By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
As seasons change, we often get the urge to update our decorations. Autumn is one of those times, with interesting ornamentation that reflects the time of year. Perhaps you’ve considered some DIY projects to brighten your outdoors or the inside walls with a fall theme.
Maybe you’ve thought of making a succulent wreath with autumn colors. If so, you’re in the right place, as we’ve been thinking of it as well and realized that now is a great time to create one for display.
Making a Succulent Wreath for Fall
Wreaths are simple to make, sometimes decisions are not. If this is your first wreath-making project, you must decide on what base you’ll use. Grapevines twisted into circles are favorites, simple to make, and something you can buy inexpensively from hobby stores or even your local dollar store.
Some use simple wooden circles with moss that is hot glued onto it. One person uses plastic pipe while another makes a wreath base from plastic trash bags. You’ll find various bases on Pinterest. Think through the weight of the base and if any of it will show through your decorations.
Fall Succulent Wreath
For this particular succulent wreath example, we’ll use a purchased grapevine wreath. This allows for plenty of places to stick our succulent cuttings and to wire or glue our larger succulents. Leave the top mostly bare to get the look we desire. You’ll find many succulent door wreaths just have decorations around the bottom third with a single element on the top right, such as the orange Coppertone stonecrop.
Cover the bottom third with sheet moss also. Hot glue it on and use a sharp tool to make spots to anchor the cuttings. Use 4-inch (10 cm.) firestick cuttings that still have great reddish orange color from summer sunshine. Euphorbia tirucalli, also called pencil cactus, cuttings are available online fairly cheap. I try to keep this plant growing every year just for the beauty of the plant but it’s great to have for projects like this. They don’t overwinter well here in zone 7b.
Secure three to five firestick cuttings in all areas of the bottom part of the wreath. Leave spaces for bigger Coppertone sedum (Note: you can use whatever succulents you have readily on hand too) in between. These may be glued or wired onto the wreath and should point upward and outward. Save one to place on the top right of your wreath, along with a couple of firestick cuttings.
Sunlight for the Autumn Succulent Wreath
Sun is necessary to keep it colorful. In too little light, the orange and yellow cuttings will revert to green and growth will be stretched and spindly. However, too much sun may scorch the plants. Try to hang the fall succulent wreath in a morning sun only area to provide just the right amount.
This easy DIY gift idea is one of many projects featured in our latest eBook, Bring Your Garden Indoors: 13 DIY Projects for the Fall and Winter. Learn how downloading our latest eBook can help your neighbors in need by clicking here.
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How to Make a Succulent Wreath
Craft your own succulent wreath to make a statement on your front door. All you need is a wreath form and a heap of small succulents.
It's easy to mix succulents in an array of types and colors to craft an eye-pleasing tableau of textures and hues. Succulent wreaths made from succulent plants require little water and are a great way to decorate your outdoor spaces. Our step-by-step instructions will help you create your own beautiful succulent accent piece to add your front door.
Fall for Succulents
A hot cup of cider and a slice of pumpkin pie beckon as the blooms of summer fade and the turning of the leaves welcome fall. Whether you’re planning a Thanksgiving feast or just getting in the autumn mood, we’ve found the season’s freshest ideas for decorating with ever-popular succulents for centerpieces, wreaths, and even hostess gifts. The rich color, texture and contrast of succulents turn traditional arrangements into artistic conversation pieces. Plus, they require little water, minimal care and provide long-lasting color for the season. Get inspired by our succulent favorites here, and stock up on more great ideas with our curated list of resources.
Photo by: Design for Serenity.
1. Succulent-Topped Pumpkins
Let the succulents entertain atop pumpkins for an incredibly unique fall display. “It’s possible to use succulents in ways unthinkable with other plants. Just wait ’til you see Laura Eubanks’s moss-and-glue method,” says Debra Lee Baldwin in her book Succulents Simplified (Timber Press). The technique, originated by designer Laura Eubanks of Design for Serenity in San Diego, takes advantage of the way succulent cuttings conserve water in their leaves by gluing cuttings that will root into moss set atop any bowl-shaped object, such as pumpkins. For a step-by-step guide to creating your own succulent-topped pumpkin and other creative ideas with succulents, Baldwin’s book is a must-have reference, or watch Eubanks’s video tutorial.
Photo by: Succulent Solutions.
2. Living Succulent Wreath
Welcome guests at the front door with a living wreath of sculptural, geometric succulents in eye-catching colors. From heart-shaped, square, or traditional round, these low-water wreaths are anything but typical for an entry that shows off a unique love of plants. Get one fresh from Etsy.
