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Why is my Air Plant turning brown?

An air plant that has brown leaf tips or is browning all over can be a sign of a few things going on. Don’t fret — our Grow-How Team has put together a game plan to help you identify possible causes and help your otherwise healthy air plant recover if you catch the damage early.


Most air plants grow in the shaded boughs of trees naturally and are used to only receiving bright indirect light. Do your best to keep them out of direct sunlight as this can cause the plant to completely dry out and turn brown. Bright indirect light can be found in places with an east-facing window or a few feet back from an unobstructed southern or western window. If the southern or western window has something like a sheer curtain, or natural shade from a tree or building outside, the plant can be placed a little closer.


A browning, dried-out air plant is often a sign that you need to focus on watering your air plants more regularly.

In nature, air plants receive all their needed moisture from rain and high humidity, but the dry air of most homes means that regular watering is key for indoor air plants. You should be watering your air plant every week or two, depending on the species.

Air plants need to be watered via soaking; just misting is not quite enough. Fill your sink with water until it’s high enough to submerge the plant, and soak your air plant for approximately half an hour. Place it upside down and let it dry for an hour or more to allow water trapped between leaves to drain out in order to eliminate any possibility of trapped moisture.

If your air plant leaves are turning black or purple and becoming mushy, or your air plant is rapidly losing leaves, it is probably rotting due to excess water. Pull back on watering and be sure the plant is thoroughly dry after soaking.

Air Circulation

Just as their name suggests, air plants require air circulation to thrive. They won’t be able to survive in an airtight container or one that does not have a large enough air hole, as these types of containers maintain a very high humidity that can cause air plants to rot. Air plants can do well in containers such as terrariums as long as they have a large enough opening, but be particularly careful to dry your plants properly before placing them in terrariums or they may rot.

Need more help?

We're confident your Air Plant will be back to normal in no-time, but if you've followed the steps above and things just aren't improving you can contact us here.