5 Ways To Save An Underwatered Air Plant

An underwatered air plant will become drooped, browned, and dull in color. Air plants require regular watering to ensure they stay well-hydrated, so it is important to be aware of the signs that your air plant is underwatered.

Air plants (Tillandsias) are a type of plant that is able to survive without being planted in soil. This means that air plants don’t have roots for absorbing nutrients, so they absorb nutrients from their leaves instead.

This article explains how you can recognize the signs of an underwatered air plant and how to save your air plant if you think it is underwatered. If you’re worried about a thirsty-looking air plant, read on to learn what to do!

How Do I Know if My Air Plant Needs Water?

Here are the most common signs that your air plant needs more water.

Curling or Drooping Leaves

If you notice your air plant’s leaves are curling up in a U shape, it is telling you it needs to be watered. Air plant leaves may also droop if they need water.

Brown Leaf Tips

An underwatered air plant will develop browning at the tips of its leaves. Their leaves may also become wrinkled if they are too dry.

Your Air Plant Looks Dull

Underwatered air plants may also take on a faded, dull color.  

If your Air plant is turning red, however, here are some reasons why it’s happening.

Can You Save an Underwatered Air Plant?

If you have been neglecting your air plant and notice it is looking sickly, you may be worried that it is too late to save. However, it is possible to save an underwatered air plant as long as you take action in time.

This type of plant is very resilient, so it is possible to restore them to its former glory.

The next section outlines how to save your air plant from underwatering.

Tillandsia air plant on a white background, creative flat lay minimal gardening concept

How to Save an Underwatered Air Plant

Remove the Dead Leaves

Before you try to save your air plant, remove the dead and dying leaves. You can also trim the affected leaf tips.

Fill a Large Bowl, Bucket or Sink With Water

Fill a vessel with enough water so that your air plant will be fully submerged. Place your air plant in the water – you may need to weigh it down to stop it from floating up.

Soak Your Air Plant

Soak your air plant in a large bowl for 12 hours to rehydrate it. Once you have finished soaking it, lay it somewhere to dry.

Repeat the Process if Needed

If your air plant is still looking dehydrated, you can repeat this process again, but only soak for 4-5 hours this time.

Fertilize Your Air Plant

Once you have finished soaking and drying your air plant, give them a spray with some fertilizer to help encourage regrowth. You should be spraying your air plant with fertilizer once a month.

How to Avoid Underwatering Your Air Plant

Give Them a Regular Plant Bath

Soaking your air plant weekly or fortnightly is the best way to water your air plant. To do this, fill a large bowl with enough water to submerge your air plant and soak them for 60-60 minutes. Lay them out to dry at least 1-2 hours before putting them back in their homes.

Spray Your Air Plant

Give your air plant a good misting a few times each week, in between soakings. Because they don’t have roots to absorb nutrients from the soil, air plants absorb water through their leaves, so it’s important to give them a proper drink rather than a light misting.

Create A Watering Schedule

Create a calendar to remind you when you need to water your plants. The best time to water your air plants is in the morning so that they have all day to dry off properly.  

Let Them Dry

It’s important to let air plants dry completely when you have finished this process, especially if they live in a terrarium. If your air plant doesn’t dry out completely, it may develop root rot.

Don’t Overwater!

While it is important to make sure your air plant is getting regular watering, be careful not to overdo it. If you notice your air plant is turning black, this is a sign it is getting too much water and is starting to rot.

FAQ: Why Does My Air Plant Look Dry?

If your air plant looks dry, it’s probably because it is thirsty. There are some easy steps to follow to water air plants correctly. Make sure you’re aware of the signs to look out for if you’re worried your air plant is underwater, and follow the appropriate steps to save it.


If you notice your air plant’s leaves are becoming dull, brown, or curled, it is most likely underwatered. It is possible to save an underwatered air plant by submerging it in water for 12 hours. The best thing you can do to make sure your air plant doesn’t become too underwatered is to soak it for 30-60 minutes at least once every two weeks.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.