Planting Succulents in Circles

Succulent wreaths are easy decorations for your own enjoyment or gifts.

Well-made wreaths can be very attractive. They can be bought or made in various sizes, with a selection of succulent plants, and an endless variety of designs. In addition, a wreath’s appearance evolves interestingly as the plants mature.

Evergreen wreaths are traditionally displayed during the Christmas holiday season, and we recently have added succulent wreaths to that tradition. There is nothing particularly seasonal about succulents, but why not establish a new tradition?

These items can be costly to buy because they take time to create. The required skill level is not great, however, so succulent wreaths are good candidates for do-it-yourselfers. Many people treat making such wreaths as a craft project, but I see it as a gardening project. Ultimately, it involves the propagation of succulent plants by planting cuttings.

Start early to have your wreath ready when you want to display it. If you want create your wreath for the holiday season, start now.

The basic components are the circular metal wreath frame with a nylon mesh tube filled with sphagnum moss. These items are often available in a choice of diameters in garden centers and craft stores.

I saved a fourteen-inch diameter frame from a long-gone evergreen wreath and found 12 x 48 inch green plastic floral netting in a craft store. I could wrap the netting around sphagnum moss or coir (coconut fiber) and secure it with copper wire to fabricate a tube for rooting succulent cuttings. I should soak the base in water to prepare it for the cuttings.

The next ingredient is a collection of small un-rooted cuttings, perhaps 100 for a 12-inch wreath. Popular choices are rosettes from such succulent plants as echeverias, graptopetalums, aeoniums, sempervivums and others. For contrasting forms, good choices include sedums, crassulas and kalanchoes.

The least expensive source of cuttings would be your own garden or a friend’s garden, but you could to seek them out at garden center or nursery. A good local source: Succulent Gardens—The Growing Grounds, in Castroville (http://sgplants.com/).

Insert the cuttings into the moss or coir, then keep the wreath still and shaded for several weeks while the cuttings develop roots. Keep it moist with occasional soaks. With very basic care it could last for several years.

For more detailed advice, search the Internet for “how to make succulent wreaths.”

The ultimate challenge is to make an interesting design for your wreath. Combining random cuttings is fairly easy, but creating a recognizable pattern involves more planning.

More

Here’s Martha Stewart’s instructions for making a succulent wreath.

Here’s the Living Succulent Wreath Tutorial by Succulents and Sunshine. This website includes lots of images and a time-lapse record of wreath development.

Another example—with good details—by Pretty Prudent.

Debra Lee Baldwin, author of fine books on succulents, favors buying a succulent wreath instead of making your own, mostly because of the retail cost of cuttings. Here’s her advice on maintaining a wreath.

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