Written by Erin Shaw
Harsh climates give rise to some of the most adaptable, extraterrestrial-looking plant life on Earth – so adaptable that they can even thrive in an urban jungle! Succulents, the catch-all name for a variety of plants that retain water, offer the perfect mix of easy care and beautiful aesthetic. These ruggedly delicate “fat plants” come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes, and are tough enough to be planted in unconventional ways (living chandelier? Oh yes). Here are some creative ways to bring a bit of the desert’s strange beauty to your home or garden.
While succulents include many different plant families, these ideas mostly use tender varieties:
- Wreath: Make a wreath that lives year-round using a wire wreath frame, some sphagnum moss, floral wire and pins, and succulent clippings.
- Succulent curtain: Artist Claire Lewis from Statement Succulents made this custom hanging piece for a wedding. For a short-term decoration, you can use floral wire to attach small clippings and buds to strands of twine; you can likely plant the clippings once you take it down.
- Bring the outdoors inside with a terrarium. Colored sand adds more creative options for centerpieces to match or contrast with your decor.
- Patterned walkway: Succulents work well in between stepping stones or along walkways. Choose a variety that can stand your local climate and you’ll have a lush path with no mowing.
- Wall hanging: Make a mosaic of different colors and textures in a picture frame planter. Your drought-tolerant beauties will grow slowly in a relatively shallow wooden frame you can make or buy. Wall hangings can be big and elaborate or minimal modern.
- Topiary: Think garden sculptures are over your head? Try making your own topiary frame from chicken wire, like this simple leaf shape or triceratops.
- Hanging basket: Perfect for a front porch or apartment balcony.
- Non-traditional planters: Experiment with containers for a statement piece (lunchbox, coffee pot, fridge magnets, even a re-purposed stiletto!).
- Chandalier: Hang a pot rack and place potted succulents alternating with candles in jars. Burros Tail varieties will grow over the side and hang down for a chandelier effect.
- Recycle an old pallet for another trash-to-treasure vertical garden.
- Decorate yourself with live jewelry: Succulents have become a favorite for weddings as bouquets, hair accessories, necklaces, rings and even cufflinks, boutonnieres and corsages. A gorgeous alternative to factory flowers.
Follow Erin on Twitter: @ErinPie
image: ... love Maegan