Christmas DIY: Succulent Wreath
Earlier this month I decided to make a succulent wreath for Christmas. With the idea it could be hung on our front door or used as a summery table centerpiece with candlesand then hung in our back garden to grow for the rest of the year! You can make any shape you like using the below method, if you feel a wreath has too much of a Christmas vibe for you year round.
We already have so many succulents growing in our backyard, that this turned out to be a really cost effective project for me. If you don't have any succulents and plan your project in advance, you can buy a couple of succulents, pick off some leaves and then plant each leaf directly into potting mix or bark. Leave in the sun and water once or twice a week and a couple of weeks those leaves will have grown into little plants! That's what's so easy about succulents, if you knock a leaf off it doesn't matter, because that will turn into a new plant!
A word of warning however, if you're after a quick and easy Christmas DIY this project probably isn't for you!
Of course I had to make my life difficult by making the wire wreath myself and instead of buying a pre-made one. You can buy premed wreaths from some wholesale florists or online here and here. But basically I just couldn't wait for one to be shipped.... so off I went to the hardware for two thickness of wire to make my own that day. If you buy a wire wreath (or other shape) online you can skip part 1 and go straight to the fun part - the sphagnum moss!
> Wire Wreath OR Wire
I've used 1mm and 0.6 mm wire
> Plyers and/or wire cutters some larger plyers have cutters as well
> Sphagnum moss
YOu can get this from most gardening stores
> Spray bottle
> A chopstick/garden stick,/end of a paintbrsh
This is to make small holes in moss for the succulents and to push them into the wreath.
PART 1 - The Wreath
I used the bucket to help shape my wire into a circle - remember the bigger your wreath the more plants you need and the more supporting wire you will need due to weight. I made three circles out of wire, each about half an inch to an inch bigger than the last. I joined the ends of each circles together by twisting the the wire ends around each other and then clamped down with the plyers to secure. As you can see from the photos my wire circles aren't perfect, but you can't see them in the finished project so it really doesn't matter.
The second step is to wire circles together. I've used the thinner wire to do this, as it is easier to manager and wrap. The tricky part here is to get the circles around about centred in each other when wired together. Again, these don't need to be perfect, once the moss goes on you won't notice.
Place the wire circles so the smallest one is inside the middle circle which is inside the larger circle. Cut a section of the smaller wire about a quarter of your smallest circle. Warp the wire a few times around one circle, clamp with the plyers to secure then wrap around the next circle, secure and go back to your first circle and repeat until you've finished the length of wire. Go to the opposite side of the circles and repeat. Do this so all three circles are joined together in 3-4 places.
To make my wreath more secure due to its size I then went and wrapped more wire, in a larger pattern around my circles. The store bought wire frames don't look like this because the cross wires are soldered and therefore have more strength. Remember to wire a hook onto the middle circle for a hanger.
Part 2 - The moss
Yay, now you're ready for the moss! Put your dry moss into a bucket and add water until the moss is damp. You don't want it floating in water but you want to make sure all the moss is wet through.
Now to start adding the moss to the frame! Glab a handful of moss, squeeze out any excess liquid and put onto your frame. You want the moss to be about 2 inches high on the frame. Add more moss, squishing it into the previous lump off moss, until you have a section about 3-4 inches wide. (I made sure I put a little bit of moss on the back as well.)
To secure the moss, wire it to the frame. To do this secure the wire to an open section of frame and then wrap around the moss and secure to the frame at the end.
Next add more moss! You'll noticed it won't be as easy to secure the wire to the exposed frame this time, because well there will be moss there! You can secure this wire to the wire from the first section.
Continue until the frame is finished and then go back and fill any sections of your wreath that are looking lumping so you end up with a fairly even surface. Then secure all the moss to the frame again by twisting wire around the wreath. You should just be able to secure the wire by pushing through the middle of the moss a couple of times, or by securing it to the previous wire. You may need to trim overhanging moss, or push it under wire.
Part 3 - The succulents
We're up to the really fun part - the succulents! Have a rough plan where you want your succulents to sit. It can be nice to group some of your bigger, 'statement' succulents together to create a focus point.
To 'plant' your succulents shake off as much dirt as possible from the roots. You have a couple of options here depending on the succulent, you can;
- Make a hole in the wreath with your stick, wrap the wire around the stem of the plant and then gently push the plant roots (with the help of your stick) into the moss and secure with the wire
- Or make a hole, push the plant in and then secure by putting wire over part of the plant into the wreath
You'll likely the find you'll need a combination of the above and all plants need more than one wire to secure them. Ideally you need to wait a couple of weeks for the roots of the plants to take before you hang the wreath up. The closer to making your wreath you want to hang it up the more wire you'll need. And don't worry if you can see some of the wire, the plants will gown over that.
Repeat! Remember to fill the holes left by the bigger plants with smaller succulents to get the coverage. You can also choose to keep part of your wreath bare sphagnum moss and only use a few succulents as a focus point.
The sphagnum moss needs to stay moist. You'll need a spray bottle to keep the moss and plants watered. How often you need to water it really depends on where you live and the time of year, but you should water when the moss feels like it is (or is getting) dry. In general most succulents don't like heaps of water.
Your wreath will also need access to sun, so make sure you put it in a position where it will get partial sun. Fun fact - some succulents will change colour in full sun! When buying your plants check the labels to see if they will all like similar sun and water conditions.
Over time your plants will grow and get too big for the wreath, some will even send out 'pups.' You can pull these pups off and replant, same with the leaves. Or if you feel the wreath has become too overgrown in a couple of years you can pull it apart and make another one or plant the succulents into pots or your garden.