King Air Plant (Tillandsia xerographica)

King air plant

Considered the king of all air plants, Tillandsia xerographica is one of the largest air plants that can grow up to 60 cm in width! It possesses stunning silvery-green leaves that taper outwards either forming an almost symmetrical rosette or spiralled into a wildly unique form.

Silvery-green foliage (left) & wildly-spiralled king air plant

Native to Central America, the epiphytic king air plant anchors itself high up on tree trucks and branches with its roots, and does well in bright, direct light conditions. Contrary to popular belief that air plants only require occasional misting, they do better when they are fully submerged in water for 5 to 10 minutes – but ensure that they are completely dry after they are taken out.
Watch the video below to pick up some useful tips and tricks on watering your king air plant!

Air plant fully submerged in water

A versatile, ornamental house plant, the king air plant can be used as a centrepiece or in a hanging display since it does not require any potting medium!

King air plant as a centrepiece (left) & as a hanging display (right)

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Botanical Name

Tillandsia xerographica

Common Name(s)

king air plant, giant tillandsia

Plant Type


Mature Size

60 cm in width


Direct light (for optimum growth) and/ or indirect light

Water Fully submerged in water for 5 to 10 minutes or water it liberally, daily. Ensure that it is completely dry immediately after.

Not applicable


A large spike with red and yellow bracts that will last for a period of 6 to 8 months.


No known toxicity

Written by: Agatha Koh, Manager (Education, Programming & Events)

Agatha has spent the last ten years in a green paradise of every kind – greenhouses, orchards, food forests, therapeutic gardens, nature parks. Her days at the Gardens continue to be happily plant-filled as she shares her love for plants with fellow green thumbs and floral fanatics!

This article is part of our Bringing the Gardens Home series.