Thanksgiving Centerpieces Using Succulents and Other Drought Resistant Plants
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.
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.
- A piece of driftwood (I found one at the floral store that shape like a tree)
- Wire cutter
- Floral tape
- Aluminium Foil
- An assortment of 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:
- String of pearls
- Portulacaria afra "Variegata"
- Panda Plant (kalanchoe tomentosa)
- Sticks on Fire
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.
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.
Airplant sitting Inside a glass terrarium
A closer look at succulent centerpiece.
Pumpkin with Sunflowers Thanksgiving Arrangement
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.
How Type of Thanksgiving Centerpiece Do You Prefer?
This Thanksgiving, make a centerpiece that will make a big statement: Water Conservation can be beautiful.
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