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.
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 a bit 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
Succulents (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
Crystal corsage pins (around 50)
Senecio rowleyanus (string of pearls plant), 9′ of strands for garland
Watch my video: DIY Succulent Topiary Tree
Follow my Pinterest Board, Succulent Topiaries.
Related info on this site:
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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