Posted on Leave a comment

How to Make a Driftwood Succulent Planter

Succulents are some of the decade’s most popular houseplants. Since these adorable plants are typically small enough to group into fun arrangements, more and more people are getting crafty to find new and unique ways to display their succulents. One of our favorite looks is the driftwood succulent planter. Whether you’ve collected some driftwood from Iowa‘s lakes and rivers or brought some home from a trip to the coast, these planters are a great way to use driftwood as part of your home decor.

The dry and weathered wood is a perfect match for succulents. It’s very similar to the dry, natural surroundings that wild succulents thrive in. With a few supplies and a handsome chunk of driftwood, you can make your own DIY driftwood succulent planter

Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A large piece of driftwood (choose one that has gaps or grooves about ¼” in deep, or that is large enough that you can drill a hole in it to hold some soil)
  • Succulent or cactus soil 
  • Sphagnum moss
  • E6000 or floral glue
  • Assortment of succulents
  • Optional: A drill and a Forstner or spade drill bit, or a Dremel with a cutting bit

 

How to Create a Driftwood Succulent Planter

  1. Clean up your driftwood. If it’s dirty, rinse off any dirt or sand. If you’re worried about bugs in your driftwood, you can bake it in the oven at 250º for 2 hours. If you line a baking tray with parchment paper, it makes cleanup a lot easier when you’ve finished baking the wood. 
  2. Once your driftwood is at room temperature again, decide how you want to position it. Usually, its most stable resting position is best if you’re going to use it as a centerpiece or mantel ornament. If you want to hang it, you can choose whatever angle you like best. 
  3. If your driftwood does not have any gaps or holes deeper than ¼”, you may need to make the gaps deeper and wider or drill holes with a spade or Forstner drill bit. Don’t drill all the way through, however. The holes for soil only need to be about ¼-½” deep. 
  4. Once you’ve decided where you’re going to place your succulents, glue a thin layer of sphagnum moss into the bottom of those spots. This will help to keep the soil in, so it doesn’t wash away as soon as you water your plants.
  5. Then, fill your gaps or holes with a little bit of cactus potting soil. You don’t need much, but enough to give the succulents somewhere to develop a few roots.
  6. Clean off excess dirt on your succulents.

  1. Decide on your plant placement, but don’t put them in just yet.
  2. Once you’ve decided where you want your plants, glue some more sphagnum moss around the edges of those areas.
  3. Place one or two tiny dabs of glue on the underside of a couple of the leaves of your succulents, and press it into its new location, so the glue sticks to the sphagnum moss. 
  4. Continue gluing in each of your succulents. Remember not to cover the base in glue completely, or the plant won’t be able to put out any roots and will die fairly quickly.
  5. Once all your gaps are full of succulents, let your finished driftwood planter set overnight. 
  6. The next day, water your succulents with just a little bit of water—you may need a syringe or eye-dropper to get the water in the right place. Remember, succulents don’t need much water.

Congrats, your succulent planter is complete! When you water it in the future, you may want to set it in the sink or on a tray to make sure you catch any drips. If any of the plants die, simply pull them off and glue a new one in its place. If you’d like to hang your succulent planter, you can loop some strong twine, double-looped fishing line, or rope around the ends and hang it however you please. 

Ready to make your own DIY driftwood succulent planter? Come on down to our garden center; we’ve got everything you need to get started, including a large selection of fun and unique succulents!

 

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Refresh and Revive Succulents After Winter

How to refresh and revive succulents after winter

The popularity of succulents is hard to miss. As they become increasingly trendy, they seem to be showing up everywhere.

These plants are popular thanks to their eye-catching appearance, a welcome variation from all of the popular varieties that have been houseplant staples for years, but also due to their low-maintenance nature. Simple to care for, succulents are accessible for anyone to enjoy, regardless of their level of confidence in being a Plant Parent.

Post Winter Blues:

After a long and dry winter – especially with our furnaces working so hard through this year’s deep freeze – everything is feeling a little dried out and drab. You can bet that your little succulents are feeling the effects of a dark and dry winter, and will need a bit of refreshing to shine for the rest of the year. While this might sound like a lot of work, if you invest the energy up front to give your succulents a great foundation to work from, the rest of your plant care will be a breeze! Take the end of winter as an opportunity to set your succulents up for a great spring and summer, when you can spend more time enjoying them than pampering them.

fiddle-leaf figs placed indoors

Dormant Succulents:
Safe from plummeting temperatures, wind, and snow, it’s easy to forget that our indoor plants also feel the seasons changing. With shorter days, less sunlight, and the dry air, our plants get ready to go dormant over the winter. Thankfully, our plants still look gorgeous during hibernation, so our homes still feel like an indoor oasis even when it’s chilly outside.

