Do Air Plants Have Roots?

Actually, yes! Air plants do grow roots, although they do not serve the same purpose as the typical plant root.

Air plants use their roots for attaching themselves to rocks, trees, shrubs, or wherever they live. Unlike other plants, they do not need roots to take in nutrients or water – they do that all through their specialized leaves.

AirPlantRoots01
A new root is growing from this T. ionantha (right side). You can also see an older root (left side).

If you don’t like the look of the roots, you can cut them off without harming the plant. In fact, many retailers do just that.

However, I usually leave my roots alone. Sometimes the roots provide helpful ways of attaching or mounting the plant to its decorative home. Also, if you are lucky enough that your air plants start to grow into clumps, the roots help keep all of them together.

If your air plant starts to grow roots from its base, take that as a compliment that it is happy where you have placed it and wants to stay there!

AirPlantRoots02

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2 thoughts on “Do Air Plants Have Roots?

  1. I am reluctant to put air plants in glass globes, seems like they won’t get enough air flow. I see you sell them that way. What do you think about this?

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    1. I have luck with them in globes with open holes. I only keep them inside and away from direct light. I also live in Florida where our general humidity levels inside and out are higher. I would never put them in sealed containers, however. But, like you, I have also heard some individuals against putting them in globes at all. I think it all depends on the unique environment and level of hands on care. If you decide to try one, let me know if you have success!

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