Make This Lasting Bouquet That Needs No Water

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.

Are you a sucker for succulents? See Gardenista‘s tips on How to Stop Killing Your Indoor Succulents and instructions for making a DIY Succulent Table (with a permanent centerpiece).


Christine Jones
Christine J2 years ago

Look pretty and I have some succulents so I might give it a go. Would feel too guilty to deprive it of water though.

Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

Beauty doesn't cost much

Kate R.
Past Member 3 years ago


Wisteria K.
Past Member 4 years ago

But why deprive the poor plant of water?
I feel sorry for this succulent .
Yes it can survive in all kinds of extreme conditions, but it is still a living thing that will die from this treatment,

I dislike this idea.
Plants are my friends. Why keep it in a vase without water when I can give it all the water it needs?

Janis K.
Janis K4 years ago

Very cool, thank you!

Judy Apelis
Judy A4 years ago

Noted, thank you!

Billi Holmes
Past Member 4 years ago

Interesting - but won't it soon shrivel?

Kumail Ibraheem
Kumail Ibraheem4 years ago

They're so pretty!

Franck Rio
Past Member 4 years ago

Thanks for Sharing