While dormant, your plants might look the same, but under the surface they’re in long-term survival mode until the weather improves. They don’t require nearly as much water or care, because they aren’t doing much growing! Limit watering, avoid fertilizing, and simply keep an eye on them to remove any leaves that might die off. We like to use tweezers to pull away dead leaves to avoid causing any more damage.

Winter Temperature for Succulents:
Keeping your succulent in the cooler part of your home will help them to settle into a natural rhythm of hibernation so they don’t come out of dormancy before the spring is ready to greet them. Dormancy is not only normal and natural but also important to help thrust your plant towards a spring and summer full of vibrancy.

fiddle-leaf fig plant

Winter Lighting for Succulents:

In the dim winter, when we have less light, don’t be surprised if you see your succulent leaning towards the window or the nearest light source. You might notice them “stretching” – growing taller and spreading further disproportionately in search of light. This is a telltale sign that your dormant plant isn’t getting the light it needs to survive the winter comfortably.

To prevent this, you might want to relocate them to a brighter spot or even invest in a little grow lamp to provide extra light for them. With spring around the corner, you might be able to wait it out, but desperate plants could use that extra help. Don’t worry if your plant stretches too much – you can always snip away some of the furthest growths and propagate them into new plants.

To propagate them into new succulents:

  • Use a sharp knife or pair of scissors to cut off the top of your succulent. Make sure to leave a stem that is at least 1-2” long with at least 3-4 leaves on it.
  • You can leave the original plant in place as new growth will also sprout from the base of it, as well.
  • Let your cutting dry out for a few days. When the end of your cutting has formed a “scab,” it is safe to plant it in soil.
  • Your new succulent cutting will start to put off roots within 2-3 weeks.  
  • The original plant will begin to put off new growth within a few weeks. You can care for the original plant the same as you were before cutting it back. The leaves that were left on the original plant may fall off or die at some point. Do not worry if this happens – it is very normal, although often they don’t fall off at all.  

Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

What if My Succulent gets too Cold?:

Succulents placed next to drafty windows run the risk of getting chilled in the winter – which is something to keep in mind as you try to find more light for your plant. Your poor succulent isn’t used to our frozen temperatures and can get frost damage just from being next to a cold window. You’ll be able to identify cold damage on the leaves a few days after your plant was exposed. Look at the thinnest and most vulnerable parts of the plant first, checking for softening, discoloring, and turning brown. At first, the damage may look like leaf rot, but you can usually sleuth out the cause if you consider your plant’s location. Leaving these damaged leaves on your plant can be an unfortunate starting point for rot and disease, so treating it right away is important for the health of the rest of your plant.

fiddle-leaf fig plant

How to Save Your Succulent from Cold Damage:

A little bit of cold damage doesn’t have to be the end of your succulent’s time with you, but it will need some intervention to keep your plant healthy – especially while they’re vulnerable and dormant. Here’s how to save your succulent from cold damage without compromising aesthetic:

  • Use a sharp paring knife. Before you start, clean the blade with rubbing alcohol to prevent passing any bacteria or disease to your succulent
  • Carefully cut off the damaged parts of your plant, including parts that are discolored or soft. Between every cut, clean your knife again with rubbing alcohol
  • Once you’ve removed the damage, place your succulent in a dry place that has ambient light but is not in direct sun.
  • After the wounds have healed up, you can move your plant back to the sun and resume your care schedule. Be careful not to place it somewhere that could bring on more cold damage!

The winter is tough on us, but it’s nice to have some living plants in your home to remind you of the vibrancy that waits for us in the spring. There’s a lot to be said about home decor that loves you back. Our plants improve our moods, beautify our homes, and keep our air fresh – but in return, they need some love and care from us to get through the difficult winter season.

As spring approaches, move your plant to a warmer spot in your home to coax it out of dormancy. Treat it to a half dose of cactus fertilizer when you see it sprouting new growth, and you’ll be ready to enjoy all that your succulent has to offer once you’ve both made it through the winter.

Posted on Leave a comment

DIY Terrariums

terrariums in glass

Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.”
-Alice Walker

Terrariums are not just a hot designer trend, they’re also incredibly versatile and easy to add to any home decor! While it can be convenient to find something that’s a perfect fit right on the store shelf, we love that terrariums are just as simple to make yourself, where they are entirely customizable to your aesthetic.

