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Give a Basket of Baby Succulents

Want to launch a lifelong love of gardening? Give a basket of baby succulents.

When in my 20s, I had 30 houseplants. Before leaving on vacation, I asked a neighbor to tend them. To make it easier for her (ha), I labeled each with a number corresponding to a hand-drawn map of my apartment’s interior, and to a list that gave each plant’s watering schedule and amount.

If that sounds excessive—or obsessive—consider that #plantparenthood on Instagram has over 150K posts and averages 250 new ones daily.

Succulent Plant Parent Essentials

So what does that mean for you, dear reader, since you’re probably not in that demographic? (Most of my subscribers are seasoned gardeners 40+. That’s who we are, and we’re proud of it.) Well, you now have an idea for that lovely niece or DIL you normally just throw a gift card at: a Plant-Parent Gift Basket.

Create a Plant-Parent Gift Basket

Select an assortment of chubby succulents, tuck them into a box or basket, and pad with tissue paper. Wrap the whole shebang in clear cellophane and tie with ribbon, perhaps with a pacifier attached (kidding…sort of).

Include a copy of Succulents Simplified or Succulent Container Gardens. Email me if you want autographed, personalized copies. Or if she likes videos, give her my online class, Stunning Succulent Arrangements. Watch it together! 

Gifts for Succulent Lovers

The Easy Way (recommended if you’re shipping to the recipient): Send a gift arrangement from Succulently Urban. Owner/designer Marialuisa Kaprielian does gorgeous work, her plants are superb, and her prices are awesome. Plus her echeverias (shown here) are kitten-cute. Marialuisa will ship two-day or overnight until mid-December.

The Grandparent Way: Gather individual items at your local garden center or order them online. Good starter collections:

Altman Plant’s indoor succulents collection: set of 8 in 2.5 inch pots, $27Gifts for succulent lovers
Gifts for succulent lovers

Add a pot that has a simple form in colors trending with 20-somethings: white or pale pink. One example of many on Amazon:

Gifts for succulent lovers
Thoughtful extras likely to be appreciated:
Pebbles for topdressing: 32 oz. bag, $8.79
Cactus potting mix, 10 qts, $13.61
Cactus potting soil

Enjoy your grand-plants

When you hear squeals of glee, suggest that the giftee post occasional photos on Instagram. It’s a great way to stay connected and watch little darlings grow. About half the photos at Instagram’s #plantparent and #plantparenthood show succulents. Do tag me in the comments. Auntie Debra wants to see too!

Also watch my YouTube video in which I assemble a gift basket of echeverias for my own DIL.Video about gift basket of echeverias

Related Info on This Site:

Great Gifts for Succulent Lovers

Succulent Centerpieces

Buy and Shop for Succulents Online

Succulent White-Pot Pairings 

My “Stunning Succulent Arrangements Class” 

Gifts for succulent lovers
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Great Gifts for Succulent Lovers

Much of what follows is my own wish list, but these items would likely make great gifts for you and other succulent lovers as well. Some I already own and figured you’d want them too. If you’re the giftee, consider forwarding this to the gifter. Note: Some links go to Amazon, where I’m an associate, so I do get a small percentage of any sales that result, but it doesn’t cost you extra. Please know I appreciate it—especially since, while doing this exhaustive research, I bought a few things. ;+)

Tools and useful items

Thorn Armor Gloves: These are the gloves that Phoenix artist Jim Sudal wore while assembling his prickly-pear holiday tree. His gloves were ruined after two days and 250 spiny pads, but Jim says he couldn’t—and wouldn’t—have done it without them. Prices vary according to size, but expect to pay $40 or $50. I figure a pair ought to last someone like me, who doesn’t handle cactus much, a lifetime. In fact, they’ll probably become heirlooms.

