By Pat Naughton
A succulent wreath is a beautiful way to add to your holiday table. There are many places to buy wreaths online. Making your own wreath is not hard to do and will give you a sense of accomplishment. The tools you need are as follows: wire wreath form, long fiber sphagnum moss, potting mix, succulents, green florist wire, and ties.
Wreath forms are available from craft stores. The larger wreaths will hold water better and require less watering. Wreaths can be made from plants or cuttings. If using cuttings, cut the stems 1 to 2 inches long, removing lower leaves. Allow cuttings to sit overnight on a tray to let the cut ends callus (form a thin layer of cells). Recommended plants for living wreaths include: Aeoniums, Rosary vine, Crassulas, Echeveria, Euphorbias, Haworthias, Hens-and-chicks, Kalanchoes, and Sedums.
Prepare the sphagnum moss by soaking it in water in a bucket or the bathtub. Soak the sphagnum moss for an hour. Then squeeze the excess water out of the moss. Pack the moss around the bottom and sides of the wreath mold.
After the shape has been covered by the moss add potting soil. Leave an inch or so of space from the top of the soil and the top of the moss. Then moisten the potting soil. Place the cuttings or plants in the soil.
Tuck more moss between the plants to hold the potting mix in place. Tuck the moss in tightly. To secure the moss in place use clips or ties. Use florist wire to wrap the wreath. Green florist wire will help hide it under the plants. Let the wreath lie flat in indirect sunlight for 2 weeks.
Caring for your succulent wreath is very simple. Bright light is best with little or no direct sun. Water the wreath when it feels dry. Depending on the temperatures and the exposure, a good watering once every 1-3 weeks will be fine. Fertilizing is needed since the plants are not growing in a lot of soil. You can use an organic balanced liquid fertilizer. Once in the spring is fine but if it looks like it is losing color give it another feeding in late summer. To rid the wreath of any pests like mealy bugs or aphids, spray them off with a garden hose. You can also treat them with a spray mixture of rubbing alcohol and water (1 part alcohol to 8 parts water). A healthy succulent wreath will look great on your Thanksgiving table and on your door next summer.