DIY Terrariums:

The beautiful thing about terrariums is that they are so simple in concept: a partially or even fully enclosed display for your favorite trending houseplants. The style and contents are entirely up to you, so you are free to create the perfect look for your home and lifestyle.

Terrariums give us all the gorgeous centerpiece aesthetic without the high-maintenance care needs. The only important thing to remember is a terrarium is just like a fancy container – all you need to worry about is watering your greenery enough that it is hydrated but not drowning. It’s all the ease of houseplants, but with a designer upgrade.

DIY terrariums

Succulent Terrariums:

Succulents continue to grow in popularity and it’s easy to see why. As cousins of cacti, these plants offer a beautiful aesthetic that is simply irresistible. They combine the simplest of care with gorgeous textures and colors, making them perfect for displaying in a creative terrarium. Plus, they’re slow-growers, meaning your beautiful terrarium will look its best for years!

The trendiest looks: Succulents look amazing combined with rustic or antique terrarium pieces. There’s something about their unique look that makes them the perfect match with a statement piece. We simply adore the look of our favorite aloe, echeveria, rosette, or string of pearls succulents in unique terrarium pieces, like old lamps, bottles, or even more creative displays, like coffee pots and gumball machines.

Create this look at home: Succulents are native to arid habitats so, while they don’t want to dry out completely, it’s very important for them to avoid damp roots. Drainage is the key here, so take advantage of space in your terrarium to layer in drainage pebbles underneath your soil. You can even consider taking advantage of these layers with decorative, colorful sand around your plants!

Succulents don’t like humidity, so they’ll thrive in a partially open terrarium that allows for some fresh air. However, you will want to keep your dainty plants out of too much direct light to keep them looking their best in all seasons for years to come. Since these plants are such slow growers, you can pack them in as tight as you want, without worry, and even finish off your look with bits of decorative moss to fill in the gaps!

Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

air plants hanging in glass bowl

Air Plant Terrariums:

Air plants are curious houseplants with a unique look that has made them very popular over the past few years. These marvels of the plant world don’t grow in soil and are found in the wild high above the ground on trees. Instead of using their roots to pull nutrients from the soil, they use specialized pores that take care of feeding and watering. They also have an interesting sci-fi look that make them perfect fits for terrariums.

The best air plant looks: These plants are adapted to living high in the air, so we love to pair them with classic glass terrariums. With such an stunningly alien aesthetic, they are also a perfect pairing with the clean-cut, modern terrariums that feature glass panes and stylish metal shapes. Although the crystal clear style of glass terrariums takes advantage of this plant’s strange ability to thrive entirely without soil, they also pair beautifully with other terrarium or container plants, too.

How to DIY your air plant terrarium: While air plants may seem to thrive off of nothing but the air itself, they’ll still need a little bit of help to thrive in a terrarium. Our homes don’t have the ambient humidity that these plants are used to in the steamy jungles that they call home. To keep them hydrated, they will not only need a regular humidity boost with misting, but they will also need an occasional drink from being submerged in distilled water and biannual fertilization with a mild orchid fertilizer solution.

fairy garden terrariums

Fairy Garden Terrariums:

While some terrariums are noteworthy for their unique plants, others make a statement with their cute, DIY design. Fairy Gardens have gained popularity recently and are known for their adorable fairy-themed terrarium displays that are great for kids and dreamers alike. Anything at all can go into a fairy garden, embracing a whole range of plants and decor.

Our favorite fairy garden aesthetics: The miniature scale of a fairy garden transforms regular houseplants into a lush jungle. The idea is to create a container or terrarium that looks like a little fairy home, complete with tiny decorations for an endearing and quirky aesthetic that is so fun to explore when you create and display it. We love the look of some of our favorite tropical houseplants, like ferns, mosses, ivy, or baby’s tears, in fairy gardens, but have also seen some impressive creations that take advantage of flowering plants, succulents, bonsai, air plants, and more.

DIY fairy garden terrariums: The fun of this style is how much you can personalize it. Find a container and little fairy decorations that you love, and fill in all the gaps with your favorite plants. We recommend sticking to plants that enjoy the same conditions since they all have to share the same soil in your terrarium. When you’re creating a fairy garden, choose a terrarium that offers great visibility so your decorations can be enjoyed more. Plant with good drainage and lots of soil, and water according to your plant’s needs. For faster-growing tropical plants, don’t be afraid to keep the scissors handy to keep them down to the size you want in your design.

We can’t blame everyone for suddenly wanting to take these gorgeous plants home – they are simply irresistible and add that accent of natural color and style to your indoor decor. We certainly understand why they’re so popular right now, and are happy to help you bring your own fiddle-leaf fig home without the hassle! Visit us in-store today to pick one up or to learn more.

