7 Easy Air Fern Care And Growing Tips

air fern

Last updated on September 18th, 2022 at 03:51 pm

The air fern is a new type of plant that was created through air purification technology. The air fern has the ability to filter out particulate matter including dust, pollen, and smoke from the air in your home or office space. It also serves as an attractive addition to any room because it looks like a regular houseplant while doing its job!

An air fern is a small, two-leaved plant that grows in tight clusters and has unusually long roots. It’s often used as a houseplant or an accent piece in commercial facilities. The air fern plant itself can be placed on top of the soil, set in a dish with water, or hung upside down directly above the water source.

This “air” part of its name does not mean that this plant is light or weightless; rather it refers to its unusual root system. Air ferns have fine roots that grow down into the water and absorb nutrients from the air.

The air fern plant likes high humidity and should be kept in a medium to low-light environment. Roots of the air ferns do not like being exposed to light; this will damage them and prevent the plant from growing properly. If your air plant is not attached to anything, find a way to hang it upside down above the water source.

They come in different designs and colors, making them a unique addition to any home decor. Unlike common plants, Air Ferns don’t require soil or rocks for support because they grow on air! The fern has small holes at the bottom of the design which allows it to be hung from your ceiling or wall without damaging it – perfect if you’re looking for something to hang above your desk at work!

Origin and description

air fern

The air fern was first discovered and brought to Europe in the 1600s by a Spanish explorer. Over time many people grew fond of this plant due to its rarity and uniqueness. These plants were often given as gifts to others for special occasions such as weddings because they symbolized love and affection. The air fern also has many different meanings depending on the culture that it is given to.

Air ferns are a unique addition to your home decor. They come in all shapes, colors, and sizes which makes them ideal for any room of your house or office space you desire!

Air ferns can live in just about any room of your house, but the best place for them is near a window or another source of natural sunlight. It is important to remember never to expose your plant to direct sunlight because it will cause scorch marks on the leaves of your plant.

Air fern propagation

The air fern plant can be propagated from its spores or by laying cuttings in water. It grows best when it’s kept warm and moist — but make sure you change out the water every few days or so.

The new plants can be propagated by division, and this is easiest to do when they are still small. Larger air ferns tend to have very brittle roots (which makes them hard to divide without damaging the plant), and older ones may not produce sufficient offsets for propagation.

Propagation by division is best done in early spring before new growth starts, or in late summer. Air ferns were originally propagated by the division of mature plants, which is still the method that will produce the healthiest and fastest-growing new plants. The plant can also be propagated from cuttings taken just above a leaf joint (where it forms its small round leaves) from an existing plant, and from rooted ones.

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This can be done in the spring or summer (in the northern hemisphere) when new shoots are about 3 inches long. Rooting them is best done under cold conditions (e.g. a refrigerator), but it will live as well under warm conditions in water with no added plant food.

When taking cuttings, always remember to leave one or more leaf joints on the cutting when you divide it away from a parent plant. These will quickly grow roots if they are kept in water. You can take cuttings at any time of year, but they should not be allowed to dry out before rooting.

When rooted, cuttings have root systems consisting of 1/8 to 1/4 inch long roots, they can be planted in pots or tubs with soil.

Rooting is easiest when new growth is actively growing and you have warm air and a lot of humidity around – so it’s best done outdoors in summer under the shade of a tree.

Air fern care

air fern

Air fern requires low care and will grow between 12-18″ in height. The plant is also great for people who have allergies, as it doesn’t require soil or direct sunlight to thrive. It’s a unique gift that can be placed anywhere and still flourish.

Light requirements

The air fern does well under low light conditions, so you will have to check whether the lighting in your living room is right for your plant. The air fern is a tropical plant. So if you can’t give it good lighting, then try keeping your plant under a sunny window where the plant grows best and focus on giving this plant as much water as possible when you notice that the leaves start to droop.

A south-facing window provides bright sunlight for most of the day, and this is the ideal place for your air fern.

Otherwise, an east- or west-facing window with direct morning sun is good.

It does not matter if your air fern grows under fluorescent lights as long as it receives some natural light. When you are going on vacation, set up a grow light to ensure that enough light reaches your plant. At most, the plant should only get a couple of hours of direct sun per day.

0-10% is low light, 10-50% is medium-light and 50-70% is bright or high light. Measure with a lux meter to be sure. For more information on indoor lighting for houseplants refer to the article on houseplants lights.


The air fern prefers humid and tropical conditions which allow you to water it less often than other plants but when watering, does so very thoroughly. The plant is tolerant of under-watering, although this can cause foliar damage to your plant if the soil dries out completely between watering.

Water when the top inch of soil is dry and soak the pot in deep enough water that water runs out from the bottom hole.

Soil/potting mix

If you’re not going to spring for a kit, air ferns can do just fine in regular soil! Air ferns are one of the few epiphytes that don’t require special or boggy conditions. They will be happiest when they aren’t constantly sitting in the water though so make sure your plant is draining properly.

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A good mix we recommend is about one part potting soil and three parts perlite. You can add more or less depending on how spongy you like it! We do not recommend using peat-based soil for air ferns, as they will rot in the usual acidic environment of this type of medium.

If you use a pot without drainage holes, make sure to place it on top of something like pebbles (to allow airflow) and then add soil. This way the water will drain into the rocks but not flood your plant!

The most important thing is that you don’t want any standing water in your container for too long. If there is too much water, the plant will begin to rot and eventually die.


Fertilizer is not necessary for air ferns, but an occasional dose of diluted liquid fertilizer will help it to grow faster!

If you do use fertilizer remember that they are slow-growing plants and adding too much can be harmful. We recommend using about ½ the recommended dosage on your package instructions (or even less). You can always add more in a month or so if you want to speed up growth!

