Last year when I was out Christmas shopping I found a pop up stall in the local shopping centre with Succulent Christmas Trees for sale. They looked amazing and very creative and of course expensive, which I totally understood. I had a look on the internet and found some other amazing examples.
I am not hugely creative but I thought I would try and make my own – how hard could it be! Well actually it was harder than I thought and it took a few drives to work thinking about which materials to use and then a few weekends to put it all together. A bit of sighing here and there but finally I made something that was sort of like a Christmas Tree.
I did not want to spend a lot of money as I may as well have bought the one in the shopping centre. The most expensive part of the venture was the sphagnum moss which cost $15 from Bunnings the local hardware store. I found some plastic gutter guard in the shed to keep the sphagnum moss in a spherical shape. This costs $2 per roll from Bunnings. I used sphagnum moss because I wanted the plants to grow. The ones I saw on the internet used florist foam. You could make a tree with succulents just for the Christmas period and come January put the succulents cuttings back outside in the garden to grow again. Yet another reason Succulents are soooo amazing.
The tree in the pop up shop has used a lot of different echeveria’s, (similar to the photos above) but I wanted my tree to last for many Christmas’ to come and knew, if this was the case, the tree (thus the Succulents) would need to survive indoors. To me Echeveria’s are sun loving plants and wouldn’t last very long. So I had to think of a hardy plant that would grow indoors,in sphagnum moss. I was a bit of a Succulent novice at this time but I had seen some succulent bushes in the car park behind our local hairdresser’s and thought that they would look good on my tree. They were growing in the shade! (they are Aeonium Aboreum Haworthii)
So I asked if I could prune a few stems for my project and after giving me a puzzling look they said yes. I got the feeling they had no idea which plants I was talking about!
Making the Christmas Tree
- make the gutter guard into a cone shape and join it together with twisty ties from freezer bags
- stuff the cone with sphagnum moss – not too dense
- put it on a tray, you can use a 4 an ice cream lid if you do not have a tray
(eat the ice cream first!)
- push the stems of the Succulents into the sphagnum moss at regular intervals
use a chopstick/paint brush end to make a hole in the moss first if you are having trouble pushing the stems in
- arrange some form of Christmas decoration around the tree – make sure you hide the twisty ties
Last year i put 3 steel rods in the middle so that I could place a decoration on top. This year I used a larger form of the same Succulent at the top. This year I used Crassula Ovata – also known as Jade or money tree plant.
After Christmas I kept the tree in a window that gets bright light/some sun during the day and remembered to spray the sphagnum moss every month,pull off any dead leaves and rotate the tray. I still think it would have survived without remembering to do this every month.
It is not the most professional looking tree but I think it will get better looking as the years go by. Also, I have the main structure and can pull out these succulents and put new types in if/when required.
It does require some patience. They make great presents for other Succulent lovers and do not cost a fortune. I only used about a 5th of the sphagnum moss and hardly any of the gutter guard or ties.
Note: I do not profess to be an expert on succulents and do not have a horticultural qualification. My blog is simply my opinion and details my experience with succulents in my garden. All photos are taken by me. If there are photos of succulents not taken by me this is mentioned.
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