Terrariums are so popular that everyone wants one in their home and with so many terrarium options for every aesthetic and style, it’s easy find create your perfect fit. Come in today to have a look at all the great terrarium products we have to get your creativity flowing for the perfect terrarium for your home and family.

Posted on

Succulent Birdcage

Succulent birdcage antique design decor home style living lifestyle creative diy project

The latest in gardening trends can sometimes come from the most unexpected places, and succulents have certainly held the spotlight for gardening trends for a while. Repurposing antique bird cages for a unique display, however, is a fresh idea that makes a new and striking twist on a current favorite. The latest in gardening trends can sometimes come from the most unexpected places, and succulents have certainly held the spotlight for gardening trends for a while. Repurposing antique bird cages for a unique display, however, is a fresh idea that makes a new and striking twist on a current favorite.

Succulents and vintage bird cages are a perfect fit for each other. While the antique bird cage captures a certain nostalgia, the dynamic and whimsical form of succulents adds character. This new take on planters is the start of a hot new trend, and is sure to turn heads.

“You know you’re a gardener when everything you see becomes a planter.” – Unknown

If you want to capture this trend before it grows, you might need to do some DIY. Many garden centers are only just starting to introduce pre-planted options to their shelves. Making your own succulent birdcage gives you the option for a totally personalized and custom look that will add a unique edge to your home or backyard.

Materials

  • Birdcage with a minimum 1” lip at the bottom (these can usually be found easily at an antique mall).
  • Succulents
  • Optional moss and lichens for decoration
  • Sheet moss or coco liner
  • Cactus soil
  • Small pebbles
  • Activated carbon

Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

Enter your email address below to subscribe to our newsletter:

Succulent Options:

You’ll want about 1 succulent plant for every 2” of birdcage diameter. For example, a 6” wide cage can fit 3 plants. For larger cages that are a foot across or more, you can start playing with container design. The “thriller, filler, spiller” rule of thumb is still a great tool here, helping to plan for a centrepiece, some low profile fillers, and something to trail out of the cage.

Some of the better options include:

  • Thriller: Varieties like Aloe Vera, Jade, or tall Aeonium have the striking architecture you might want for the center of your birdcage.
  • Filler: Rosette Succulents (echeverias) are the staple of a birdcage garden. Their natural range in colors make for a beautiful design as they spread in gorgeous clusters. Other little succulents work well too. Consider using Sedums or Crassulas as well.
  • Spiller: Succulents are a little limited in trailing options. Of course, String of Pearls or String of Bananas is a good choice for a small footprint in the cage with far-trailing habits. Burrow’s Tail could also be considered, but is a less popular choice because it grows so slowly. Eventually, your fillers will send runners that trail, adding a natural trailing element.

Putting it Together:

You’re essentially building an open terrarium, so many of the principles for the more mainstream succulent containers apply. Your birdcage will determine some of your construction approach: A mesh or open bottom is preferred, where coco liner or sheet moss can be laid down for drainage. A solid bottom cage will either require drilling drainage holes, or very careful vigilance with watering habits.

Here’s how to put together your succulent birdcage:

  1. Lay sheet moss or coco liner at the bottom of the cage and up a few inches on the sides.
  2. Place a layer of pebbles at the bottom for drainage.
  3. Layer activated charcoal on top of the rocks. This is an important step as it helps keep your plants safe from accumulating toxins.
  4. Add cactus soil to your desired soil height.
  5. Plant your succulents, arranging from the center outward.
  6. Add moss, lichens, and other touches to fill in any gaps and to give a polished final look.

It is also important to note that older cages may have paint that contains lead. Working with this kind of cage is not just a safety concern for you, but also for the health of your plants. When in doubt, use plastic sheeting to protect your plants against the paint chemicals from your antique birdcage.

Take on a gardening DIY project this season! Browse our upcoming classes & workshops

Beyond Succulents:

Planting in a birdcage is a new and creative way to garden – any old cage can be a striking alternative to any hanging basket. Succulents may be on their way to popularizing this trend, but a little creativity can bring forward unique and totally original displays in your home that are guaranteed to start conversations! Simply switch out cactus soil for peat-based potting soil and you can plant any annuals you want.

Imagine your backyard, complete with lavish and lush bunches of Supertunias or Bacopa, streaming from a birdcage, or alternatively, a rustic cage filled with edible and fragrant herbs.

This trend is all about looking at garden containers in a new way and finding an attractive way to put twists on container classics. Experimenting and getting creative is the perfect way to have a backyard statement piece that is unique and head-turning.