3. Table Centerpieces with Modern Succulent Style
Put a modern spin on traditional table centerpieces by combining succulents into floral arrangements. “Succulents have an added bonus that after the arrangement has died, the recipient has something to remember it by planting them in the garden” says Clover Chadwick of Dandelion Ranch in Los Angeles. Clover shares her list of go-to succulents for arrangements and why she likes them:
- “Green rosette” (Echeveria) because it looks like a flower
- “Green fuzzy” (Echeveria coccinea) for elegance because its rich color and soft leafy texture soften a stiff arrangement with a little movement
- “Panda plant” (Kalanchoe tomentosa) for its color contrast. Its silver leaves with black studded edges pop an otherwise bland arrangement into something interesting.
For a useful reference of various types of succulents, check out Armstrong Garden’s plant library.
Photo by: Restoration Hardware.
Take a cue from Restoration Hardware to know what’s hot in tablescapes this season, and you’ll find their 18th C. French Rocaille Clamshell adorning many of their in-store table displays. Inspired by the shell motifs of 18th-century decorative arts and architecture, the natural beauty of the container complements succulents for an autumn-inspired statement piece. Help your plants last as long as possible with this guide to growing succulents in containers from Gardener’s Supply Company.
5. Turn Heads with Succulent Terrariums
Modernize your fall accents with the Wired Drop Terrarium from Terrain. We like its curved wire frame and hand-blown detail that shares a pumpkin-inspired shape. It’s the perfect accent piece that subtly welcomes autumn but also easily transitions from season to season. Group a trio filled with bright green, rusty red, orange and gray succulents for a favorite living display.
Photo by: The Sweetest Occasion.
6. Tiny Details: Succulent Place Settings
Delight your guests with a succulent place card holder reserving a special spot at the table just for them. These super simple but high on style place settings add just the right extra touch to your table, plus they make a great take-home gift for your guests or hostess. Follow the handy DIY tutorial available from The Sweetest Occasion.
Photo by: Flora Grubb Gardens.
7. Family Gathering: Initial Planters
While fall means warm coats and leaf peeping travels, it also means Thanksgiving feasts and family gatherings for many. Surprise relatives with a living monogram perfect for hanging on the wall or propping up for an articulate vertical garden. Flora Grubb Gardens offers letter (and number) forms handcrafted from reclaimed fence boards by a California artist, ready to plant with your favorite succulent species.
Photo by: Grace Design Associates.
Be inspired by the plantings of Margie Grace of Santa Barbara-based Grace Design Associates. Her signature style stands out in the warm orange and red hues of succulents that she mixes in creative containers. According to Margie, “Containers are great for adding height and color, plus they are fairly easy to maintain.” Check out her interview on LandscapingNetwork.com where she offers these tips when selecting succulents for containers:
- Select plants that will grow up and out of the container as well as spill over its rim.
- Try combining Sticks on Fire (Euphorbia tirucalli) and a cascading succulent such as donkey's tail, string of pearls or string of buttons.
- When growing succulents in pots make sure they have good drainage. The soil must be fast-draining and the container needs to have a hole at the bottom.
You can also find more great container ideas in the LandscapingNetwork’s gallery of container gardens.
9. Wine and Dine with this Succulent Bottle Stopper
Pop the cork this season and carry on succulent flair with a succulent bottle stopper. The faux Echeveria sits on a natural cork base for a discreet detail that preserves wine and lasts indefinitely. They also make great gifts.
10. Decadent, Succulent Cupcakes
Adorable and edible, who says succulents have to be real to be enjoyed. These delicious delights combine chocolate cake, graham cracker crumbs and fondant icing for a design so real you have to taste it to be convinced! Pixel Whisk offers a detailed how-to guide with step-by-step photos for creating these mini masterpieces.
11. A Harvest Vibe Tablescape
The floral designers at Tipton & Hurst in Little Rock, Arkansas know how to make a visual statement. Get inspired by one of their idea boards from Pinterest for a Fresh and Modern Thanksgiving Tablescape where elegant succulents are incorporated with the unexpected such as organic kale, metallic birds, and bundles of wheat sheaves. “A fabulous table setting doesn't have to be conventional. If you blend vintage patterns, fresh greens, and stunning textures, you can create a modern table with smart new twists,” says Chris Norwood, design expert and vice president of Tipton & Hurst.
Get Pin Happy: Let the pinning begin! One of the largest idea boards about succulents on Pinterest serves up 2,000 pins. Start here for gathering creative ways to use succulents, cactus and terrariums in the fall and throughout the year.
Shop Succulents: All across America, specialty nurseries and online retailers provide succulent cuttings, succulent gifts and décor. Here’s a partial list derived from top reviews on Yelp and from well-known succulent bloggers referring their favorite shops both online and locally. Find a retailer near you to save on shipping, or plan to visit one of the shops for creative succulent displays and ideas.
