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Thanksgiving Centerpieces Using Succulents and Other Drought Resistant Plants

Updated on May 13, 2016
anglnwu profile image

Flower crazy and flower power are my incentives for this series of flower-related articles. I make flower arrangements for all occasions.

This Thanksgiving succulent centerpiece is all ready to take center-stage and hog the limelight.
This Thanksgiving succulent centerpiece is all ready to take center-stage and hog the limelight. | Source

Succulents here, succulents there, succulents everywhere. It seems that succulents are now the rage, judging by the selection at Home Depot and the local nurseries like Walt Anderson and Armstrong. Even Costco carries chunky pots of succulents. Namedropping aside, it goes to show that succulents are showing the way to a whole new level of plant appreciation. Why is that? It seems that California is in severe drought and succulents may be one clever way to conserve water. After all, these hardy survive-anything greens are the camels of the plant world and unlike the camels, they can look pretty while water-deprived. For long periods of time. Some as long as a month. So how's that for water conservation. Brilliant!

Actually, I've been in love with succulents way before they became popular. I've used them in my floral arrangements and centerpieces. Because they're low maintenance, I love using them. I don't have to deal with wilting flowers and finicky leaves.

This thanksgiving, I've decided to put together a pumpkin centerpiece using succulents. Many of them are from my yard, while a few came from farmer's market.

Succulents don't need much attention, though they're natural attention grabbers.

Succulents look naturally beautiful, with or without flowers.
Succulents look naturally beautiful, with or without flowers. | Source

If you're ready, let's get started. Thanksgiving is not going to wait.

Gather your supplies. It's easy to find pumpkins at this time of the year: grocery stores, pumpkin patch, farmer's market. At Trader's Joes, they sell interesting looking ones, from the ones covered with knobby goose pimples to ones that look like a shapely water bottles. As for the driftwood, I found it at a floral supply store. For the rest of the stuff, look to craft stores.

Supplies

  • Pumpkin
  • A piece of driftwood (I found one at the floral store that shape like a tree)
  • Oasis
  • Wire cutter
  • Scissors
  • Floral tape
  • Aluminium Foil
  • An assortment of succulents

Necessary Essentials

Essentials for the project: oasis, hot glue gun, floral tape, floral scissors, glue sticks, aluminium foil.
Essentials for the project: oasis, hot glue gun, floral tape, floral scissors, glue sticks, aluminium foil. | Source
The star of the arrangement, a pumpkin and a piece of driftwood.
The star of the arrangement, a pumpkin and a piece of driftwood. | Source
  • Succulents

Succulents are ridiculously hardy, Most have fleshy leaves, designed to store water for long periods of time in arid conditions. Otherwise known as fat plants for obvious reason, some succulents also utilize their stems and roots to thrive in the most unfavorable of conditions. Others have needle-like leaves to reduce water loss. They possess an unusual and quirky kind of beauty that can be irresistibly appealing to those who admire such beauty. I'm one such captive - slain by their diamond-in-the-rough enigmatic allure.

I use a variety of succulents to give the centerpiece texture, interest and character. I've included a number of them:

  • Crassula
  • String of pearls
  • Portulacaria afra "Variegata"
  • Echeveria
  • Sedum
  • Jovibarba
  • Aeonium
  • Pachyphytum
  • Panda Plant (kalanchoe tomentosa)
  • Sticks on Fire
  • Dudleya

Know Your Succulents

Some succulents are shaped like baby toes (Fenestraria), some like butts (Lithorps, you know how to make a statement), others have leaves that look like paws (hello, Bear paws). Succulents have swag, they have character and they know how to defy norm. Get to know them, you're soon wonder why you ever overlook them in the first place.

Succulents

Any assortment of succulents. You can buy them from nurseries, farmers markets or steal a couple from your friend's backyard.
Any assortment of succulents. You can buy them from nurseries, farmers markets or steal a couple from your friend's backyard. | Source

There are many ways to assemble a succulent pumpkin. I did it my way. Watch video found below for the way it's usually done.

