Air Plant Sunlight Requirements

Generally, all Air Plants grow best when exposed to bright indirect sunlight. Varieties that are light silver (e.g. Tillandsia brachycaulos, T. xerographica) in color tolerate more direct sunlight than darker green (e.g. Tillandsia bulbosa, T. tricolor) varieties. No matter which type of Air Plant you grow, none of them will thrive for long in a room that does not have at least 4-6 hours a day of sunlight. 


Best Rooms To Grow Air Plants

Place Air Plants within 1-3 feet of a bright indirectly lit window. Often a spot in an east- or west-facing window will provide just the right exposure. South-facing windows typically are too hot and will burn the delicate leaves of most Air Plants placed directly in the window. However, Air Plants can be placed across from or to either side of the window to receive filtered bright light. A bathroom or kitchen that has indirect bright light will also provide a higher humidity level that helps Tillandsia stay hydrated between waterings. 

Tillandsia may need to move away from a southern exposure during the winter or summer months depending on how hot the room is. Air Plants grow best in temperatures between 50 - 80 degrees F. Hotter temperatures may dry out the leaves and increase the risk of scorching.


Providing Supplemental Sunlight To Air Plants

Air Plants can dress up an office, apartment, or basement with interesting greenery. Unfortunately, these areas may not have suitable light levels, even when the indoor lights are left on for long periods. Fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs lack the full spectrum of colors that specialty LED and fluorescent grow lights have. Using a full-spectrum grow light can be helpful when natural light is unavailable. And they come in many different sizes and configurations. Place the light 6- 36 inches from the plant and provide light for up to 12 hours a day.  

Sunlight Needed For Growing Air Plants Outdoors

Growing houseplants outdoors is a great way to boost their natural light and humidity levels. Most houseplants put on all of their annual growth during the warmer months of spring and summer and make a great decoration for a sheltered patio or deck. The light is much more intense outdoors, and full sun outdoors can be up to 50% brighter than bright direct light indoors. To prevent Air Plants from being scorched or stressed when moving outside, slowly acclimate them to the light by placing the plant in a somewhat shaded, but bright location for a week or more. Outdoors, the best spot for Air Plants will be under the dappled shade of a pergola, tucked in the shade of a larger tropical plant, or under full shade during the afternoon.

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 Author Robbin Small - Published 3-22-2023