Succulents are all the rage these days, which means they're popping up everywhere. In funky containers, concrete planters, wreaths, even bridal bouquets. But as cool as they are — they often come with a hefty price tag — which is why I decided to make my own. Instead of attempting the more common wreath form, I opted for a modern take on the traditional mistletoe kissing ball.
What You Need
2 Identical metal hanging baskets
Florist foam blocks
Floral pins or paper clips
Screwdriver or pencil
1. This is a gorgeous photo of a succulent ball that has had plenty of time to establish itself. Unless you plan on filling in every section of the ball (which I don't recommend because your plants should have adequate space), your ball is going to need lots of time to literally put down roots and grow.
2. Gather your materials and find a sturdy, level surface to work on.
3. Detach the chains from your metal baskets and set them aside.
4. Place the foam blocks in you basket. I used 2 blocks in one half of the basket and 1 block in the other basket. The foam will help your ball hold water as well as reducing the weight. Fill around the foam with your soil until it is level at the top.
5. Grab your cardboard. It should be flat and bigger than the surface area of your basket. Place it on top of one basket. While firmly holding the cardboard so you don't lose any soil, flip the basket on top of the other basket. The cardboard should now be sandwiched between the 2 baskets. Use one hand to keep the baskets lined up while the other slowly pulls the cardboard out. It sounds trickier than it actually was, but it also really helps to have a friend help you so you have an extra set of hands.
6. With the baskets lined up, use your wire to secure the 2 halves together.
7. Empty your spagnum moss in a large bucket and add water so it's wet. Mix it around with you hands until it's thoroughly wet.
8. Place the moss around the top half of the ball until it's covered.
9. Tie one end of the fishing line to your metal basket. Using your fishing line, wrap it firmly around the ball covering all areas, so the moss stays in place. This is another step where it is extremely helpful to have an extra set of hands. After covering the basket with the fishing wire, gently turn the basket upside down.
10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 on the remaining uncovered half. Place your ball on a container. Mine is resting so what will eventually be top of the ball with the chain for hanging, is now on the bottom.
11. Gather and separate your succulents. You can actually do this step the day before, as your succulents need time to form a callous on the bottom where new roots will form from the stem. If you have longer pieces, remove the leaves from the lower half of the stem. For my plants, I chose sedums and chicks and hens that are cold hardy. This way, I won't have to winter my ball indoors. If you live in a warm climate year round, this won't be an issue for you.
12. Insert a pencil or screwdriver into the form to help make your hole.
13. Plant succulents into the ball by placing the succulent roots into the hole. Gently press the moss around roots and secure with floral pins. I made sure I allowed adequate space so they have room to grow. I will add a few more plant cuttings to this ball as more varieties come into the garden center.
14. The succulents will take about 6 months to fully grow. In the meantime leave it sitting on a container, you don't want to hang it upright until roots have fully grown. Once it is able to be hung, you'll attach the chain to the bottom of the ball, and then add new cuttings to the bare section.
Additional Notes: To water, you will want to submerge it and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes. It should also dry completely between waterings. You can fertilize your succulent ball about once every 2 months.
(Images: 1, Martha Stewart via i Village Garden Web, all other images Kimberly Watson)