How to Make a Succulent Centerpiece

For my upcoming summer wedding I am attempting to make my own centerpieces (!) — succulents are my absolute favorite type of plant so it was a no brainer that they'd be front-and-center for my decor. I decided that practicing putting this together would also make great gifts for my family in the meantime, and so far they turned out to be really easy and inexpensive to make and look great!

What You Need

Materials
Succulents — the number of and size depends on the size of container and look you're going for.
Wide neck container — I used glass containers, but you could get very creative with this and use salvaged containers such as coffee tins or other pots — check out this post for inspiration. Just make sure the neck is wide enough to provide proper ventilation for a dry plant environment and enough room to grow.
Gravel
Cactus soil
Sand (optional but recommended)
Pea gravel or river rock (optional)

Tools
Measuring cups or potting tools to scoop sand and soil into containers.

Instructions

1. Gather your materials on a flat and/or open surface. You will likely get the area dirty so keep that in mind.

2. Mock-up the succulent arrangement — this will make the process much easier than moving the succulents around after they're already in the dirt.

3. Fill bottom of container with a minimum of 2-inches of gravel. You can do more if need the plants to stand higher in the pot, but the key is to ensure there is enough drainage in the pot, especially if there are no holes at the bottom.

4. Next, pour a layer of cactus soil, enough to sufficiently cover the roots of the succulents and allow room for them to grow. Cactus soil, rather than regular soil is key for drainage. If you can't find any, you could also try mixing regular potting soil with sand.

5. Take plants out of their plastic pots and put in soil as you had them arranged in step #2. Make sure they are tucked well into the soil.

6. Pour sand on top of soil, making sure to avoid getting any on the succulents. This step is optional but it makes for a nice finished surface.

7. Cover top of sand with pea gravel or river rocks — you could cover the entire surface or place the rocks in just a few key areas as I did. This is purely decorative and completely optional.

8. Water immediately after planting; then water about every two weeks or so or as needed (more in the summer, less in the winter). It's actually better to be on the side of underwatering rather than overwatering these guys.

9. Make sure the centerpiece will get a decent amount sunlight, this may mean you will need to move it close to a window to get several hours of sunlight each day.

Additional Notes: If you're using a glass container make sure to be very careful when filling each layer of gravel, soil and sand so it looks nice. If you're using an opaque container this is obviously less important.


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(Images: 1, 8 & 9 by Nancy Thompson; all others by Rachel Wray)