How to Assemble a Succulent Centerpiece:

  • Using a hot glue gun, glue the tree branch to the stump of the pumpkin. I placed the trunk so that it rests naturally across the pumpkin. That way, it doesn't take much glue to hold it securely.
  • To keep the pumpkin from rotting, I keep the pumpkin dry by placing an aluminium foil barrier between the oasis and the pumpkin.
  • You may have to cut oasis into blocks so they sit snugly against the tree branch. Depending on the size of your pumpkin, you may need fewer or more oasis.
  • Fasten the blocks of oasis with floral tape.
  • You may choose to add moss to the edges of the oasis for a finished look. I skip this step as I know I'll be packing the succulents tightly, so there will be no unsightly gaps between the plants.
  • Time to give it some water. Drizzle water on the oasis with a measuring cup. I didn't wet the oasis first as it makes it easier to work with when it's dry.
  • Once the oasis has soaked enough water, without water dripping down the sides, simply insert succulents into the oasis. In some cases where the succulents do not have a stem long enough, you may have to insert a floral wire (gauge 24) into the stem to lengthen it before inserting it in.
  • Cover the oasis completely with succulents. The trick is to use taller succulents closer to the tree trunk, allowing the smaller, more delicate ones to grace the edges.
  • As you can see, I use some trailing type succulents such as the string of pearls to drape the pumpkin, giving it a softer look.
  • To make it magical, I hang glass terrarium on the branches. Light it up with a tealight and enjoy the sparkle at night.
  • I also choose to hang a larger glass terrarium containing an airplant, a drought-resistant plant that belongs to the family of plants called Tillandsia.

Building the Structure to house the succulents.

Build  the structure to accommodate the succulents.
Build the structure to accommodate the succulents. | Source

Airplant sitting Inside a glass terrarium

 I hang an airplant on the branches for added interest.
I hang an airplant on the branches for added interest. | Source

A closer look at succulent centerpiece.

A tealight and an airplant help to make this centerpiece magical for Thanksgiving.
A tealight and an airplant help to make this centerpiece magical for Thanksgiving. | Source

Pumpkin with Sunflowers Thanksgiving Arrangement

Plug in some seasonal fall flowers and it takes on another appeal.
Plug in some seasonal fall flowers and it takes on another appeal. | Source

This succulent centerpiece can last for a month of two. Water it gently once a week and it will maintain a fresh look. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Another Thanksgiving Centerpiece with Seasonal Gourds and Succulents.

Look closely to discover the use of succulents as fillers. They provide a vibrant pop of color. Rosemary (also considered drought-resistant) makes a good filler too.
Look closely to discover the use of succulents as fillers. They provide a vibrant pop of color. Rosemary (also considered drought-resistant) makes a good filler too. | Source

How Type of Thanksgiving Centerpiece Do You Prefer?

See results

This Thanksgiving, make a centerpiece that will make a big statement: Water Conservation can be beautiful.

All rights reserved; no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without prior permission. Copyright 2014 @ Angeline Oppenheimer

Comments

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  • Phyllis Doyle profile image

    Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

    Lovely photos and great instructions. I love your ideas for these unique centerpieces.

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

    Incredible photos! I love succulents and these are definitely interesting uses of them for Thanksgiving. Voted up, beautiful and sharing!

  • poetryman6969 profile image

    poetryman6969 2 years ago

    Tips on plants that don't need much water are always welcome.

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

    Delightful ideas! Incorporating drought resistant plants in Thanksgiving arrangements obviously adds interest on every level. Thanks for sharing your work with us!

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 2 years ago

    Phyllis Doyle, thanks for your positive comments.

    heidithorne, I love succulents too much! Glad you find them interesting.

    Poetryman, yes, they don't need much water or attention. How nice.

    Rtalloni, always good to hear from you. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

    Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

    What a lovely idea! My father loves succulents so I will be showing him this project!

  • RoadMonkey profile image

    RoadMonkey 2 years ago

    Beautiful! And such a creative way of using different kinds of plants. I am not "into" centrepieces but this looks like something I would enjoy having a go at.

  • mySuccess8 profile image

    mySuccess8 2 years ago

    You have guided us with clear instructions on creating this impressive art and craft masterpiece. This has opened the way for finding and completing variations to the ones you have shown. Congrats on Hub of the Day!

