Of Succulent Wreaths and Cuttings

I’m often asked to recommend sources of succulent cuttings for wreaths, topiaries and other projects. Unfortunately, most online sources sell cuttings for around $1/apiece, which means a wreath—not counting its moss-packed wire donut—may cost $100 to make. But pre-made wreaths available this time of year not only cost much less, they’re also a great source of cuttings.  Garden Life offers wreaths similar to those shown here for $30 plus shipping. Another good mail-order supplier of seasonal wreaths as well as assorted cuttings—including a mix of highly desirable echeveria, sedum and sempervivum rosettes for vertical gardens—is Robin Stockwell’s Succulent Gardens.

As yet, it’s not possible to request exactly which succulents a wreath consists of, but typically they’re colorful. The Garden Life one above, for example, is comprised of red-tipped jade,  silvery-blue echeverias and blue Senecio mandraliscae.

This one has a different kind of Echeveria, pink sedeveria and jade.

And this one, blue echeverias, jade, lavender-pink graptopetalums and Sedum rubrotinctum ‘Pork and Beans’ (which will redden if given more sun).

Keep your wreath about as moist as a wrung-out sponge. If you hang it, water from the top because that part will dry out first. If the wreath does go dry, the succulents likely will be OK (by definition, these are plants that store water in fleshy leaves in order to withstand drought) but their roots may desiccate. To rehydrate a wreath, fill a clean trash can lid with water and soak the wreath in it.

If you live where temperatures drop below freezing, overwinter the wreath indoors near a sunny window or beneath grow lights that stay on at least six hours a day.  You won’t see much growth during the plants’ winter dormancy, but come spring, they’ll take off—especially if you pull the wreath apart, plant the cuttings in fast-draining soil, and feed with a dilute solution of balanced (30-30-30 fertilizer) twice monthly until midsummer. Come fall, you’ll likely have enough plant material for a lovely new wreath plus a second to give away.

If you know of other reasonably-priced sources (i.e. 30 cents or less per cutting), please email me, and I’ll put them on the Links page of my website.

Mail-order retailers please take note: There’s a demand for sources that let purchasers specify the types—or colors, shapes and textures—of the succulent cuttings they order (rather than receiving a random assortment).

My goal is to share the beauty of waterwise, easy-care succulents in gardens, containers and landscapes via blog postsnewsletterspublic speaking and workshopsphotosvideosmerchandise, and social media (Facebook and Pinterest). My books: Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardensand Succulents Simplified.  www.debraleebaldwin.com 

About Debra Lee Baldwin

Debra Lee Baldwin gardens on "an inhospitable half acre" in Escondido, CA, near San Diego. She is an award-winning photojournalist and artist with hundreds of articles and columns to her credit. Debra's books are Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens and Succulents Simplified. www.debraleebaldwin.com.

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9 Responses to Of Succulent Wreaths and Cuttings

  1. Helen/patientgardener November 4, 2012 at 6:46 am #

    I’ve never seen succulent wreaths before, obviously not made it to the Uk yet but what a nice idea. Thanks for sharing, I might have a go at making one

    Hi, Helen — They fall into the general category of “living wreath” which might be comprised of all sorts of plants. The concept originated with the late Teddy Colbert, who wrote a marvelous little book of the same title. “The Living Wreath“. Colbert shows wreath forms planted with succulents (gorgeous!) as well as flowering annuals and even edibles (herbs, berries, cherry tomatoes). Ivy is a no-brainer, too, because it’s so easy to start from cuttings and there are many fine-leaved and variegated varieties. Wouldn’t an ivy wreath be pretty interwoven with fairy lights? — Debra

  2. Jackie DiGiovanni November 4, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    Debra,

    This may not be so practical here is Zone 6 SE Michigan, unless you have a real talent for “wintering over” and the right indoor growing conditions. That said, I just love this idea. For $30+, you get an assortment of 3 or 4 different plants that keep growing if you plant them out. The wreath is like a bonus.

    Thanks for another great idea.