- Dig Nursery - Washington
- The Palm Room - Seattle
- Ravenna Gardens - Seattle
- Hammer + Vine - Portland
- Mountain Crest Gardens - Northern California
- Daniel's Specialty Nursery - near San Diego
- Altman Plants - near San Diego
- Waterwise Botanicals - near San Diego
- Succulence - San Francisco
- Terra Sol Garden Center - Central California
- City Planter - Philadelphia
- The Sill - New York
- Botanica Garden Center - Brooklyn
- Dig - Brooklyn
- Ginkgo Gardens - Washington DC
- East Austin Succulents - Austin
- Birdsall & Co. - Denver
- Planted - Denver
- Sprout Home - Chicago
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How to Make a Succulent Wreath With Real, Living Plants
Grow a whole new tradition this year some gorgeous door decor.
Making your own succulent wreath is surprisingly easy. You can pick your favorite shapes and textures from more than 60 plant families. For this wreath, florist Mark Kintzel chose varieties of the genus Echeveria, which resembles a flower with its geometric leaves Sedum, a low-growing, rounded green plant Pachyphytum, whose plump, fleshy leaves have a powdery white coating Portulacaria, compact, green, and shrub-like and Gasteria, a spiky tongue-like plant closely related to aloe.
To craft your own wreath, you’ll need a 15- or 16-inch sphagnum moss living wreath frame ($15, amazon.com) 30 to 35 succulents ($40 for 20, amazon.com) Spanish moss ($4, amazon.com), floral pins ($5, amazon.com), and floral stem wire ($4, amazon.com) plus a screwdriver, scissors, and craft paper or newspaper to cover your work surface.
Cover your work surface with craft paper. Submerge the wreath frame in water for 30 minutes, then remove and let drain for 10 minutes. Attach florist wire to the back of the wreath frame if you plan to hang it.
Take the succulents out of their containers and wipe the soil from each root system. Plan your design by arranging the succulents in a circle the same size as your wreath.
Using a screwdriver, poke a hole in the wreath, slightly spreading the netting and the sphagnum moss so the root system will fit inside. Make a fairly deep insertion, but don’t poke straight through.
To enlarge the opening, snip the mesh around the hole with scissors. Insert the succulent root into the hole and squeeze the sphagnum moss of the wreath around its base.
To anchor the plants, insert a floral pin around a leaf or stem of each succulent. This will keep them in place, especially if you plan to hang the wreath before they are fully rooted in the frame, which takes six to eight weeks.
Continue around the entire frame until all plants are placed and then tuck Spanish moss around the succulents to fill in the wreath, hiding any exposed part of the frame.
Soak the entire wreath in a basin of water for about 15 minutes once a week, or whenever you feel it getting dry. Succulents will also benefit from a weekly misting.
Hang your living wreath in a sunny indoor spot or display it on a sun-splashed tabletop. After the holidays, you can re-pot the succulents into new arrangements and place them around your home.
How to Choose the Right Plants
katerina198 / Pixabay
For a full wreath, you will need tons of succulent cuttings. A collection of 60-100 succulents will fill a 12-inch frame, and you’ll need to make sure the plants you select require similar sunlight needs. While most succulents do well in the shade, some must have full sun.
Collect cuttings from a range of your favorite succulents such as crassulas, aeoniums, echeverias, or graptopetalums. Rooted succulents such as hens and chicks and sedums will work well, and you can also use small vining plants.
Popular succulents for wreaths include:
- Mother of pearl
- Jade plant
Combine an assortment of textures, colors, and sizes to create an interesting display. Make sure the plants or cuttings contain a short stem to attach them to the wreath.
If you already have rooted succulents, you can make cuttings from your existing plants a day or two before you want to assemble the wreath. To take cuttings from a mother plant, begin by removing a small tip of the plant and strip the lower leaves to offer about 1.5-2 inches of stem. You’ll want to make sure the cut ends dry and heal completely before doing so or the cuttings may rot.
Likewise, if you select large plants, you may need to trim the roots a couple of days in advance for them to fit. Until the end can dry and callus, it’s highly vulnerable to rot and disease.
You may not already have succulents at home you can make cuttings from, and that’s totally fine. You can buy succulents from your local garden nursery and pull apart the plants from their pots to remove the soil. This will make it easier to place the roots in the frame of your wreath.
Once the cuttings are prepared, you can figure out how you want to arrange the plants on the wreath.
5- Although I have the wreath hanging in this pic, I immediately laid it down my back patio. This Is The Biggest Tip: make sure your wreath lays flat for at least 1 month, preferably 2, as the roots settle in. You don’t want to hang it on your door or wall & have it completely fall apart. Also, keep it out of any direct hot sun.
I adjusted the succulents a bit to angle them the way I wanted them to grow. This also makes for a bit more interest rather them having them all lined up and growing in a perfect circle. I don’t water the wreath for about a week (remember, I watered the succulents before planting them in the form) and after that time, give it a good drink. By the way, this living succulent wreath project took me about 45 minutes so it’s a quick one. I do a lot with succulents and am always looking for some creative way to use them. How about you – do you have succulent mania too? If so, we’re definitely not alone on this one!