  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    Really pretty things! I now have a new appreciation for succulents. Congratulations on your HOTD honor!

  • Kristine Manley profile image

    Donna Kristine 2 years ago from Atlanta, GA

    Beautiful! I love the succulents. The arrangements are great. Congrats on the Hub of the Day.

  • mary615 profile image

    Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

    Congrats on HOTD! I love Succulents. I live in Florida, and we have air plants that grow wild on the trees; they have a large red spike bloom. This is a great idea for Thanksgiving! I love the piece of wood you included, too.

    Voted UP, etc.

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

    Back to say congrats on your Hub of the Day award--no surprise here! :)

  • Sed-me profile image

    Sed-me 2 years ago from An undisclosed location.

    Those are amazing. You're very talented.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

    Absolutely stunning. Congrats on this beautiful HOTD. Well deserved. Pinning this one!

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

    I thought this was a gorgeous hub when it first came out! So deserving of Hub of the Day. Congrats and Happy Thanksgiving!

  • swilliams profile image

    Emunah La Paz 2 years ago from Arizona

    Great HOTD I love the variety centerpieces are beautiful and creative. Voted up and tweeted out!

  • Easy Exercise profile image

    Kelly A Burnett 2 years ago from United States

    Stunning! I love succulents and have for a long time but have never seen them utilized so creatively. Awesome!

  • tamarawilhite profile image

    Tamara Wilhite 2 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

    Beautiful centerpieces

  • aesta1 profile image

    Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    What beautiful centrepiece. I haven't thought of including succulents before. They add so much beauty to the arrangement.

  • snakeslane profile image

    snakeslane 2 years ago from Canada

    anglnwu, congratulation! I should have known this stunning drought plant centerpiece was your work. Lovely Hub... That's one fine looking piece of driftwood. Did you find it on the beach? Great photos. The seasonal gourds centerpiece is really nice too. I was hoping that would be you in the video. :)

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 2 years ago

    Thanks, Glimmer Twin Fan, for reading. I hope your dad likes it.

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 2 years ago

    Road monkey, thank s for reading and commenting. Have a go, you may enjoy making it.

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 2 years ago

    Thanks, my Success, I know you will find creative ways to outdo this arrangement.

    Rebeccamealey, once you discover succulents, you can't help but love them. They're so versatile. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 2 years ago from United States

    I love your centerpieces and the instructions sound easy to follow. They are all beautiful. Great hub!

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 2 years ago

    Kristine Manley, thank you. Glad you like succulents.

    Mary 165, thanks for reading and commenting. I just discovered airplants and I think I'm in love with them. I've already started a collection.

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 2 years ago

    Rtalloni, so glad for your unwavering support. Have a great day.

    Sed-me, thanks and glad you liked it.

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 2 years ago

    swilliams, thanks for the vote and tweet. Appreciate your time and kind words.

    Easy exercise, necessity is the mother of invention, so they say. When you're succulent-crazy, you find ways to use them in any way possible. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 2 years ago

    tamarawilhite, thanks for reading.

    aesta1, good to know you and thanks for reading and commenting.

    Thanks, snakeslane, so good to hear from you. I bought the driftwood (sorry, I cheated, didn't comb the beach). I love how driftwood can add another dimension to the arrangement. Thanks for stopping by.

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 2 years ago

    Love to hear from you, Pamela. Have a wonderful New Year.

  • vespawoolf profile image

    vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

    This is a beautiful centerpiece and could be adapted for any season. I´ve only recently begun to appreciate succulents. It´s too bad I don´t have a sunnier location for them! Thank you for the nice photos too.

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 2 years ago

    Thanks, vespawoolf, for adding to this hub with your comments.

  • MarleneB profile image

    Marlene Bertrand 19 months ago from Northern California, USA

    Drought or no drought, succulents are such hearty plants, which is important if I am the care taker for them. I absolutely love this idea of using a pumpkin and succulents as a centerpiece.

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 18 months ago

    I agree with you, MarleneB, succulents are hardy and so beautiful. Thanks for dropping by to comment. Happy Thanksgiving!

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