Desiccation following prolonged air exposure challenges survival of aquatic plants during droughts, water drawdowns, and overland dispersal. To improve predictions of plant response to air exposure, we observed the viability of vegetative fragments of 10 aquatic plant species (Cabomba caroliniana, Ceratophyllum demersum, Elodea canadensis, Egeria densa, Myriophyllum aquaticum, Myriophyllum heterophyllum, Myriophyllum spicatum, Potamogeton crispus, Potamogeton richardsonii, and Hydrilla verticillata) following desiccation. We recorded mass loss, desiccation rate, and plant fragment survival across a range of air exposures. Mass loss accurately predicted viability of aquatic plant fragments upon reintroduction to water. However, similar periods of air exposure differentially affected viability between species. Understanding viability following desiccation can contribute to predicting dispersal, improving eradication protocols, and disposing of aquatic plants following removal from invaded lakes or contaminated equipment.