The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Planter for Your Air Plants

Choosing the right planter for your air plants (Tillandsia) is important to provide them with proper support, adequate airflow, and an attractive display. Here's an ultimate guide to help you choose the perfect planter for your air plants.
Air plant in a wood planter.

Air plants, also known as Tillandsia, are a unique and fascinating plant species. They have captured the hearts of many people with their ability to grow without soil, drawing nutrients directly from the air. While their growing requirements may be unconventional, choosing the right planter for your air plants is still crucial for their long-term survival. The right pot enhances the visual appeal of your air plants while supporting their growth and overall health.

So, how do you choose the perfect planter for your air plants? What makes a perfect planter for your air plants depends on many factors, such as shape, size, design, material, compatibility, and functionality. You must ensure the planter has good drainage, retains moisture, and is not too big or too small for your air plants. You must also ensure that the pot is not prone to staining, rotting, or rusting. The planter you select should accommodate your air plants comfortably.

This guide highlights the factors you must consider when choosing the perfect pot for your air plants. Read on to find out everything you need to know.

Factor #1: Drainage

Proper drainage is crucial for air plants since they dislike waterlogging. In fact, air plants can die in soggy soil.

Ensure your pot has at least one hole at the bottom to allow adequate drainage and prevent water logging.

If you use a decorative container without holes, consider adding rocks or pebbles to the bottom to enhance drainage.

A xeric air plant.
Ensure your pot has at least one hole at the bottom to allow adequate drainage.

The primary role of the rock layer is to absorb the excess water from the potting mix to prevent root rot. Waterlogged air plants will ultimately suffer from irreversible rot, mold issues, and fungal diseases.

Factor #2: Size and Shape

Choosing the right size container is also crucial to the well-being of your air plants. These plants require a certain amount of air circulation to thrive.

Therefore, the size of your container must provide enough space for the plants to enjoy optimal air circulation.

The container size you choose will be determined by the size of your air plant and the potting mix you need.

To determine the size of your air plant, measure the circumference of the plant’s root ball and height.

Typically, you should choose a container that is at least twice the width of the air plant and at least three times the height of the plant. This will ensure your plant has enough room to thrive and attain maximum potential.

For instance, opt for a shallow bowl or cup-shaped container if your air plant is small and compact.

On the other hand, if you’re dealing with larger plants, opt for planters that come with multiple drainage holes and are deep enough to accommodate the roots of your plants.

A air plant near the window.
Opt for a shallow bowl or cup-shaped container if your air plant is small and compact.

The shape is also essential since it will impact the stability of your air plants. A wide-based planter with a short and sturdy stem provides much more stability than a tall, narrow pot.

There are different shapes available, such as cuboid, cone, bowl-shaped, or round pots. Cuboid planters are best suited for larger air plants since they provide better support to the roots.

Cone-shaped pots, on the other hand, work best with small and compact varieties.

Factor #3: Container Design

You should consider the aesthetic appeal when selecting a pot for your air plants.

A properly designed planter will enhance the beauty of your air plants and add to the interior décor of your home or office.

For instance, choose a bright decorative pot if you’re dealing with larger air plants. On the other hand, smaller and compact varieties can look great in glass containers or ceramic pots.

Factor #4: Material

The material of your pot is an essential factor to consider when selecting a planter for your air plants. The most common materials used for plant pots include concrete, terracotta, ceramic, plastic, or metal.

Concrete planters are great for outdoor use because they are durable, breathable, and long-lasting. Concrete also offers good insulation and does a great job when it comes to keeping air plants warm in relatively cool climates.

However, these pots are relatively heavier and don’t come in fancy designs. Therefore, it isn’t easy to find something that is appealing.

Terracotta pots are quite popular among gardeners because they are highly porous and allow excess water to flow through easily.

This prevents waterlogging of air plants. However, terracotta pots are fragile and prone to cracking due to extreme weather conditions or accidental dropping.

Soaking method for air plant
Ceramic planters offer a great combination of durability and aesthetics.

Ceramic planters offer a great combination of durability and aesthetics. They come in many shapes, sizes, patterns, and colors, making them suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

Since ceramic pots are not porous, they can trap moisture, which may lead to root rot. Therefore, make sure to select a pot with adequate drainage holes.

Plastic planters are great for indoor and outdoor settings as they provide ample space for air circulation. They are also lightweight and easy to move around. Plastic is also inexpensive and lasts longer than terracotta or ceramic.

However, these containers have a limited lifespan and can easily be damaged by extreme temperatures or direct sunlight.

Metal planters are great for outdoor use since they provide good drainage and are highly durable. They also come in many shapes and sizes, making them ideal for growing small and large air plants.

However, metal pots don’t come with good insulation properties and can get very hot when exposed to direct sunlight.

Glass containers look fancy and can be key decorative elements in your home or office. However, you must remember that glass is not a porous material and is highly fragile.

Factor #5: Weight

The weight of the planter is another vital consideration.

Larger and heavier pots are difficult to move and may require a sturdy surface or plant stand to hold them in place. On the other hand, smaller and lighter planters are easy to move around.

Air plant on a shell.
Plastic pots are the lightest, while ceramic and terracotta planters can be relatively heavier.

Therefore, it is essential to consider the weight of the pot you select for your air plants, especially if you plan to move them around regularly.

A lightweight and portable container will be easier to transport from one location to another if necessary.

Typically, plastic pots are the lightest, while ceramic and terracotta planters can be relatively heavier.

Concrete pots are probably the heaviest, while metal pots are relatively lightweight but can become too hot to touch under intense sunlight.

Factor #6: Compatibility and Functionality

In addition to the abovementioned factors, check if the planter you select is compatible with your air plants. The pot you choose must not be too big or small for your plant.

This will ensure that your air plant has sufficient space to spread its roots and enjoy optimal growth.

You should also consider the functionality of the pot you select. A properly designed planter will allow enough airflow to keep your plants healthy and provide ample drainage for excess water.

An air plant hanging.
Check if the planter you select is compatible with your air plants.

Pots with multiple drainage holes are best suited for this purpose.

Consider how easy the pot is to fill and maintain. Some containers have built-in trays that make it easier to water your air plants.

This makes maintenance a breeze and ensures that your plants get the water they need without any hassle.

Factor #7: Maintenance

Finally, when selecting a planter for your air plants, take into consideration the maintenance requirements.

Some pots are easier to clean than others, while some may require frequent cleaning due to their design and material.

Additionally, make sure that the pot you select is not too difficult to move around when it’s time for repotting or watering.

Extra Tips

It is essential to keep in mind that your air plants may outgrow the planter after some time and need repotting. When selecting a planter, consider the ease of repotting when the right time comes.

Some planters have a relatively narrow opening, making transferring the air plants from the current pot to a new one difficult.

Consider using a saucer for your container to protect your furniture or flooring from water spills or stains. This will help keep your air plants healthy and extend the planter’s lifespan.

Also, check for any signs of deterioration in the planter before you purchase it. Keep in mind that air plants are highly prone to root rot.

Therefore, any chips, cracks, or any other signs of wear and tear can severely compromise the safety of your plants.

If your preferred container is made of clay, check for chips and cracks; if it is made of wood, check for signs of rot before buying it.


Selecting the right planter for your air plants is crucial in ensuring they stay healthy and thrive.

With the right container, you can ensure that your air plant enjoys optimal growth and longevity. Consider these factors when selecting a pot to ensure you get the best planter for your air plants.

Last update on 2023-09-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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