leaves should be completely submerged in the water. Air plants use their leaves to absorb moisture (as opposed to a root system), so their leaves need regular moistening. 
  3. Leave the plant in the bowl for 20 minutes to soak. The air plant can be left longer if it’s completely dried out and needs reviving. 7 hours typically does the trick for long soaks. However, you can leave them overnight for that initial soak. 
  4. Remove the air plant from water and dry. A simple way to dry your air plant is gently shaking the droplets. You can also set the plant on a paper towel to soak off extra moisture. 

Soaking is a great way to deliver moisture to your air plants quickly and effectively. However, you mustn’t leave your plants to soak for too long. Air plants don’t enjoy prolonged soaking and can quickly rot if forgotten.

Also, there are other methods for watering air plants like the misting method. For this, you can use a spray bottle to saturate your plant’s leaves and allow them to soak up the moisture. 

If you want to learn more about how to spray your air plants instead of soaking them, Nick Pileggi has a fantastic YouTube video on using the spray method. He also gives some excellent care tips for your air plants that you should check out. 

Can Air Plants Be Soaked in Tap Water? 

Now that you understand how to water your air plants correctly, it’s time to discuss the best water to use. Tap water is readily available in most homes, making it ideal for watering your houseplants. But what about your air plants? Will air plants tolerate tap water? 

Air plants can be soaked in tap water, but it is not recommended. Most tap water has chemicals that can harm your air plants. Rain, pond, lake, river, or purified water is best for your plant’s health. Natural sources are less likely to contain harmful ingredients that can make your plant sick.

Watering your air plants with tap water isn’t ideal but can be done if necessary. Each city’s tap water will be a little different in terms of quality and safety. So, monitor your plant’s response to the tap water and stop using it if you notice a problem with your plant’s health afterward.

Can You Overwater Air Plants? 

Air plants are relatively resilient, but like all plants, they struggle when their light and water needs aren’t met. It’s no secret that air plants require water to survive, but can you accidentally overwater these plants? 

You can overwater air plants. It is not recommended to leave air plants in water for more than 20 minutes at a time. However, if your air plant is completely dried, a long soak can help revive them. Air plants can also be misted as a form of watering if you are worried about overwatering. 

Unfortunately, overwatering air plants is very much a thing. Luckily, overwatering can easily be prevented by creating a watering schedule and setting a timer whenever you’re soaking your plants. 

How Long Can Air Plants Go Without Water? 

Since air plants are built to survive the harsh dry heat of the desert, it stands to reason they don’t require as much water. However, when kept as houseplants, they need to be watered weekly. But just how long can they survive without being watered? 

Air plants can go about 2 weeks without water. However, infrequent watering can weaken the plant, cause stunted growth, and eventually kill them. It is best to set up a weekly watering schedule and soak your plants for 20 minutes at a time. Air plants need to be dried entirely after soaking. 

It’s important to note that air plants that go without water for weeks will not grow properly unless their watering needs are met. Lack of water stresses any plant, so it’s best to keep your air plants well watered. 


It’s safe to occasionally soak your air plants in water overnight. However, it’s best to avoid this method of prolonged soaking unless the plant is severely dehydrated. Once the plant has initially been soaked, a regular watering schedule is ideal. A good soaking schedule will help your air plants’ health and prevent rotting.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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