Thorn armor gloves

Thorn Armor gloves

Joyce Chen scissors. Around $20. I have four pairs that I keep in various drawers and on my potting bench. I even have a pair in my car for…well…you know, the occasional overgrown succulent by the side of the road. Joyce Chen scissors don’t appear tough, but they can cut through finger-diameter branches. I use them mainly for precision snipping, clipping and deadheading. If I could keep one of my pairs of Joyce Chen’s out of the garden, I’d use it for its intended purpose: in the kitchen, cutting chicken bones.

Succulent clippers

12-Inch Tweezers. Under $10. These are for those fiddly instances when you have to reach into an agave or between spines to extract fallen leaves, weeds and bits of debris. Long tweezers also are good for picking up bristly succulents. However, for a plant much larger than a ping-pong ball, you really need tongs…which I suspect you already have (check the kitchen). Hm, maybe you should get a second set of those, too.

Gifts for succulent lovers

The Colorful Dry Garden, $23. Not only is author Maureen Gilmer an expert on plants and gardening in the dry Southwest, her explanations, advice and descriptions are full of wit and insight. Gilmer’s beautifully illustrated book presents an extensive assortment of flowering shrubs that make great low-water companion plants for succulents. It dovetails nicely with the updated and revised second edition of Designing with SucculentsWant to get both books for free? Scroll down to the Giveaway. 

Moisture meter. Are you concerned about under- or over-watering your succulents? If you tend to be a helicopter plant parent, you’ll find a moisture meter reassuring. Stick its probe into the soil, and if the indicator goes to the left of moist, it’s OK to water. If it zips to the right, back away from the plant. This particular meter also measures light and soil pH, and needs no battery—not bad for under $10.

Gifts for succulent lovers

Pretty, cool stuff

Gifts for Succulent Lovers

Commemorative Tile: It’s a win-win: You support a worthy cause; honor a cherished relationship for decades (if not centuries) from now; and you give the recipient a lifelong fondness for a public garden. This particular tile is in the Children’s Garden of the San Diego Botanic Garden (SDBG), and whenever my grandson is there, he looks for it. The SDBG is now raising funds for a 7,400-square-foot glass conservatory. Donor tiles are $250 to $5,000, depending on size. In the Bay Area, the Ruth Bancroft Garden—renowned for its succulent collection—is currently selling donor tiles to raise funds for a new building; theirs include the garden’s agave logo.

Cactus pad jewelry. I found the adjustable ring (above) on Etsy for $11. Matching earrings are $10. They’re made of “high quality resin” and come from Bulgaria, so it takes a couple of weeks for them to arrive.

Gifts for succulent lovers

Succulent leggings. No one would ever think of getting these for me (how sad is that?), so I consoled myself by adding them to my cart. If the pattern I chose is too sedate for you, do a search for “succulent leggings.” There are dozens of styles, some insanely colorful.

Succulent shoes. These come in several patterns, including cacti. I can’t speak for the quality, but at $50 it had better be good. The seller won’t ship after Nov. 30 to ensure delivery by Dec. 25, so if you’re interested, jump. Btw, I’m a size 9. Just sayin’. 

My Own Designs

Over the past few years, I’ve created numerous gift and decor items based on my own artwork and photos. They’re for sale online at my Zazzle store. Zazzle doesn’t make it easy to pass along discounts, but here’s a 15%-off code you can use through Jan. 31, 2019. Copy-and-paste it when you order: UQEYOJQKDMCOXQJQPRTP. But first see if they’re offering an even better discount (which they often do).

Gifts for succulent lovers

Agave watercolor tile 4.25” x 4.25” on Zazzle, regular price $13.70

Agave throw pillow on Zazzle, 16′ x 16″ square, regular price $31.35.

Gifts for succulent lovers

Barrel cactus lumbar pillow, 13” x 21”, on Zazzle $36.65 regular price.

Gifts for succulent lovers

My 2019 Succulent Watercolors Calendar, on Zazzle $22.15 regular price.

And now, the giveaway!