    Hi, Jackie — Succulent wreaths have been around for awhile, but perhaps not so much in your neck of the woods. “The wreath is like a bonus” — well said, it’s potentially an entire succulent garden. Case in point, yesterday I gave a friend a grocery bagful of cuttings from succulents I had started as cuttings. They’re the bunnies of the plant world.

    But Jackie, anything frost tender is going to be challenging for you to grow, not only succulents. They do overwinter well because they’re dormant in winter and need minimal care. Hardly any water, bright light for six hours a day, and temps above 32 degrees. Maybe in your basement beneath a light bulb on a timer? It could even be florescent (more economical)–they don’t need a broad-spectrum light source. In spring, reintroduce them to sunlight gradually lest they sunburn. Increase the length of time each day as you might do to get a suntan. I hope this helps! — Debra

  3. Jen Wyhoon November 4, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Hi,
    Thanks for the great info & photos of the succulent wreaths. I have tried to make one but did it very differently, unfortunately it didnt really work. I made a grape vine wreath & want the succulents to grow in it. I tried to stuff it with Moss but it wasnt really working. SO a rolling the moss in some soft plastic wire ,then attached this to the vine wreath. BUT unfortunately I lost interest in it working, so gave it the flick.
    Love you do & all the wonderful ideas. I live in Western Australia, In the country where its hot & dry in the summer. Perfect for succulents to do well in.

    Cheers
    Jen

    Hi, Jen — Ha! I love the phrase “gave it the flick.” Yes, you can grow many varieties of succulents. But ordering a wreath from the US is probably not an option! Please stay in touch, OK? — Debra

  4. Jess November 4, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    Debra Lee, the wreaths are beautiful. I did not know they made wreaths with succulents. This is the first year I have made a container with succulents and I really enjoyed it. However living in Colorado I am afraid they won’t make it thru the winter even though they are in a sunny area. Must I transplant them into containers to take indoors during the winter? The container is too heavy to move inside.

    Hi, Jess — Unfortunately, the succulents shown in these wreaths are frost-tender, and will need to be protected from temps below 32 F. However, it’s possible to make beautiful containers and wreaths with succulents that are well suited to your climate. Check your local nursery for sempervivums, sedums, jovibarba and delosperma (ice plant). Thanks for stopping by! — Debra

  5. Nell Jean November 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Graptopetalum and Sedum acre are good sturdy plants that can stand temps down to 7 degrees Fahrenheit, Sedum acre maybe to 0 F. I’m thinking spider plants might have a future in this kind of project.

    Works for me to grow on some Graptopetalum from individual leaves — takes a single season to get a good plant; root some bits of Schlumbergera — again takes a single season from a several-segment cutting, and other bits. I put Christmas Cacti, Resurrection fern and Graptopetalum in a moss-filled homemade grapevine sphere. The Cacti have buds. The fern is sleeping until it gets a good soaking. This is an indoor topiary because of the Schlumbergera.

  6. Shireen November 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    Wow! Those are lovely. As a succulent nut who occasionally makes terrariums for purchase, the prices for local and mail-order succulents are really frustrating. It’s simply not cost effective to make sumptuous arrangements. So i have to get creative with surface covers and rocks. 30 cents a cutting would make me deliriously happy. :)

  7. Desiree November 4, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    I have seen these wreaths at Lowe’s before, between $19.99 and $35. They promised me they would have them again this year (didn’t see any last year). One of mine from 2 years ago is still alive…I had neglected it after the holidays and spring and didn’t have time to properly plant the pieces, so I just plopped the whole thing on top of an old planter, where some other plants had died…didn’t even have time to give it fresh soil…now, another year later, those little guys are still going strong…and it looks like I planted them in the circular fashion in that pot…

  8. Susan Tomlinson November 5, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    What a beautiful idea. I think I’ll have to get one of those–and I know just the sunny window for it.

  9. Candy Suter November 5, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    Love this post my succulent Queen! I may have to order one or better yet, wait for Home Depot to get some. I didn’t buy one last year but this year with your great tip I am!