Did you know that you can transform awkward, leggy, overgrown succulents into a bouquet that requires no watering? Gardenista editor Michelle recently learned this. Here’s what she writes:
“I discovered the trick the other day when I wandered into a local floral shop called Green Door Design, where owner Susie Turner had brought in thick-stemmed echeveria succulents pruned from her garden. Tied in bunches, they were lying on tables around the shop.”
“You can put them in a vase—with no water—and they’ll be happy for a month or longer,” Turner told her. “Then, stick them in dirt and they’ll grow.”
Sold, Michelle decided to make one of her own. Here’s how:
Photographs by Michelle Slatalla.
Above: Better than fake flowers. Native to the mountains of Mexico, echeveria are happiest in the desert. What this translates to at home: no maintenance, no upkeep, and they’ll last for weeks in a vase.
When choosing a vase, remember that succulents, plump from hoarding water in their leaves, look good juxtaposed against metal or rustic surfaces.
Above: There are a lot of different types of echeveria. The genus belongs to the Crassulaceae family of succulents, and was named after the 18th-century Spanish botanist Atanasio Echeverría (who collected plants and made drawings during an expedition to Mexico).
Michelle says not to worry about getting “the right echeveria.” All you need to make a similar bouquet is a few leggy succulents with a rosette-shaped flower at the end of each stem.
Above: To make a bouquet, step one was to prune woody bits off each stem. The idea was to make a tight clump of flowers (so the woody parts don’t show); the straighter the stems, the tighter you can clump them.
Above: Michelle tied twine around a “base bouquet” that consisted of several stems cut to a similar length.
Above: The “base bouquet” still had lots of gaps in it, so the next step was to tuck in individual stems to fill out the arrangement.
Above: The result was a pillowy, sensuous ball of flowers.
Above: Michelle kept the height of the bouquet low to create the effect of a plush pincushion above the lip of a painted iron vase from France (circa 1920). An urn shape with a wide mouth is a good shape to hold the stiff bouquet in place.