There's a reason I'm not a full-time craft blogger. For one thing, I'm a hazard with a hot glue gun. But the main reason is that I tend to underestimate the amount of time and energy crafting demands. Sure, gardening requires a lot of attention and effort, too—but when I plant a garden or design a container, it tends to resemble my initial vision. Crafts? Not so much. Obviously, someone forgot to add the artistic genes to my DNA.
My project today, though, combined a bit of both: a little crafting, a little planting.
When I first saw Better Homes and Garden's pumpkin/succulent centerpiece last year, I couldn't wait to make my own. Unfortunately, life happened, and it didn't grace our holiday table. I did, however, play with succulents in the spring and created this.
Today, armed with leftover succulents from Tyler and Valerie's wedding, I was ready. The autumn centerpiece project was ON.
Does it count for Floral Friday if you use succulents that have been languishing, unattended, in your backyard? Why yes. Yes, I believe it does. Today's Floral Friday creation: the succulent pumpkin.
The biggest challenge? Finding a pumpkin I liked. (Be careful. Some of the pumpkins are already mushy at our local stands.)
The project itself is fairly simple. You'll need:
Pumpkin. Select the size based on where you plan to display it. Ours will ultimately be part of the table décor for the holidays. A flat-topped pumpkin, like the Cinderella variety, makes arranging the succulents simple.
Succulents. Choose a nice mix of varieties, much as you would select plants for a container: a few taller “thriller,” plants; a complementary selection of round, “filler” succulents; and, of course, some trailing “spillers.”
Before we get started, here's one of the biggest benefits you'll get from making this centerpiece: every single leaf that you snip from the succulent plants or that inadvertently breaks off has the potential to become a brand new plant. Whatever you do, don't throw them away! I'll post later about how to propagate those leaves so you'll have a slew of new plants for your next succulent project. For now, set them aside in a tray to allow the cutoffs to callus (dry). You'll be happy that you did.
Also, before you begin, you might want to remove any lap pets from your work space. I worked outside to create my centerpiece. Let's just say—Oreo's tail may or may not have been glued to a succulent.
Ooohhh...there's my next project: succulent pets!
Let's get started, shall we?
Using garden clippers, cut the pumpkin's stem so that it's short—but don't damage the pumpkin. My pumpkin was stem-less, so that saved a step for me. Wipe off any dirt, and dry well.
Place newspaper on your work surface. I forgot. Don't be like me. Spray adhesive onto the top/center of the pumpkin. I made sure the adhesive extended about two inches from the center.
Place sphagnum moss onto the adhesive area on the pumpkin's top, about 1/2” thick. You want enough moss to easily tuck in the succulent cuttings, but you'll ultimately want to cover all the moss, so plan according to how many plants you have.
Arrange your succulents into groups: tall, round, and creeping. You'll want to arrange your plants just as you would when designing a container: a tall, slightly off-center “thriller”; many round, short “fillers”; and finally, draping, flowing “spillers.”
Snip the succulents to the heights you want, no soil or roots attached. After a few weeks, they'll form new roots. Place tacky glue on the stem, and position the plant into groupings that you like. Start with the tall plants, then work your way out. The goal is to cover all of the moss. (Good grief. Somebody needs a manicure.)
Once you have your main plants in place, use smaller cuttings to tuck into and cover the patches of exposed moss. Remember to add glue to hold them into place.
Because my pumpkin will be a centerpiece, I made certain that all sides look presentable. Ta da! All exposed moss is covered, and I'm pretty happy with the groupings of the plants.
Am I finished? Of course not! I have six, adorable little white pumpkins to dress up!
I originally wanted to have only one rosette succulent for each mini pumpkin, but it looked shabby. I added a few additional cuttings to each mini pumpkin, but I wasn't as diligent about covering every bit of moss. (I was beginning to experience crafting fatigue, and by then, my fingers were well stuck together.) Plus, it was almost time for Michael's school bus to show up. I needed to unglue my fingers before homework time.
After you've finished creating your centerpiece, put it on display!
Once you've created your succulent pumpkin centerpiece, wait a week for the cuttings to callus. Then water the plants using a spray bottle, throughly moistening the moss. Make sure to wipe off any water that may be on the bottom of the pumpkin so that it doesn't rot.
Alternate the pumpkin's site to keep it looking good: a week in the house, then move it outside (if temps are above 40 degrees) for fresh air and sunlight. Always check it before bringing it back in the house to make certain it's pest free. Also, placing it on a trivet will help keep airflow under the pumpkin, making sure that moisture doesn't get trapped and extending its life.
After the holidays, remove the succulents from the pumpkin. You can create a new project, like a wreath, or simply plant them in a container.
I'm pretty happy with how the pumpkins turned out. The kids thought they were cool, and that's all that matters, right?!
Of course, now they want to know when we're getting our pumpkins for Halloween.
At least there's no glue involved with our jack-o'-lanterns! Whew. I prefer sharp knives over sticky fingers any day.
Have you made a succulent centerpiece? If you have, share a photo of your project on the Garden Delights Facebook page!