How to propagate an Air Plant

Most plant parents have a slightly weird obsession with Air Plants as they are completely unique and require such different care compared to the majority of our urban jungles.

How to propagate an Air Plant

Most plant parents tend to have a slightly weird obsession with Air Plants as they are completely unique and require such different care compared to the majority of our urban jungles. When it comes to propagating Air Plants, it’s actually pretty simple as they grow pups that can be propagated to form new plants.  

In this post, you’ll find the complete Air Plant propagation guide, including a step by step process, what tools you’ll need when propagating and all of our top tips to help you along the way.

Why propagate Air Plants?

Whether or not you choose to propagate the pups on your Air Plant is completely up to you as they can grow forever attached to the mother plant. However, there are several reasons why you might choose to remove and propagate them. Firstly, it’s a great way to get more plants without spending any more money. Who can say no to free plants! But if you already have too many plants in your home then these pups can make great gifts for friends and family. They are low maintenance and look great in every room – the perfect present! 

Another reason that you may be forced into propagating your Air Plant is that you have noticed your mother Air Plant is starting to look unhappy and unhealthy. If this is the case, it might not be long until the pups on your Air Plant also become wilted and die. So you might want to propagate the Air Plant pups to keep them alive!

What tools will I need to propagate my Air Plant?

This is the easy part – especially because you really don’t need much to propagate Air Plants


  • Healthy and mature Air Plant

  • Sharp scissors/shears

  • Container with fresh water

What methods can I use to propagate my Air Plant?

There is only really one way you can propagate your Air Plants and that’s through removal of pups. These are small Air Plants which will grow off the base of your mother plant once it is mature enough. It’s probably the easiest method of propagation and there are very few things that can go wrong if you follow the right steps.

How to propagate Air Plants through pups


  • 1

    Locate healthy pups to propagate 

    The only issue you might have when propagating Air Plants is that your plant isn’t mature enough to grow pups. This happens at the end of the bloom cycle which happens on Air Plants at different times. Some types of Air Plants will bloom after one year, others will take 3 years before growing any pups. 

    If your Air Plant is at the point of maturity where it is growing pups, you’ll notice them growing out of the bottom of your plant. Usually a few will grow at once out of the mother plant. You want to make sure that the pup is about one third the size of the mother plant. This will mean it can happily survive on its own. Any smaller and you risk the propagation being unsuccessful.

  • 2

    Remove the pup from the mother plant 

    Start by gently tugging at the pup to see if it can be easily removed from the mother plant. Ideally, you want the pup to come away without needing to cut it off. This tells you that the pup is ready to be separated from the mother plant and can grow on its own. 

    If it doesn’t come away from the mother plant by just tugging at it, and the pup is large enough to grow on its own, then you can slice it off using a clean sharp knife. If you aren’t sure where to cut, we recommend cutting more from the mother than the pup.

  • 3

    Give your Air Plant pup a bath 

    After removing the pup from the main plant, give it a very quick bath in fresh temperate water. It should be fully submerged for about 10 seconds. Make sure the water is not hot or extremely cold as this will shock and harm the delicate Air Plant pup and could damage it long term.

  • 4

    Find the right spot to grow your new pup 

    Air Plants need bright but indirect light to thrive so make sure you place it in the right environment. Then just continue your usual Air Plant care and over time it may even start to grow new pups of its own. That’s the natural cycle of Air Plants.

Air Plant Propagation FAQs

Propagating Air Plants is definitely easier than some other plants but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its own set of problems, questions and difficulties. It’s really important to understand the basics, such as time of year, equipment and fertiliser needs. Below you will find all the answers to your Air Plant propagation questions!

Common problems when propagating Air Plants

Propagating houseplants will never have a 100% success rate and you may encounter some problems along the way. But don’t worry, we have learnt the hard way to bring you all the different problems that might arise as well as what this means and how to solve them!

We hope you have found this complete guide to Air Plant propagation useful. There aren’t many steps involved but it’s important that you follow all the advice to give your Air Plant propagation the best chance of success. With the right methods, care and environment you shouldn’t have any issues!

Check out our Air Plant care guide for more information on how to care for your new plants after you’ve propagated them.


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