How much light do air plants need is a question that may be bothering your mind. In this regard, it is helpful to know that the optimal environment for air plants is one that provides them with access to indirect sunlight or one that features bright indoor or office lighting.

Light for Air Plants

In this in-depth article, we will cover the light requirements of air plants, tips and tricks to expose it correctly, and what happens if the right light is not provided to the plant.

Continue reading to gain further insight into the most effective methods for air plant care.

How Much Lighting Do Air Plants Need?

Air plants need robust and filtered lighting that is indirect, as from windows that face south or north for eight hours. Additionally, air plants indoors need either artificial or natural light that isn’t harsh for them when they are surviving.

What Are the Optimal Lighting Factors of Air Plants?

The optimal lighting factors of air plants are the type of air plant you have, the temperature and the humidity around the plant, in addition to the direction that it has been set to. Also, consider the hours it has been exposed to, the current season and the outdoor exposure.

As was just discussed above on the frequently asked questions about light for air plants growth, the optimal environment for them is one that provides both filtered and indirect exposure to sunlight. 

– Type of Air Plant

Different types of air plants would require different sun exposures, and since there are big varieties of this plant, then it is essential to know the type first, and then to distinguish their light requirement. The latter is in accordance to the plant’s strength of living longer.

Desert-dwelling air plants are able to survive significantly under more sunlight and are also referred to as the xeric species. Typically, their leaves are covered with fine silver hairs, which act as a shield against the damaging effects of direct exposure to sunlight. 

Type of Air Plant

If you have no other choice but to position your air plant in an area that receives direct sunlight, then you can select a variety of xeric air plants and gradually increase the amount of sunshine they receive each day.

On the other hand, for the forest-dwelling mesic, the only type of sunlight that can be received is light that has been filtered through a tropical canopy. Mesic air plants typically have glossy, broad leaves that are designed to soak up as much sunlight as they possibly can. On the other han, if you wish to grow mesic air plants in a spot that is exposed to direct sunlight, you can always create a canopy over them by surrounding them with sun-loving houseplants that have densely packed leaves.

– Temperature and Humidity

The amount of light your tillandsias can receive is highly influenced by the temperature and humidity in your home, regardless of the species of tillandsia you have. Your plants are going to be considerably more hypersensitive to sunburn when the temperatures are higher and the conditions are drier, in addition to the light being harsh. 

They will be substantially more resistant to the damaging effects of direct sunlight if the temperatures are moderate, the humidity is high, and you continue to keep your air plants well-watered. Together with this, their blooming is stimulated by exposure to large amounts of filtered natural light, and not artificial ones. Which means that they might be able to live if they are kept in situations with little light, but they won’t grow or bloom as quickly.

– Direction

Due to the fact that this plant is so dependent on the surroundings in your home, the direction of the window where you place your air plant affects the light it receives. In most cases, southern windows are the most effective choice because they allow the most light into the room. 

The windows that would be face east have the potential to be quite helpful due to the fact that the sun’s intensity is often lower in the morning. Because of this reason, it is possible for you to put your air plant in a location where it will be exposed to some direct light.

Direction of Light

It’s possible that your air plants live in this environment as long as the humidity is high enough. Place indoor plants on windows that face north which can be effective as well, provided there is nothing to block the sun’s rays, such as another structure or a tree. 

Keeping in mind that it will be indirect light, as a result to keep it safe, you will have to take advantage of as many light hours as possible. If you put your air plant in a window that faces west, it won’t get enough sunlight throughout the day, and then in the afternoon. 

It will be scorched by the sun’s intense heat, making it the most hazardous orientation for your air plant; thus you have to protect it with some shade. When you place it as such, the plant may get stressed in a prolonged time, which would lead to different results, such as turning dry and losing color.

– Hours Exposed

The number of light hours that are required for air plants to reach their full potential differs depending on whether the light is natural or artificial, as these would cause a change. 

They will value around eight hours of indirect light if it is the natural light that is provided to them. Which means that you must provide and keep it approximately twelve hours of exposure if the only light available is artificial.

At the very least, air plants require a few hours of intense, indirect sunlight each day in order to thrive and be content. The ideal placement would be between one and three feet away from a window or one and two feet away from an artificial light source. 

If you are watering air plants adequately, they will be able to withstand higher temperatures, more prolonged exposure to light and more direct sunlight. How to tell if air plant is healthy is by looking out for curly and dry margins, which indicate stress, so steer clear of places with poor lighting. When these margins are crispy and look a bit burnt, it means that you must take action with the right light.

However, all in all to these generalizations, the quantity of sun that your tillandsia can tolerate is dependent on whether it is a mesic or xeric species, as well as the humidity level in your home. 

– Seasons

Change the exposure of light for the plant as per the season. Air plants thrive best from April until October when exposed to light that is bright but filtered. How big do air plants get in this season depends on the exposure you provide

Only during the months of November through March should they be exposed directly to the sun. Basically, during the more scorching months of summer, that is when you will need to exercise extra caution, as we have emphasized in earlier discussions, as the plant would start to dry and burn.

Overall, what you must keep in mind is that if you have air plants, you will need to consider humidity in addition to the sunshine they receive during the dry months. Additionally, warm or even hot wind can very quickly cause plants to lose their moisture content due to the lack of air circulation and cause further damage caused by heat.

– Outdoor Exposure

If you keep your air plant outside, you need to consider other factors that can have an impact on the light that reaches the plant, such as reflections from light-colored buildings or metal fences. 

Outdoor Exposure

These factors can reduce the amount of light that reaches the foliage, however, as mentioned, this type of light must be one that is not coming in a harsh way. You must remember that this is of utmost significance if you are already exposing your air plant to strong, direct sunlight.


1. Are Air Plants Low Light Plants?

Even though air plants are not typically thought of as low-light plants, they may be able to survive in environments with less light. But to answer, can air plants survive in low light

If you want the low-light air plants to grow larger, generate shoots, and eventually flower, you will need to provide them with artificial light in addition to the natural light they receive. They won’t be able to blossom until you give them that opportunity.

2. How Long Can Air Plants Survive in Complete Darkness?

Air plants are known for their hardiness and low maintenance requirements during their life cycle. They are known for surviving for up to two weeks in transport boxes without any form of illumination or access to water.


You are now aware of the amount of light that should be provided to air plants. Everything that we have learned about in this article is summarized in a nutshell further down in this section.

  • Air plants, also known as Tillandsias, thrive in bright, indirect light with a filter, such as that which comes through windows that face either the south or the north.
  • The houseplants that do best indoors are the air plants that are located closest to our kitchen window. This window receives some partial shade from the trees that are located nearby.
  • Because they can thrive in conditions with little light, air plants are marketed as the perfect plants for bringing some greenery into spaces that are otherwise lacking in vegetation. Air plants are able to survive with very little light, but they thrive when they are exposed to a great deal of bright indirect light.
  • The amount of sunlight that your tillandsia can withstand is determined not only by the species of tillandsia but also by the relative humidity of the environment in which it is kept.
  • Because of its extreme sensitivity to the conditions present in your home, the amount of light that your air plant is exposed to is directly proportional to the orientation of the window in which you choose to display it.

After reading this informative guide, be confident that you will have a thriving plant in your home now that you know how to properly expose these plants to sunlight. Therefore, give it the care outlined in our tips, and it will remain lush green throughout the year.

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