Air Plant Temperature and Humidity Tolerances (Essential Guide)

Few houseplants are as unique or unusual as air plants (Tillandsia spp.). While caring for these plants is relatively low maintenance, providing your air plants with warm, humid conditions is vital for optimal growth. In this article, we’ll run through everything you need to know about air plant temperature and humidity tolerances, including optimal ranges for care and plant growth.

Air Plant Temperature and Humidity Tolerances (Essential Guide)

Air Plant Temperature and Humidity Tolerances – The Essentials

Air plants thrive in warm, humid conditions, preferring temperatures between 55 and 85ºF (12 to 30ºC). Avoid letting temperatures drop below 45ºF (7ºC). Most air plants also need moderate to high humidity levels between 50 and 70%. Protect your air plant from cold or dry drafts at all times.

Typical Temperature and Humidity Ranges That Air Plants Receive in Their Native Habitats

Typical Temperature and Humidity Ranges That Air Plants Receive in Their Native Habitats

Air plants are native to the southeastern United States, parts of Central and South America, and the Caribbean. These plants inhabit various habitats, from temperate forests and tropical rainforests to deserts and rocky areas. As such, the ideal temperature and humidity range for air plants can vary from species to species.

Most air plants hail from mesic habitats, forests, or rainforests with moderate to high humidity levels. Some air plant species live in xeric habitats with dry conditions like deserts.

Generally, air plants with silver or gray leaves need high humidity and full sun. Air plants with greener foliage can tolerate cooler temperatures but require moderate humidity.

When caring for air plants, try and provide similar temperature and humidity levels that each species requires in its natural habitat. In USDA Zones 9 to 11, you can grow air plants outside in sheltered, humid locations that receive partial shade.

Signs That Your Air Plant is Exposed to the Wrong Temperature and Humidity

Signs That Your Air Plant is Exposed to the Wrong Temperature and Humidity

Air plants don’t grow in soil, so they rely on the surrounding air to get water and nutrients. As such, air plants can be more sensitive to the wrong temperature and humidity levels than other types of plants. Some common symptoms of incorrect temperature or humidity include:

Brown, Dry Leaf Tips

If your air plant has brown, dry leaf tips, the surrounding humidity may be too low. This may be because the plant isn’t watered enough or is left in direct sunlight. Drafts can also reduce the humidity, causing brown leaf tips.

Curling or Drooping Foliage

If your air plant has curling or drooping leaves, it could be exposed to temperatures that are too high or too low. This can also be caused by direct sunlight. Air plants do not respond well to sudden temperature changes, which can also cause drooping foliage.

Lower Leaves Dropping Off

If an air plant starts losing its lower leaves, it may be suffering from temperature stress. Sudden temperature changes can shock your air plant into shedding its leaves. Maintain warm, stable temperatures and keep the plant away from drafts.

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing foliage is another sign of sudden temperature variations (though it can also be caused by overwatering or underwatering). These problems may be caused by incorrect temperature or humidity levels around your air plant.

Ideal Temperature and Humidity Considerations for Air Plants

Ideal Temperature and Humidity Considerations for Air Plants

Air plants do best in warm, humid conditions with stable temperatures. These plants need temperatures ranging from 55 to 85ºF (12 to 30ºC). However, air plants can still survive if temperatures don’t drop below 45ºF (7ºC).

Normal household temperatures should be sufficient for air plants, but keep a close eye on them. Use a thermometer to check the temperature around your air plants. If air plants get too cold, they can start shedding their lower leaves as a defense mechanism.

Air plants require moderate to high humidity levels between 50 and 70%. Plants that have gray or silver leaves will require higher humidity levels. Air plants are epiphytes that absorb moisture from the air around them, so humidity is essential.

Warm, humid bathrooms are ideal for air plants as long as the plants receive bright, indirect light. If you can’t put your air plant in a bathroom, use a humidifier to maintain the correct humidity levels. Misting can also help, but it won’t provide enough humidity on its own.

Keeping air plants away from direct afternoon sunlight also helps maintain the correct humidity levels. Direct sunlight causes air plants to use more moisture, which reduces the surrounding humidity. Provide bright, indirect, or filtered sunlight from east, southeast, or south-facing windows.

Air plants must be protected from cold or dry drafts as these can drastically lower the surrounding temperature and humidity. Air plants respond poorly to sudden changes in temperature and may start drooping or shedding leaves. Keep air plants away from drafts caused by air vents, open windows, and radiators or heaters.

How to Boost Humidity in Your Home

How to Boost Humidity in Your Home

Air plants need moderate to high humidity levels, which means that the average household humidity won’t be high enough. Thankfully, there are a few ways to increase the humidity around your air plants.

The best way to boost humidity for your air plants is to use a humidifier. This helps you control the humidity levels around your air plants. Humidifiers are relatively cheap and you can find small ones that don’t take up too much space.

Air plants aren’t well-suited to pebble trays because these bromeliads don’t grow in traditional nursery pots. Placing an air plant on a pebble tray will do little more than encourage overwatering. Avoid using pebble trays with air plants.

Although misting your air plant can provide a small temporary boost to humidity, it won’t be sufficient on its own. For the best results, use a humidifier and supplement it with occasional misting.

Caring for Air Plants in Spring and Summer

Caring for Air Plants in Spring and Summer

Spring and summer is the main growing season for air plants. However, warmer conditions and increased sunlight intensity can affect the temperature and humidity around your air plant.

During spring and summer, the air should be more humid, especially if you live in Zones 9 to 11. However, because the sunlight will be more intense, your air plant will use more moisture if placed in direct sunlight. If you live in an arid climate, it will be harder to maintain moderate to high humidity around your air plant.

Water your air plant approximately once per week during the spring and summer. Keep air plants away from direct sunlight by placing them about 3 to 5 feet away from a window. Use a humidifier to maintain the correct humidity levels.

Caring for Air Plants During Winter

Caring for Air Plants During Winter

During the winter, air plants will naturally slow down and enter a dormant period. However, they still require moderate to high humidity and warm temperatures. The air tends to be drier in winter, so maintaining the right humidity is even more crucial.

Keep your air plant away from hot, dry drafts caused by heating vents or radiators. These drafts will dry out the air around your air plant, causing serious problems. Continue to use humidifiers to maintain warm, humid conditions around your air plants.


Air Plant Temperature and Humidity Tolerances FAQs:

What Temperature is Too Cold for Air Plants?

Air plants can tolerate temperatures as low as 45ºF (7ºC). Anything below that is too cold for air plants.

What Temperature is Best for Air Plants?

Can Air Plants Survive in High Humidity?

Can I Put My Air Plant Outside?

How Do I Know if My Air Plant is Healthy?


Wrapping Up

Air plants are fantastic, low-maintenance plants as long as they receive the right temperature and humidity levels. Air plants need warm temperatures between 55 and 85ºF (12 to 30ºC). Anything below 45ºF (7ºC) is too cold. Air plants also need moderate to high humidity levels between 50 and 70%. Protect air plants from cold or dry drafts.

For more, see our in-depth guide on where to position air plants for optimal care and feng shui benefits and 10 amazing uses and benefits of air plants.


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