Category Archives: Succulents

Succulents in winter

Succulents thrive year around as long as they are protected from freezing temperatures. Moved up against buildings or under trees and shrubs, is all they need to make it through our occasional frosts.

Freezing weather

When the forecast called for three nights of freezing temperatures, I took some succulent cuttings of particular tender varieties (Sunburst Aeonium, Dudleya, etc.) that were growing in unprotected areas and stored them in the garage and greenhouse. The cuttings will survive just fine for a month or more, growing roots after a couple of weeks. They can replace those plants killed by the freeze when the weather warms up… just by sticking them back in the ground.
Staghorn Ferns are also sensitive to the cold, so they spent a few nights in the greenhouse, where the temperature doesn’t drop below 40 degrees.

Propagating Portulaca

Portulaca (aka Moss Rose) is a wonderful succulent ground cover that produces lots of frilly, rose-like flowers in poor soil, with minimal water. They self seed freely, but you can also start them from cuttings. When mine start looking lanky, I trim them and pot them up like this. More plants are ready soon to brighten up all those dry spots in the yard.

Succulent maintenance

It’s easy to refurbish succulent containers when they get overgrown and leggy. Almost as easy as arranging flowers in a vase.
Take cuttings of the succulents that you want to replant and set aside. They can be stored face up, in a shady spot, for up to a month.

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Trim up any succulents that are left or start fresh with new potting soil.  Poke holes in the soil and stick in the cuttings where desired.Water once a week and provide at least half sun. It only takes about a month for the succulents to fill back in nicely. This method also works for succulents in the ground. Take cuttings and stick them right back down in the soil. Dig out or trim the old stem… it will often come back with new growth.

Projects: Succulent furniture

Found this metal vanity at a yard sale… and thought it would look great planted with succulents.

I attached a basket of wire to hold the moss and soil.

Planted with succulents and cuttings… along with a small side table. Parked under the shade cloth arbor, and watered once a week or so.

Two months later…

Succulent wreath ~ How to Part 2

The first step to making good succulent wreaths is growing the succulents that you intend to take cuttings from. When I prepare a wreath or other container, I start thinking about what kind of succulents to use, keeping in mind the plant’s needs (water/sun) and growth habit (tall/short). Pay attention to how your plants grow in different conditions to see what I mean. When working on wreaths, I stick with plants that will stay compact. Aeoniums are perfect with their rosette shapes and straight, sturdy stems. The cuttings should have a day or two to scar over and can sit for weeks.

Cover the area, laying on your favorite type of sedum and using a dowel, skewer or other pokey tool, make a hole and insert the cuttings around the frame. Starting with dry wreath forms helps keep the holes you poke open for the cuttings.The succulent cuttings secures the sedum in place where it can take root and fill in nicely.

Continue inserting succulent cuttings close together until the wreath form is full. Dunk into or drench with water. This plumps up the moss/soil and hold the cuttings tightly. Lay flat where it will get at least 2 or 3 hours sun (preferably morning or afternoon) and dunk/drench again when it’s dried out and feels light. We’ll check it again in two weeks…See How to Part 1 & Part 3





Succulent gift baskets

Gardeners share plants… that’s what they do. I recently made up some flower arrangements and a picnic basket for a house warming party. Who doesn’t love succulent cuttings? So pretty and versatile, it’s such an easy way to share plants. No need to keep them in water. They can sit around for weeks (roots start growing after 10 days). Easy to take care of… stick them in the ground and water once a week until they can get established. Mulch helps to conserve moisture. Share the wealth!


This huge genus of flowering plants (Crassulaceae family) has over 600 species in the Northern Hemishere. Commonly aka stonecrops, they vary from tiny, to low and creeping, to shrub-sized plants. Drought tolerant, they store water in their leaves. They grow well with other succulents and I use them in almost all of my plantings… to fill in, plump up, and spill over the sides of containers.











Succulent wreath ~ How To Part 1

Start with two wire box wreath frames (10″ to 16″D work best). Buy a few at your crafts store or larger quantities online. Soak some green moss (available at home/garden stores) in water.  Squeeze out excess water (being wet helps hold to the shape of the frame). Line each wire frame a thin layer of damp green moss, pressing down the center all the way around.

Add water to some of your favorite potting soil, stirring until it sticks together. Squeeze a handful at a time between your palms and make a continuous mound of soil around the circle.

Update 2019: I have found that it’s easier to lay the moss over the top of the soil instead of lining the frame and flipping. Quickly flip the empty moss lined wreath frame on top of the soil ring, Squeeze it together and tuck in the moss on the sides. Fasten together by tightly wrapping with three pieces of heavy gauge wire (2-10″ and 1-14″ long). After fastening the 2 short pieces, flip it over so that the 2 twisted ends are on the front of the wreath (soon to be hidden by growing succulents). Wrap around the longest wire, bending the excess unto a loop for hanging. Twist wires and bend and stick the points into the wreath (this hides the sharp wires and secures the hanger in place).

Let dry for a day or two before planting with succulent cuttings. See Succulent wreath How To Part 2 and Part 3.

Succulent shoes, baskets and more

Getting busy making more succulent stuff. Succulent cuttings are so easy to create with… just plug and play!
Most of these things will go on consignment at  Wisteria Antiques and Gardens, a really cool shop in Aptos, CA… or sold at farmers markets and other events.
The baby shoes are popular lately. After drilling holes in the soles, fill them with potting soil. Prepare chairs or other frames by building a chicken wire basket and lining with damp moss. Same thing with wire baskets. Colanders (and other strainers) don’t need moss, and work great for inserting cuttings into the side. Once the containers are filled with soil, first insert cuttings in the sides (of basket, colanders and chairs), and press down the soil. I like to lay sedum (low growing succulents) around the edges on top of the soil, which will fill in and spill over the edges once rooted. Stick in succulent cuttings, grouping types that favor similar conditions. Set outside in part shade and water once or twice a week for about a month.

More succulent stuff from the archives