Garden gift DIY: succulents in a driftwood planter

succulents in driftwood tended.wordpress.com

Emily Joubert in Woodside sells these beautiful pieces, but they also make a fun DIY and anyone would love them as a gift. Here’s how to plant succulents in a driftwood or old log planter:

  1. You can use driftwood, or any piece of wood that has some age and weathering to it. Soft woods will make a faster, easier project.
  2. Start with a crack or depression ¬†that is somewhat towards the middle of the wood. Use a gouge tool to dig it out and make more space for your plants. You don’t have to dig out very much: succulents don’t need a lot of root space.
  3. If the crack goes all the way through the wood, tuck in a piece of screen and secure it with a couple of small nails, tacks, or staples.
  4. Fill with dirt. I have been gardening with succulents forever and I’ve rarely used a cactus potting mix. I just use whatever potting soil I have on hand, which is usually the cheapest one, and my succulents have always been fine.
  5. Arrange your succulents. Go for either uniformity or as dramatic a mix of colors and shapes as you can find. If you’re doing a mix, do a spike, a rosette, a silver, a green, and a purple or black. Put in your bigger forms and then tuck the little ones around the edges.
  6. You don’t need to leave them room to grow. Pack them in there like you are arranging flowers. If they make babies, pop them out and repot when things get crowded. If they get leggy, snap off the stems and stick the rosettes back in the dirt. That’s it. They don’t have strong roots so they are as easy to rearrange as cut flowers.
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DIY gold dipped succulent pots

gold dipped succulent pots tended.wordpress.comgold dipped succulent pots tended.wordpress.comgold dipped succulent pots tended.wordpress.comgold dipped succulent pots tended.wordpress.com

My very sweet in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary today, surrounded by family and friends. For the centerpieces/table decorations, I made these gold dipped terra cotta pots full of succulents.

Succulents were born to be party plants. They don’t wilt in the heat, they don’t need to be watered just before the event, they don’t drop leaves and petals on the table, and they make adorable favors for guests to take home.¬†Succulents have great staying power, so you can make these a few days ahead of time.

Here is the how-to:

  1. 1 gallon of gold paint. I used Martha Stewart Gold Base from Home Depot. It’s a soft, pretty, non-garish gold.
  2. Dip the pots right into the paint. Vary the angles and how deep you dip. These are 4″ pots.
  3. Set the pots on wax paper to dry.
  4. Finish with one or two coats of clear lacquer or polyurethane inside and out. Coat the painted portion of the outside, and the entire inside stopping about one inch down from the rim. I skipped this step this time around and my paint did bubble a little after I watered the pots.
  5. Fill with dirt and mixed succulents. I stuck to six kinds of succuents. I varied the pots to make them more interesting, but limiting the number of succulent types made a harmonious overall group.
  6. Lightly water.

gold dipped succulent pots tended.wordpress.comgold dipped succulent pots tended.wordpress.com

gold dipped succulent pots tended.wordpress.comgold dipped succulent pots tended.wordpress.com

My biggest worry was that the raccoons would destroy the pots during the night. Which they have very happily done before. I placed all of the pots very close together on top of the table, hoping they’d be discouraged by the lack of space and potential for everything to come crashing down on them. The pots made it safely through the night.