Small types of colorful succulents are delightful designer plants for creating unique shallow-dish tabletop arrangements, wreaths, and other wall hangings. They take a little time and patience to construct, but most florist shops and DIY craft stores have ready-made containers and either wire forms and moss liners, or pre-wrapped wreaths, helping make attractive, low-maintenance succulent arrangements easy to get started.
Because they are compact and slow-growing, and require very little care, succulents are ideal for living arrangements. Some of the most popular with top designers include dwarf jade (Portulacaria), tiger jaws (Faucaria), stone crop (Sedum), desert pinwheel (Aeonium), hen and chicks (Sempervivum), Mexican hen and chicks (Echeveria), and ghost plant (Graptopetalum).
It is very easy to mix those and others in any sort of combination of shapes, textures, and colors, creating fanciful designs and even spelling out words. The same basic steps are used whether you want to create a DIY succulent wreath, a picture frame with hanging succulents, or a centerpiece as a delightful succulents wedding surprise. With some skill and patience you can even learn know how to make a succulent wall.
The first thing in learning how to make a succulent wreath is to start with a sturdy frame. This can be a round wire frame wrapped in moist, shredded sphagnum moss and tied with fishing line, or a pre-made one from a hobby or craft store. Soak the wreath frame for several hours or overnight, and lay it flat on a waterproof surface.
Take cuttings of the succulents you want to use, between one and two inches long. Strip off the lower leaves, exposing the stem. If possible, do this a day or so ahead of time to allow cut ends to heal over.
Lay the soaked frame on a waterproof surface, and arrange your cuttings like you want next to the frame, with a few extra for filling in gaps.
Insert the cuttings, starting with the largest, using a pencil or scissors to poke holes. Space them as closely as you can, and use extra cuttings if needed to hide the frame. Insert floral pins or bent paperclips to hold the cuttings in place until the cuttings root along their stems.
Larger Wall Hangings
Instead of a pre-made wreath, find a shallow wooden or metal box, fill it with cactus mix or a potting soil with perlite added. Add a surface layer of moist sphagnum moss, and hold it all in place using half inch hardware cloth and then wrapped in half-inch galvanized “hardware cloth” – available in small rolls at hardware and home improvement stores. Plant as you would a wreath.
Soak the wreath or wall hanging a few minutes to let the sphagnum moss swell and enclose the cut ends of the plants. Lay it flat and out of direct sunlight for a week or so. The succulents will root easily if you keep the moss moist, and they will thicken up as they root. This may take six or more weeks, but it is important before hanging on a wall.
Caring For Wall Succulents
Place wall hangings where they will get some direct sunlight, but not hot mid-day or afternoon sun. Secure them with rust-proof galvanized hardware, and with the backs covered to keep moisture off wooden surfaces.
Water the wreath when it starts to dry by soaking in a bucket of water for an hour or so – not by misting, which can encourage shallow roots and weak plants. And be prepared to bring them indoors when hard freezes are forecast.