By Lisa Rapalus/ Buyer
Tender Succulents: Outdoor / Indoor Gems
Tender succulents come in an amazing array of beautiful colors, shapes and textures and provide endless opportunities for fun gardening projects. Whether planted alone or included in a creative centerpiece or living wreath these beauties are equally happy on your front porch or indoors most of the year. Shorty’s has a great variety of Echeveria, Crassula , Aeonium and Kalanchoe among others to satisfy all your succulent cravings!
They do need to be protected from overly wet and/or freezing conditions so it’s not recommended that you leave them outdoors unprotected over the winter. When kept indoors, put them near a bright window and water sparingly, allowing them to dry out between watering and drain thoroughly. Succulents included in living wreaths or other creative projects that can’t be watered easily, can be misted occasionally to maintain proper moisture.
Fun projects with tender succulents can be made by planting the succulents in a growing medium, or making cuttings that can be glued or wired onto a surface. It’s important to let the cuttings scab over at room temperature for a few days to a week so that they don’t rot before forming new roots. Since succulents store so much moisture in their fleshy leaves, they remain viable and will regrow roots allowing you to recycle them for a different project down the road.
Living wreaths with succulents can be made in a variety of ways. Three dimensional frames are available that can be packed with soil and moss allowing you to plant the succulent starts directly in the wreath. Alternatively a bed of moss can be glued onto a grape vine wreath or wire frame. Once the moss is securely attached, simply arrange and hot glue the succulent cuttings into the moss. Even Christmas wreaths created with fresh greens can be adorned with succulent cuttings. Some of the colorful Echeveria varieties look like beautiful flowers when included this way. Wreaths with succulents planted in a growing medium should be left on a horizontal surface for several weeks to thoroughly root in before hanging vertically. If the cuttings have been hot glued or wired on securely they can generally be hung right away.
A living wreath is one type of vertical garden, but other projects range from a simple wooden frame with wire stretched between it to entire walls planted with tender succulents. Premade three dimensional wall planters can be purchased to make your project quick and easy, or you can let your imagination run wild and create your own vertical piece of living art! The same principals for planting apply. Either plant them roots and all in a growing medium and let them root horizontally before hanging or make cuttings in advance that can be glued or wired onto the surface. The depth that you want the project to protrude from the surface it’s mounted on will often determine the best method to use.
Creative Centerpieces and Table Settings
These can be a beautiful container planted with a mix of succulents or a gorgeous piece of drift wood adorned with moss and succulent cuttings. A fun project that works particularly well for Fall is a pumpkin centerpiece. You can simply carve out a pumpkin, fill the cavity with soil and plant the succulents, however I find this generally turns into a mushy mess in short order. To make a longer lasting creation that isn’t likely to liquefy on your dinner table don’t cut into your pumpkin at all. Instead chose a good keeper variety of pumpkin like Fairytale or Porcelain Doll. Glue a bed of moss onto the top of the pumpkin (varieties with flat or slightly concave tops are easiest) and then simply arrange and glue your succulent cuttings on top. Remember to let the cuttings scab over for several days first.