Daphne Lee and David Lanxner at the work station in their Bethesda home, where they turn succulents and moss into works of art Credit: Photo by Melanie Landsman

A lot of us fell in love with air plants during the pandemic—they bring the outdoors in, and even the blackest thumb can keep them alive with an occasional misting of water.

David Lanxner and his wife, Daphne Lee, were perfectly poised to benefit from that trend. In 2017, the Bethesda couple teamed up to start Potahto Home, an Etsy-centered business that offers creative air plants, stylish pots and moss wall art so tactile it practically begs you to reach out and touch it.

“I think more and more people are getting into the idea of having green homes,” Lanxner says. He and Lee, both in their 50s, make that as easy as possible—air plants require at least some watering, Lee points out, but Potahto Home also offers moss products that don’t, and may be better suited for those unable to keep up with plant maintenance. The company’s hanging moss art prices range from $22 to more elaborate pieces for $175.

From the start, the couple hoped to fuse Lee’s business acumen with Lanxner’s creative skills. She walked away from a product research and development career in the telecom industry to plant their startup; a few years later he left his home-renovation design job so they could dig even deeper. They create their products in their Bethesda home and in a rented space in Silver Spring. Though based mainly on Etsy, their business (found at potahto.com) also sells plants and accessories and holds air plant workshops at Locally Crafted in Gaithersburg. They aim to get into more local stores. 

The company name is a play on “potato,” which Lanxner and Lee figured is a simple food consumed worldwide, transcending culture and boundaries—something they hope their products will do. They say they’ve shipped orders to clients as far afield as Australia, Europe, the Middle East and South America, to the tune of about 2,400 products per year. 

Floating Forest Art Gift with preserved mushrooms and moss, $44 at Potahto Home’s Etsy shop Credit: Photo by Melanie Landsman

Of course, many of the distinctive pots and plants stay right here. “I’m very drawn to natural decor,” says Kensington resident Stephanie Blank, who discovered Potahto Home after buying five of the couple’s plant wall works of art at Locally Crafted. “It’s so cool that every piece is so unique.” She contacted Lee, and Potahto Home ended up creating custom decor for Blank’s Delaware beach house. 


Potahto Home’s most popular product, the corkbark wall hanging, features several live air plants mounted on virgin cork bark. The one-of-a-kind products range from $36 to $76  depending on size, and have been featured in the pages of Do it Yourself, a Better Homes & Gardens magazine. 

For these hanging wall holders, Lanxner and Lee source cork locally, handpicking every piece. It’s all 100% renewable product harvested from cork oak trees, they say. The next step is letting the unique features of each slab of bark guide the couple in where to place the air plants. Lee arranges the air plants on the bark, and Lanxner drills holes to fasten them with wire. “The excess [wire] is stored in the back, so as the plant gets bigger over time, you can adjust the wire and make the loop a little bigger,” Lanxner says.

Lee and Lanxner collaborate on the design for all of their items, aiming to create a “nature scene that’s hopefully really immersive,” Lanxner says, “so you feel like it’s a portal into the natural world.” 


This story appears in the May/June issue of Bethesda Magazine.