All fertilizers are different though, and the best way to know what is best for your plant is by doing some research on specific brands.

In the meantime, try to avoid any fertilizers with high levels of nitrogen. This will help you prevent your plant from becoming “leggy” and growing long and spindly instead of short and bushy! If this happens it can take a while for the plant to recover so we recommend doing some research on specific brands to find one that is best for your plant.


Air ferns like it between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature drops below this range your plant will go dormant (and eventually die if kept in these conditions for an extended period of time).

If you are somewhere that gets colder than 45 degrees, then we recommend moving your plant to a warmer area so they don’t get too cold.

If you are somewhere that gets hotter than 90 degrees then we recommend moving your air ferns to a cooler area so they don’t get too hot! Too much heat can also kill them, but unlike with not enough light, it is less likely for an air fern to burn out in this way (especially if kept indoors).

If the temperature changes too much, your plants can begin to go into shock. If you notice that its leaves are drooping it’s probably because of a change in temperature! When this happens slowly move it from one area to another and wait for recovery. Most times they will recover as long as there isn’t any other damage done to the plant.

The best way to keep your plant happy is by keeping it at room temperature and away from any windows! Make sure not to place near a heater or air conditioner because the temperature changes will affect its growth.


Air ferns like it between 30-60% humidity. If the humidity is too low or high they will not be able to absorb nutrients and may eventually die!

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If you live in a dry climate we recommend misting your air fern once every two days with room temperature water (or putting them outside on humid mornings). Air ferns thrive best in a humid environment but not too much direct sunlight as this will cause the fronds to dry out and brown over time.


Pruning is a very important part of caring for air ferns. Because they are epiphytic, the roots attach to surfaces and don’t grow in soil, so you must use scissors or sharp shears to trim them back from time to time. The best way to do this is by cutting off small sections at a time while leaving about an inch attached to the plant. This ensures that there is still some root system left and encourages new growth.

When to repot

Air ferns can grow fast and wide. When you need to repot them, it’s best to do so early in the spring before new growth starts. You should also avoid planting air ferns too deep or trimming away roots since this might damage their root systems.


Air ferns need very little in the way of fertilizer. You can add a couple of drops each week, or once every other month and still keep your plants happy and healthy.

When to fertilize air ferns

Since air ferns are epiphytes, they absorb nutrients through their leaves. You don’t need to feed them unless your particular variety of air fern requires it. If you do decide to fertilize yours with a liquid fertilizer, be sure not to overdo it since this can damage them. A quick spray once a week is enough to keep your plant healthy and looking great.


air fern

Air ferns will enter a dormant period in the winter when there is less light available. This usually lasts from October to February, depending on your climate and how well-protected your air fern was over the summer months. During this time it’s important that you don’t allow them to dry out! However, they do still require a small amount of light, so it’s best to place them somewhere that they won’t be in full darkness.

In the spring when new growth appears you can start watering your air fern again – just remember not to over-water! Air ferns don’t require a lot of water but if their roots are sitting in water for too long it will kill them.

Multiple trunks

Some air ferns have multiple trunks, although this is fairly rare. These are sometimes called “pups” or “offsets” because they are the result of a mother plant sending out new shoots from its base which then take root and become separate individuals in their own right!

Flowers & Fragrance

Many air ferns have both male and female flowers, which you will see at different times during the year. In general, the males bloom first followed by a short period of time when there are no blooms on your plant before it gives way to its females.

Air ferns have fragrant flowers that attract pollinators such as bees or moths.

Growth rate

Air ferns are a great option for people who do not have the time or desire to take care of them. They grow quickly and require little maintenance.


They are not toxic to humans or pets, making them a good choice for households with children and pets.

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USDA Hardiness Zones

They can grow in USDA hardiness zones as low as five and they are deciduous, meaning that they lose their leaves during the winter months.

Pests and diseases

There are no pests or diseases specific to air ferns. The most important pest that affects all types of peperomia is scale insects, but they can be easily controlled with a spray containing neem oil. Rotating fungicides for other houseplants may also help control fungal outbreaks when problems occur in humid environments during the winter.

Common air fern questions:

Will my air fern flower?

Most will not, but it’s worth checking to see if yours has male and female blooms which are on at the same time! Some varieties can have both male flowers and females blooms together which is called being monoecious – these are usually more common in tropical areas.

What is the difference between a male and a female air fern?

The males typically bloom first, after which they die off as soon as their pollen has been released into the wind – this period will be short so if you see your plant’s flowers, it’s best to take note of when they were produced so you can come back to this article for more details! The females will produce fruit during the summer, which are small green pods containing seeds.

How do I care for my air fern?

The most important thing is to make sure it doesn’t dry out in the winter when there’s less light available. Keep it somewhere that it won’t be in complete darkness but don’t give it too much light either. In the spring when new growth appears, you can start watering your plant again – just remember not to over-water!

What environment do air ferns need?

Air ferns are used to growing on trees and rocks so they actually prefer higher humidity than most houseplants. They usually come from tropical areas, although some do originate in more temperate regions of the world like South Africa or California – these are still considered to be air ferns though!

How often should I water my air fern?

When you first get your new fern, it’s best to soak them in water for about half an hour and then allow them to dry out completely before watering again. As a general rule, air ferns don’t require much water – if their roots are sitting in water they will begin to rot which is fatal, so err on the side of caution!

Do air ferns need fertilizer?

It’s best to give them organic liquid fertilizer once or twice a year, but it won’t make too much of a difference if you don’t. Air ferns will absorb their nutrients through the water that’s left sitting on them after they’ve been watered so any extra fertilizer is simply washed away.