Air Plants vs Succulents: Plant Care Guide and Tips

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Air Plants Vs Succulents

All of you plant lovers out there, we are going to look at in detail, the difference between air plants and succulents. These two types of plants are from different plant families. 

plant collection

Although they are both great types of plants to grow in your plant collection if you are afraid you don’t have the best green thumb around, there are some differences, and different kinds of care are required for both air plants and succulents.

Let’s first look at succulent plants, their characteristics, and best practices to take care of them to keep them nice and healthy. Then we will take a deep dive into air plants, what their natural habitat is, and instructions to care for them as house plants. 

Succulent Plants

Succulents are so much fun because they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. In recent years, succulents have begun gaining popularity as fun house plants to grow. 

It’s because this type of plant requires very little effort to care for them, and they still thrive. Plus, they are so cute and come in so many varieties, it’s a lot of fun to mix and match them to create your own succulent combinations.

green succulents

The natural climate of succulents, when grown in their natural habitat, is to thrive in warm, dry locations. Think of the desert, when you think of the natural habitat of succulent plants. 

Today, you and I might consider succulents to be fun little house plants to grow, ones that don’t require much attention, to remember to water them often. 

Water Needs of Succulents

Succulent plants require very little water since they are native to dry climates. This is because they are designed to grow in hot, dry locations like the desert. They will actually do very poorly if they receive too much water so that there is excess water. They only need to be watered occasionally, and only need very little water. You can use spring water or tap water to give them a good soak, then let the dirt dry out completely between watering.

When watering succulents, it’s best if they’re watered from the bottom of the plant, but you can also soak them at the base of the plant, then make sure that there is good drainage so that they do not retain too much water. You will also want to make sure that the pot they are in has a drainage hole. 

Sunlight Preferences

Most types of succulents need direct sunlight, or indirect sunlight in order for them to survive. If you’re afraid of squirting the plants, you can always make sure they are in indirect light, so that they still get plenty of natural daily exposure. No matter what, make sure that succulents are exposed to bright light throughout the day so that they can grow and thrive. 

succulents and cacti

Succulent Leaves

Succulent leaves are unique because they are typically more fleshy leaves, meaning that when you touch them they are plump, or even thick. This is because the leaves are designed for water storage. Even though the plants may not be watered very often, the leaves of your succulents suck up the water and store it there so that the plant can use the water reserves to survive. 

Succulents come in a variety of different colors, some have green leaves, and others have blue, or even purple. These various colors are fun to mix and match. Succulents also come in pointy varieties, while others are nice and rounded.

Succulent Propagation 

Most types of succulents can be propagated by leaf cuttings. When a leaf of a succulent is broken off, it can then be sat in a sunny location, and misted with water occasionally, until you begin to see new growth. This new growth should then be planted in well-draining soil, to form a baby succulent plant.


Succulent plants like warm temperatures, or even high temperatures. Since their natural environment is a desert, think hot and humid as their preferred climate. Because of this, they are typically needing to be indoor plants in most locations.



Succulent plants do best in a dry environment. Because of this, they are one of the easiest plants to grow and maintain. They do well with neglect if they are sitting in a sunny spot. You don’t have to remember to water them very often, but when you do make sure to give them a big drink, then let them drain any excess water.

Air Plants

The air plant species is a unique family of tropical plants because it does not need dirt to grow. These plants get most of their nutrients from the air around the plants. 

Air plants come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and different colors. These unique plants can be found growing in tropical climates as their natural environment. They especially like tropical rain forests, because of the warm temperatures, and high humidity.

air plants in baskets hanging

Air Plant Native Habitat

In their natural habitat, air plants can be found growing in a variety of locations. You can find them growing out of rocks, on the sidewalk, and or on tree branches. One of the specific places where I have seen them growing is in the branches of trees in the southern United States along with tillandsia usneoides or Spanish moss. 

Types of Plants

As we mentioned, there are many different varieties of air plants. Here are some of the most common names of air plants. 

  • tillandsia xerographica
  • xeric air plants
  • tillandsia ionantha
  • tillandsia maxima

One of the unique features of air plants is that they have spiky leaves that kind of curl around. These curly leaves are attached to the surface of wherever they are growing, to hold them in place, often suspended in the air.

The air plants’ leaves are often thick where they join the base of the plant, then thin out as they go out from the base. Some air plants have leaves that are very curly, while others are flatter. 

These ornamental plants can also vary in color. While most of them are green, there can be other colors present such as pink, or even purple depending on the variety of air plants. These beautiful plants are a fun addition to grow indoors, even if you don’t live in a tropical location.

In addition to simply looking beautiful, air plants also have a purpose. Air plants help to filter carbon dioxide and remove other airborne toxins and odors from their environment. They have to lower the amount of dust, and mold, and decrease allergens. So not only do air plants look cool, but they also serve a purpose.

Environment Requirements for Air Plants

Air plants thrive when they live in humid conditions. The high humidity helps to keep them moist so that they only require a small amount of water to survive. 

In addition to high humidity, air plants also enjoy good air circulation to help them thrive. Lastly, air plants like to be exposed to some sunshine. Otherwise, they are very low-maintenance plants.

air plants on white

How to Grow Air Plants Indoors

Depending on the specific type of air plant you have, most air plants enjoy being exposed to indirect sunlight each day, so they have enough light, preferably several hours of sunshine. 

They also like to be in humid locations, if your location isn’t very humid, consider spraying them occasionally with a spray bottle, to keep them moist as a regular watering.

A fun way to house your air plants indoors is to grow them inside of glass globes, or even in a sea urchin.

Care Requirements

In summary, in order to maintain healthy air plants, they prefer to be kept in a humid environment. If you do not have a humid environment, indoors, or in a sunny location, consider using a spray bottle occasionally to help keep them nice and humid. 

You also want to be sure that your air plants have enough air circulation so that they can stay happy and healthy. Your plants do not require any dirt to grow.

air plants hanging

Air Plants Compared To Succulents 

Both air plants and succulents are fun, and easy plants to grow. In most areas, air plants and succulents will need to be grown indoors, unless you happen to live in a warm location. Succulents prefer hot and dry environments, whereas air plants prefer hot and humid environments.  

These plants are both a great choice and make great gifts because they are so easy to grow and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. It’s very difficult to go wrong, with either succulents or air plants when you are looking for a fun addition to your plant collection.

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About the author

Hi! My name is Faith, I am the creator behind My Sweet and Saucy. I have so many different things that I enjoy doing, and this is my space to share them all with you. I really hope you enjoy it! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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