DIY Floral-Style Succulent Centerpiece

This lush and colorful succulent combo in a pedestal pot looks difficult, but it's simple once you know how. With the help of the step-by-step instructions and photos that follow, you'll soon be making your own lovely DIY floral-style succulent centerpieces, gift arrangements, and more.

Design by Fresh Chic, a division of CW Design & Landscaping 

DIY Floral-Style Succulent Centerpiece

To create this floral-style centerpiece, the designer chose a white-painted wooden urn 12 inches in diameter and 8 inches tall, with a basin 3 inches deep. Plants include ‘Sunburst’ aeonium, Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’, burro tail sedum, assorted blue echeverias, lithops (living stones), and Senecio radicans (fish hooks).

DIY Floral-Style Succulent Centerpiece

  1. Cut a circle from heavy mil plastic (such as a trash bag) and use it to line the basin. Fill with potting mix and press down on the soil with your palms to compact it. Form a mound several inches high in the middle that slopes to just below the rim.

DIY Floral-Style Succulent Centerpiece

2. In the center, plant an upright cluster of the largest rosettes.

3. Tuck smaller plants or cuttings around the center grouping, facing outward at a slight angle.

DIY Floral-Style Succulent Centerpiece

4. When the arrangement is nearly finished but still has some gaps, use a chopstick to push roots of remaining plants into the soil, and to tuck and conceal the edge of the plastic below the rim.

DIY Floral-Style Succulent Centerpiece

  1. Gently brush spilled soil off the leaves, then water the completed arrangement lightly to settle the roots. Because there's no drainage, water it minimally, about once a week, to moisten the soil, but not so much that the roots are sitting in a puddle of water.

Additional design tips

More suggestions from designer Melissa Teisl on achieving a "floral style" aesthetic:

  • Pick succulents in scale with the container.
  • Repeat plants' colors or forms in your container selection.
  • Use a pot's lines and shape to lead the eye and frame the plants.
  • Plant densely for an abundant look.
  • Use crushed rock topdressing to conceal the soil.
  • Give the composition a setting that enhances it and vice-versa.
  • Expand the palette with non-succulents. For example, a cordyline will add height and drama to a tall pot.
  • Jazz up a gift arrangement with a satin or velvet bow.

Find DIY floral-style succulent centerpieces in my books, Succulent Container Gardens and Succulents Simplified. Learn how to make them in my online Craftsy class, Stunning Succulent Arrangements. Also visit my YouTube channel for more great ideas for using and designing with succulents!

Related info on this site: 

Where and How to Order Succulents Online

 

Floral style succulent arrangement (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

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14 Comments

  1. Enid Sherman on March 2, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Is it better to cut blooms off succulents or let them flower?
    Thank you,
    Enid

    Hi Enid — It’s really a matter of personal preference. Generally I let them bloom, but occasionally I snip off flowers that I don’t like the looks of (such as the dandelion tufts of senecios) or that tend to drain too much energy from the plant, such as those of flapjack plants (Kalanchoe luciae). Agaves die after flowering, but you can’t stop that from happening by removing their bloom spikes, so you might as well enjoy the show.

  2. Judy Parkey on December 20, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    What is the plant right lower corner top pic. I won it in a silent auction and would like to know what it is. Ty.

    • Debra on December 20, 2016 at 7:55 pm

      It’s the tropical succulents, Rhipsalis salicornioides ;+)

  3. Kathleen McCarthy on November 24, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Such a beautiful arrangement – I love it!
    I am surprised to see the inclusion of the lithops. I love the look, but I would have thought it might be challenging to water the entire arrangement without over watering them? I am still v-e-r-y new to lithops, but eager to work with them. Are they not as difficult to care for if planter among other succulents as I thought?
    Thanks!

    • Debra on November 24, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      Excellent observation, Kathleen. I agree, and would not have included them. Too fiddly. A similar living stones type of succulent commonly called baby toes (fenestraria) would have been a better choice. Good catch!

      • Kathleen on November 25, 2017 at 1:49 pm

        Yes! Baby toes – I hadn’t thought of them, but that would be perfect in an arrangement like this.
        Thanks so much! 🙂

  4. Karen on December 29, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    How does the drainage work with this arrangement?

    • Debra on December 30, 2017 at 9:23 am

      No drainage. Water it minimally. More info on succulents in nondraining containers is in my books and Craftsy class.

  5. Stacey Spark on April 20, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Debra –

    Love your style! I have been looking for something just like this.

    I am having trouble finding the urn or pot to go under it though.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks, Stacey

    • Debra on May 7, 2018 at 4:30 pm

      It seems I see one every time I go thrifting. If that doesn’t do it, search Ebay for cake plates.

  6. Mel on August 12, 2019 at 1:38 am

    Beautiful! How much time before an event should I plant my succulents? I want them to have sufficient time to recover and root so that they are thriving and looking gorgeous on the day of the event. I’m thinking 2-3 weeks prior is a good time to make the arrangement, but appreciate any suggestions and advice.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 12, 2019 at 8:39 am

      Hi Mel — It depends on what you’re making and the time of year (succulents root faster in the spring), but yes, you could pot them 2-3 weeks prior. Just make sure they get adequate light so they keep their color and form. Without several hours of bright (not hot) sun daily, rosette succulents will flatten and those with stems will elongate, potentially spoiling the symmetry of the composition. However, cuttings are also more prone to sunburn, which could be disastrous. If this is more of a floral arrangement than a potted one, I’d wait until immediately prior. Cuttings don’t need to root to look good, they’ll be at peak color and best form, and they have enough moisture in their tissues that they don’t wilt. They’re fine without soil so you don’t have to deal with wet dirt and saucers under pots at the event. Plus they weigh less too.

  7. Karon Cumner on September 6, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    Love your succulent designs particularly loved the one in the pedestal. Look forward to enjoying more ideas in the future thanks from karon.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on September 6, 2021 at 3:03 pm

      Gosh I love getting comments like yours, Karen. And I see you’re a florist, in Australia no less! Thank you for a real day-brightener.

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