I’m Kristina - freelance graphic designer, backyard farmer, cookbook reader, project starter, and new mom to a gorgeous little boy.

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January 12, 2009

our wedding: DIY succulent centerpieces

Kay, I’m just going to jump into the week here with a long wedding post. Ready?

These are easier than you think. I swear. But of course it means collecting a cohesive body of vessels, growing big pots of succulents for months before you’re ready to harvest, and then being willing to pretty much massacre them, PLUS go to the nursery to buy extras to fill in the spaces. But I think it’s kind of worth it!

Utter carnage on the back patio. Which was accentuated by my use of the huge coconut-hacking cleaver for the flower foam. You’ll notice that the big pots are nearly cut clean of plants. But the best part about succulents is they just grow back. So loyal, they are.

So here’s how you do it. Procure vessels. Buy flower foam. Soak flower foam in water. Cut pieces of foam to fit into vessels. Hack apart succulents. Arrange clippings into flower foam/vessels in pleasing manner. If necessary, fill space around the outside of the vase/pot with either little pebbles or spanish moss. VOILA!

Thanks to our super florist for both agreeing to share the centerpiece load with me AND giving me excellent pointers on putting these babies together.

My mom still has tons of these around her house in San Diego and they are totally happy 2 months later. She mixed them with poinsettias and cyclamens for Christmas-y spice and they looked great over the holidays. If you’re not attached to your vessels (or you don’t plan to resell most of them like I do) these would be excellent favors for your guests. I’ve got a few around our house too and they seem to be pretty happy, even the ones I actually planted in soil, in the pots with no drainage. (For these you need to start with a layer of pebbles below the soil so the roots don’t rot, FYI).

Allow me one eco-friendly soapbox moment… succulents you grow and arrange yourself make the earth soooo happy. Having hundreds of roses imported from Ecuador, not so much. And yes, we did have a lot of our flowers done (most excellently) by our florist, Hoot & Heart, but for the most part they try to source organic, in-season flowers so we feel okay about that.

Maybe I should do a little DIY tutorial on these… would that be useful to anyone out there?


  1. TwinCities Bride said on January 12, 2009

    A DIY tutorial would be so helpful! I recently started contemplating using green plants for centerpieces. For a person without much of a green thumb it would be great to find out how you “hacked” them apart. How easy are succulents to grow? How many days before the wedding did you put these together? In other word, yes please. :)

  2. Katie Carter said on January 12, 2009

    These are beautiful, what an awesome idea!! I love succulents, and would love to start growing a bunch. Considering my limited space, I have to figure out where to put them. It looks like you had fun putting these together, thanks for always sharing your wedding ideas :)

  3. lucy said on January 12, 2009

    tutorial! tutorial! I was thinking about using succulents for centerpieces but really have no idea how to get started.

  4. Rachel said on January 12, 2009

    Beautiful! I love succulents, and I’m so glad they are starting to pop up in weddings – although yours is the first I’ve seen where live succulents make up all the centerpieces.

  5. Kate said on January 12, 2009

    Those are beautiful. I would love to see more!

  6. Julia Remix said on January 13, 2009

    Oh yes, a tutorial would be so useful. Could you start with, well, STARTING succulents? I’m not sure where the babies come from. :)

  7. inspiredgoodness said on January 13, 2009

    Yes! YEs! YES! Tutorial Request #7.

  8. kelly said on January 13, 2009

    yes please. yes please!!

  9. Malka said on January 13, 2009

    i love these and have been planning on doing them for our wedding here in la this august- but i was planning on just planting them in potting soil (either via transplant or cutting) and then letting guests take them home.
    why flower foam?
    beautiful beautiful….

  10. jenifriend in kansas said on January 13, 2009

    I would love to see a tutorial on this!!

  11. Abbey Goes Design Scouting said on January 13, 2009

    these are awesome!!!! thanks for the miami tips (you’re the third person to suggest the standard! we’re thinking its perfect)

  12. Abbey Goes Design Scouting said on January 13, 2009

    and ps I did a similar thing for our wedding but with herbs! xoxoxo

  13. lovelymorning said on January 15, 2009

    Kay. I will put together a tutorial for sure if there are that many people who would like to see one. but it might take me a few weeks, kay?

    Thanks for all your nice comments!

  14. genevieve said on January 16, 2009

    God, these turned out gorgeous!!!

  15. limsy said on January 18, 2009

    I would be very interested in a DIY post on the succulents. Also, I would LOVE to purchase your pottery. Your concern for the environment is something I share with you as I plan. Our backyard wedding the end of this summer would be complimented by your collection…and I love the idea of having them as favors! Let me know if you are interested in selling :)

  16. Margaret said on February 4, 2009

    When is your wedding? I’d love to buy the vessels from you to use at my wedding!

  17. A Jo said on August 24, 2009

    Did you ever put together a tutorial? I just bought a bunch of succulents because of your pictures and blog! I am so excited to use these as centerpieces in my wedding next year! I'm getting a head start!! Any helpful hints on where to buy cute pots like you used?

  18. EllenCara said on October 27, 2009

    I echo your excitement for working with these wonderful plants. I am curious, as an earth-friendly florist, why you would use the floral foam? I have never resorted to the use of "Oasis" or floral foam for this type of planting – trying to limit to things that can compost for us. I have had success with just proper drainage (sand and pebbles) and delicate watering. (Actually, ignoring them is better than overwatering in my experience and I am in sunny Colorado.)
    The use of a small piece of chicken wire at the soil level can give the tender plantings a little support until they "root themselves". I LOVE your sweet containers for the little gems.

  19. ModernNest said on December 3, 2009

    ohhh, I would so love a tutorial… succulents, cool pottery and eco conscious! Three of my favorite things!

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  21. Bobishi said on December 29, 2009

    Hello:) I just came across your post, I used succulents as the table decoration and centre pieces at my wedding. We had a little pot which we bought from a floristry supplier in front of every guest with a single succulent in each one. We also stuck a skewer with a cut out paper bird with the guests name on it as a place card in the soil. The guests seemed to really like them. And it is really great when you go to a friends home to see how their little succulent is going! One friend is filling her garden with the succulents she has propergated from hers and other peoples plants:)

  22. montreal florist said on March 1, 2010

    Green color can make great centerpiece and decorations. Beautiful and we can enjoy for a long time. Great idea!!

  23. housecharmer said on March 7, 2010

    Yes to the tutorial.. we love the succulents for Wedding centerpeices and are going to try them up here in the Northeast. Any suggestions for staring them indoors?

  24. Ramona said on June 2, 2010

    I just wanted to let you know that, based on your blog, I made these for my wedding last month, and they were beautiful. I did use milkglass instead of ceramic pottery for a small touch of my own, but thank you so much for the inspiration!

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