My DIY succulent topiary tree holiday centerpiece needs less care than a floral arrangement and lasts much longer---several months or more. Its requirements are similar to those of a succulent wreath: bright but not intense light (rotate occasionally for even exposure), weekly watering (from the top, to evenly moisten the moss), and pinching back if cuttings get leggy.DIY succulent topiary tree holiday centerpiece

The method is simple: poke holes in the moss, insert cuttings, and secure them with floral pins. It takes about two hours, start to finish, and you'll need approx. 200 one-inch-diameter cuttings. Harvest them from your garden, potted plants, nursery-grown succulents or from online sources. You needn't use the same varieties that I did, but do aim for contrasting colors and textures. Use jade plant (Crassula ovata) as a filler---it's inexpensive and easy to come by. Stay away from blue, blue-gray and lavender succulents because those aren't holiday colors---unless of course that's what you prefer. And do resist the temptation to decorate the little tree with vivid ornaments, thereby making it all about them and not about the succulents (but then, I'm prejudiced).


Topiary cone made of sphagnum moss, 12″ tall (including wooden base)
200 floral pins (or paper clips cut in half with wire cutters)
Clippers or scissors for taking cuttings and shortening stems
Chopstick or a Phillips screwdriver for poking holes in moss

Succulent cuttings (these are suggested, but nearly any kind will work):
Crassula ovata ‘Minima” (mini jade), 60
Sedum nussbaumerianum (Coppertone stonecrop), 30
Sedum rubrotinctum ‘Aurora’, 50
Senecio haworthii, 60

Lazy susan
Crystal corsage pins (around 50)
Senecio rowleyanus (string of pearls plant), 9′ of strands for garland

DIY succulent topiary tree holiday centerpiece


DIY succulent topiary tree holiday centerpiece


Watch my video: DIY Succulent Topiary Tree

Follow my Pinterest Board, Succulent Topiaries.

Related info on this site:

Make a Succulent Cornucopia

A succulent cornucopia makes a refreshing update on the traditional Thanksgiving centerpiece, and then after the holiday, you can remove... [Continue reading]

Succulent Wreath, Step-by-Step

Discover why succulent wreaths have been popular for decades. I recommend making a soil-less succulent wreath because... [Continue reading]

In my Stunning Succulent Arrangements class, I show how to make a simple succulent grapevine wreath. Enroll now and get 50% off the regular price of $40! [Learn more]

Where and How to Order Succulents Online

The succulents in my YouTube videos and design projects mostly come from the largest grower of cacti and succulents in the US: Altman Plants—specifically... [Continue reading]

Succulent topiary tree

Six New Holiday Designs to Inspire You

Sempervivum topiary tree. I love hens-and-chicks but only recently have grown them successfully year-round. The concept for this year's mini-tree was...[Continue reading]

In my books:

Succulents Simplified -- Succulent Topiary Sphere, pp. 156-161
Designing with Succulents, 1st ed. -- Create a Succulent Wreath or Topiary, pp. 113-117
Designing with Succulents, 2nd ed. --Grapevine wreath, page 116
Succulent Container Gardens -- Wreaths, pp. 176-178; Topiaries pp. 178-181

Enjoyed this article? Please share it!
  • 147


  1. Kat McCarthy on November 22, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    Your succulent topiary tree is simply spectacular! I am utterly enchanted with your use of the senecio as the garland! 🙂
    I am heading over to Youtube to get all the details of how to do this.

    • Debra on November 23, 2017 at 8:16 am

      Thank you, Kat! What a lovely comment.

  2. Hawk on November 25, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Thank you for the wonderful outlook on this concept.

    • Debra on November 25, 2017 at 11:55 am

      Thank YOU, Hawk!

      • Arsenia Serafica on December 12, 2019 at 10:58 pm

        This is what I’m waiting for during Christmas on how to make a Christmas Topiary. This is so fantastic and beautiful, loved watching it in your You Tube. Love it, loved. I can’t wait to make it. You’re such an amazing inspiration Debra!!!

  3. Rosie on December 4, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Oh. I love it very much.
    I would like I can get it for me.

  4. Christina on December 5, 2017 at 9:08 am

    I love this. Is this something that would stay alive, long past the holidays?

    • Debra on December 5, 2017 at 9:18 am

      Hi Christina — Yes, it’s basically a succulent wreath except it’s a cone. So the care is similar: water it from the top, give it bright light and good air circulation, rotate it for even exposure, and trim leggy growth (use trimmings to fill gaps). As long as it’s cared for, it’ll last several years, because the cuttings root into the moss.

  5. Vicky on December 5, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Very beautiful. I was a little confused on the supplies- one-inch-diameter cuttings, wouldn’t those be awfully big?

    • Debra on December 18, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      I was referring to the diameter of the rosette, not the stem.

  6. Deb Conway on December 18, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Where did you get the sparkly pins

    • Debra on December 18, 2017 at 2:28 pm

      Michael’s Craft Store.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.