I’m giving away a pair of books that are must-haves for anyone who gardens in the dry, hot Southwest. If you already own them, they make great gifts: The Colorful Dry Garden (see above) and my magnum opus, Designing with Succulents (the revised and updated 2nd edition). Do enter! If the winner is a subscriber to my newsletter (sign up on my Home page), he or she will also receive my Succulents 2019 Watercolor Calendar! Go to my Instagram page to enter. 

Gifts for Succulent Lovers

Related Info on This site:

Buy and Shop for Succulents Online 

Tools, Books and Products — My personal faves!

Want to give a signed copy of one or more of my books? Contact me! 

2019 Watercolor calendar cover
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View my 2019 Succulent Watercolors Calendar

I’m pleased to show you my 2019 Succulent Watercolors Calendar! It features a dozen new, vibrant watercolors based on my favorite photos of succulent plants.

2019 Watercolor calendar cover

Last year I was so busy with the launch of the second edition of Designing with Succulents, I didn’t pursue my watercolor hobby. This year happily I found time.

I try to do a calendar every year because I tend not to get around to things—even things I enjoy—without a deadline and people waiting. It’s highly motivating that some of you requested a 2019 succulent watercolors calendar for yourselves and to give as gifts.

My calendars and other succulent-themed gift items are available from Succulent Chic, my online Zazzle store. Never pay full price at Zazzle. They charge too much! I use them because their production values are high and there’s no overhead, leaving me free to paint and design. Zazzle keeps 90% of the sales price.

Zazzle doesn’t make it easy to pass along discounts, but here’s a 15%-off code you can use through Jan. 31, 2019. Copy-and-paste it when you order: UQEYOJQKDMCOXQJQPRTP. But first see if they’re offering an even better discount (which they often do).

Historically, Zazzle has discounted calendars 50% on Veterans Day and 60% on Black Friday, so I usually wait until then to buy them. FYI, Zazzle will mail them directly to the recipients for you.

So, what’s new for ’19?

All my 2019 Succulent Watercolors Calendar paintings are based on my own photos, except Miss December. I based the agave-in-snow watercolor on a photo by Portland’s amazing Karina Aldridge (Instagram @sacredelements) with her permission.

See more of my watercolors ~

Past calendars are of course outdated, but the images are not:

2016 Watercolor calendar 

Related Info on This Site:The easy way to paint watercolors

Sixty succulent coloring book photos

Debra's art supplies

Go to “Debra’s Art Supplies” for the watercolor paints, paper and brushes I prefer.

 

On My YouTube Channel:

Paint a Succulent Watercolor the Easy Way

In “Paint a Succulent Watercolor the Easy Way” I trace the image onto watercolor paper, mask certain areas, apply washes, paint one leaf at a time by dropping in dabs of color, then scrub out highlights when the paint is dry.


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12 Succulent Bouquets to Inspire You

12 Succulent Bouquets to Inspire You ~

When wired onto faux stems, succulent rosettes—despite having no roots, soil or water—make long-lasting floral bouquets. Echeverias, graptosedums, crassulas and kalanchoes lend themselves beautifully to bouquets because of their colorful leaves and floral shapes. They’re easy to attach to stems, need no water (because they live off moisture in their leaves), look good for a long time, and can later be planted as cuttings.

Succulent arrangement
At one of my workshops, a student made this lovely bouquet of wired succulent rosettes, ‘Sticks on Fire’ stems, and red eucalyptus. For ballast, she added layers of sunrise-colored sand.

Sunburst aeonium bouquet
This is a bouquet I made before I learned the floral technique of wiring succulent rosettes. The reason for the arrangement was to show how the plants resemble flowers. It consists of aeoniums and graptoverias with long stems. But in general, succulents have short stems, or stems so thick they don’t work well for vase arrangements.

Aloe flower bouquet with wired succulents
I made these bouquets for the launch party for my book, Succulents Simplifiedwhich has similar plants on the cover. I used marbles as ballast and filled the vases with water to keep the flowers fresh. The stems are bamboo skewers.

