Grow and Care With Air: Air Plants & Succulents

Photography by Kim Bates

In recent years, succulents, air plants, and cacti have gained visibility in pop culture. Succulents have appeared in wedding decorations, college dorm rooms, artsy Instagram photos, and much more.

Suzanne Cody has made a living off these trends by working at the store, Moss, in Iowa City, Iowa. Moss is a woman-owned business with a sister store in Cedar Rapids called “Moss Cedar Rapids.” Moss sells different house plants, mainly being succulents, cacti, and air plants. Moss also provides classes and workshops to teach new plant owners on how to care for plants.

As a plant expert, Cody explains that succulents, air plants, and cacti are all similar but they are not the same. Each of these plants relies on a lot of sunlight and minimal watering to survive. The difference between succulents and cacti versus air plants is that air plants do not need a pot or soil in order to stay alive.


“Air plants like bright indirect light, though they don’t need as much as succulents. They generally live on trees under the canopy, so that bright dapply leafy light,” Cody says. “Generally, air plants need to be submerged in a bowl of tepid water for about 15 or 20 minutes once a week. They then need to be set upside down (allowing excess water to drip from the plant) and dried completely, or they’ll collect water in their crevices and rot. If their space is very dry, spritz with water once or twice between submersions.”


Caring for succulents is a bit different than caring for air plants. On average, you should water your succulent every few weeks with a small amount of water. “The amount depends on the size of the plant, but most students buy tiny ones, so maybe two teaspoons at the roots once every two or three weeks,” Cody says.

There are so many different things that you can do with succulents. They are a house plant with a wide variety of options because they come in many different designs, sizes, and colors. Here are just a few ideas of how you too can decorate with succulents:

  1. A Succulent Bouquet

Since succulents come in many different colors and sizes, you can easily incorporate the succulents into a beautiful bouquet. A succulent can be your main center piece of the bouquet or a fun detail around other flowers.

  1. House Decor

If you have a succulent or multiple, you can place them in different items and use them to decorate around your house. By planting them in a mug or an old toy, it adds a unique and beautiful look to your home.

  1. Small Gardens


If you want multiple succulents in one area, plant some in a small glass bowl to make your own succulent garden within your home. You can also create a vertical garden for a living alternative to wall décor.

  1. Hanging Plants

If you purchase smaller succulents, plant them in a small pot and attach some durable string with hot glue to have a hanging plant within your household or outside. A free hanging garden in your own home.

  1. Live Jewelry

You can hand create or buy live jewelry that incorporate succulents. There are a variety of different jewelry pieces that can involve succulents, like rings, necklaces, and earrings. You can find how to make them yourself here. 

The succulent trend has been booming for a couple years. Succulents are fun, small and colorful little plants that are an easy addition to any dorm, home, apartment, or office.

“I personally think it’s an excellent trend—learning to care for something is an important skill, and plants are an excellent place to start,” said Cody.

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