Succulent bouquet of wired rosettes
After the aloe flowers faded in the bouquet shown earlier, I pulled them out and arranged the succulent rosettes in a different vase (with no water). They looked good for several more weeks.

Elaborate succulent bouquet of wired rosettes
I made this bouquet of echeverias, dwarf aloes and silver eucalyptus stems for a garden club at which I was speaking, for a raffle. It took me forever to wire so many rosettes (30 @ 3 min./ea. = 1-1/2 hours). The response was gratifying, but I’m not eager to do it again!


The amber color of the glass vase inspired the selection of ‘Coppertone’ stonecrop, which in turn inspired blue echeverias for contrast.

Gift bouquet of succulent rosettes
Wired rosettes are heavy, so you need something to anchor them. Here I used crushed, tumbled glass. (I made this a few years ago. I wonder, should I have filled the jar with glass? At the time, I thought it was cool to let the wired stems show.) Succulents include jade, aeoniums, sedums, and in the center for texture contrast, a fuzzy kalanchoe. When stems are this short, you needn’t stabilize them with floral picks or bamboo skewers.

Succulent bouquet in colored sand
Above: The colors of the succulents inspired the colors of sand. (I keep a palette of colored sand in jars that occupy an entire bookshelf.) Read more about how this arrangement came together. 

Succulent bouquet with eucalyptus and dried split peas
I agreed to demonstrate how to make a succulent bouquet at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. Few colorful succulents were available, so I wired red and silver tillandsias onto stems as filler and included dried floral material. I had brought a bag of split peas for ballast, so imagine my delight when my volunteer brought seeded eucalyptus—an unplanned yet delightful repetition.

Succulents in a gift mug

It’s nice to place the bouquet in a container that’s also a gift, such as a pretty coffee mug. This one is filled with playground sand as ballast.

A jay looks interested in my spring ’18 succulents-and-sand bouquet.

Another bouquet of wired succulent rosettes anchored in colored sand, made by one of my students.

Hints:

— Handle succulent leaves minimally because they mar easily. Hold cuttings by their stems or the underside of the leaves.

— Unless you’re using heavy rosettes, floral picks or skewers aren’t necessary with short-stemmed arrangements (wires wrapped with tape are adequate).

— As with any good design, select elements that are colorful, textural, and provide pleasing repetitions and contrasts.

— It’s nice to place the bouquet in a container that’s also a gift, such as a pretty coffee mug.


More info ~

My book, Succulents Simplified, pp. 162-169, shows how to make a special occasion succulent bouquet.

Articles:

DIY Succulent Bouquet When I need a hostess gift, thank-you present, or an arrangement for a special friend, I create a bouquet of succulents. I start by selecting… [Continue reading]

Use Colored Sand for Succulent Bouquets  I like to display bouquets of succulent rosettes in clear glass containers filled with layers of sand. Practical as well as pretty, the sand lends…[Continue reading]

Videos:

My Craftsy Class: Stunning Succulent Arrangements ~ See how I made this bouquet in a Mason jar with crushed glass for ballast. Use this link to take my Craftsy class (all seven lessons) at 50% of the regular enrollment price—$20 instead of $40.Succulent bouquet made by Debra Lee Baldwin for Craftsy

And on my YouTube channel


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SIGNED COPIES

A book plate creates a very special signed copy! Book plates are autographed and personalized, peel-and-stick labels that go inside a book’s cover. Mine have my publisher’s logo and my own artwork. Book plates are $2.50/each, payable to Sunwriter7@cox.net via PayPal. On the transaction page, where it says “Add a note,” type the recipient’s first name. Be sure to order signed and personalized book plates for yourself and for my other books too! Important: Include the address you want them mailed to. 

 Order the revised and updated 2nd edition of Designing with Succulents or another of my bestsellers ~
Books by Debra Lee Baldwin
Succulent bouquet with echeverias
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Make a Bouquet of Succulents

When I need a hostess gift, thank-you present, or an arrangement for a special friend, I make a bouquet of succulents.

 

Create a bouquet of succulent cuttings

I start by selecting a coffee mug or glass container (usually a jar, thrift-store vase, or clear bottle), the size of which determines the size of the arrangement. Then I head into the garden with clippers. I cut a dozen or so succulent rosettes, and in 2 or 3 minutes per cutting, they’re wired onto stems and ready to be arranged. Of course if the cuttings have long stems, you needn’t wire them onto faux ones. But most succulent rosettes have short stems or none at all.

Echeverias, graptosedums, crassulas and kalanchoes lend themselves beautifully to bouquets because of their colorful leaves and rosette shapes. They’re easy to attach to faux stems, need no water (because they live off moisture in their leaves), look good for a long time, and can later be planted as cuttings.

Create a bouquet of succulent cuttings

Make a bouquet of succulent cuttings, materials: 

— Garden clippers, wire cutters, and scissors.

— A vase, mug, jar or some other holder. Height and size don’t matter, but keep in mind that your bouquet should be at least half as tall as its container, and the taller the arrangement, the more succulents you’ll need.

Assorted colorful succulent cuttings. In order for stems not to split when you wire them, they should be about the diameter of a chopstick but no thicker than your little finger (because thick tissue is tough to push a wire through).

— 22-gauge florist’s wire. I buy it in prepackaged, 18-inch lengths from a craft store. You’ll need one length of wire for each rosette.

— A roll of green florist’s tape. This helps hold the wire in place and hides it, creating what looks like a real stem. (Wondering if you can simply use long-stemmed succulents? Yes, if you have them. You can certainly use the flowers of succulents, too!)

— Bamboo skewers (sold at any supermarket) or floral picks. These are useful for strengthening and stabilizing the faux stem and holding the cutting upright. They’re inflexible, so plan to cut some of the faux stems shorter to make a balanced arrangement. I usually wire a few lightweight cuttings without sticks to have some to bend outward.

— Ballast to anchor stems. Their high moisture content makes succulent cuttings top-heavy when wired, so stems need to be held in place with sand, pea gravel, a floral frog or foam, crushed glass or—in a pinch—dried peas or beans (careful not to get them wet).

Make a bouquet of succulent cuttings, step by step:

  1. Cut wire in half and thread each 9-inch-long piece into the stem just below the lowest leaf. Wires should be at right angles to each other, so when you look down on the succulent, it’ll look like a plus sign with a plant in the middle.
  2. Place a floral pick or bamboo skewer alongside the stem or, if it’s wide enough, up through the middle.
  3. Fold wires downward so they encase the stem stub and skewer. All four wires should touch each other.
  4. Tear or cut off 8 or so inches of floral tape. Use your thumb to hold the top of the tape against the base of the succulent. With your other hand, gently stretch the tape. Twirl the rosette and stretch the tape as you wrap the stem. (It may take a few tries, but it’s not difficult.)
  5. Use wire cutters to cut the stem to whatever length you want it to be.
  6. Add ballast to the container and insert the wired rosettes into it (with dried floral material if you like) until you have a pleasing bouquet.

Related info on this site:

Use Colored Sand for Succulent Bouquets  I like to display bouquets of succulent rosettes in clear glass containers filled with layers of sand. Practical as well as pretty, the sand lends color and interest, and serves as to anchor the stems so top-heavy rosettes don’t tumble out. Succulent sand bouquets make [Continue reading]

12 Succulent Bouquets to Inspire You When wired onto faux stems, succulent rosettes—despite having no roots, soil or water—make long-lasting floral bouquets. [Continue reading] 

Succulent bouquet made by Debra Lee Baldwin for Craftsy

This bouquet is from my online Craftsy Class.

How to Make a Succulent Bouquet is one of seven sessions of my online Craftsy class, Stunning Succulent Arrangements. Use this link to take the class (all seven lessons) at 50% of the regular enrollment price—$20 instead of $40!