Creating Living Art With Succulents

Creating Living Art With Succulents

Succulents come in a wide array of colors, textures and sizes. Some are
annuals, and some are perennials. Their firm, thick, rigid foliage makes
them uniquely suited for living art projects, such as a succulent orb or

Raili Nieznanski with Estrada Farms shares some ideas for creating living
art with succulents.

Most succulents are surprisingly easy to propagate by stem or leaf cuttings,
since they’ve evolved to reproduce quickly in harsh conditions.

If a stem is broken or cut off, let the cut end air dry for a few days, then
stick the cutting in a pot of well-drained soil. In a few weeks’ time, you
should start seeing a cluster of fibrous roots growing.

Or, if there are plantlets growing at the base of the mother plant (like Hens
and Chicks), you can break those off and plant them; chances are small
rootlets have already formed.

A leaf may also be able to produce air roots; just nestle it in some soil, and
a new plant will grow from the apex of the leaf.

Succulents need especially well-drained soil, like potting soil mixed with
equal parts of sand and pumice. Potting soil designed specifically for
succulents and cacti can also be used, but for best results, should still be
mixed with additional sand or pumice or other material that promotes

Succulents are uniquely suited for both vertical and horizontal applications
due to the fact that they need relatively little soil and water to survive and
thrive. They can be planted into almost any container from a vertical
picture frame to a crack in the cement.

One popular application is a “kissing ball” or hanging sphere or orb
covered in succulents. There is more than one way to make a hanging
succulent orb.

Purchased Ball Frame The internet offers a few options for
purchased ball frames. Some are just the wire frame, ready for you to fill
with soil and moss and plants. Others come already filled with moss.
Some kits even include the succulent cuttings. Prices vary. Be aware that
the frame and the chain or hook you hang it from need to be rather sturdy
to support the weight of the soil and plants when they are both wet and

DIY Succulent Ball For a less expensive, fun, do-it-yourself
option, try this:

1. Purchase two half sphere hanging baskets. If they already come with a
moss liner, great. If not, purchase sheet moss or even just burlap can work
to line the ball.

There are two schools of thought on the next step. You can either
plant the two halves of the ball separately and then wire them together, or
you can form the complete sphere and then do the planting. Slightly
different process but nearly identical results.

2. Completely submerge the moss liner in water for approximately 2
minutes. If planting the completed sphere, soak with water and allow to
drain overnight. With the completed sphere the center of the ball is filled
with succulent specific potting soil (see recipe below).

3. After the liner/ball has dried out slightly, it is time to start planting your
succulent cuttings. Start from the bottom of the orb. (Use an empty flower
pot or bowl to set the orb on as you are working so your cuttings don’t get

4. With a pencil or chopstick insert a 1/2 hole into the orb, then take a
cutting and insert it into the hole.

5. Use florist wire or any thin wire you may have around. Cut the wire into
2″ or 3″ pieces and bend the wire into a “U” shape. You can also be
purchase florist pins. Secure the stem of the succulent into the orb using
the wire. If you are planting the halves separately, pack soil into the center
around the cuttings as you work your way up the sides until the soil is
packed level with the rim of the frame.

6. Completely cover the orb with cuttings or put clusters of succulents in
patterns around the orb.

7. Keep outdoors in a partially shady area like a covered patio or indoors in
a very bright room.

8. After 2 weeks with no water, gently water with a hose once a week. If
you planted your two halves separately, wait to this point, when the roots
are established, to put the two halves together and wire the baskets

9. Under the right conditions your orb should last at least 6-9 months,
then recut the succulent plants down and reinsert them again as they grow

10. Enjoy your living art!
A similar procedure can be used for making a living wreath with succulents
or for creating a vertical frame full of succulents.
Think about containers for succulents that are unusual or unsuitable for
plants that require a lot of water and soil. A small sea shell or a shallow
dish are among the thrift store finds that would make beautiful succulent

Recipe for Succulent Soil

2 parts potting soil
1 part pearlite
1 part corse sand

Some Popular Succulents by Name

Hens & Chicks – sempervivum or echevaria
Sedum – many varieties
Donkey Tail – Sedum morganianum
Sun Rose – aptenia cordifolia
Jade Plant – Crassula ovate
Ice Plant

Estrada Farms is a retail nursery and garden shop catering to the home
gardener and do-it-yourself home landscaper. In addition, we offer special
pricing for landscapers and other commercial projects. Whenever
possible, our plants and hard goods come from local Utah growers and
businesses. We support Utah first and are a member of Local First Utah.
Our unique location in the center of a growing residential area provides us
with unique opportunities and responsibilities. Besides providing a variety
of high-quality plant and gardening products and services to our friends
and neighbors, we want to offer our location as the center for community
events and activities.

Date Night at Estrada Farms offers a discount to groups of 30 or
more and allows private access either an hour before opening or an hour
after closing.
Neighborhood HOA groups, church groups, clubs, and other groups can
from this group discount and private access.

Party at the Farm Does your family, book club, food club, church
group, or other
social organization want a unique venue for a meeting or party? Consider
Estrada Farms. What could be better than being surrounded by beautiful
plants as your interact and entertain.

Estrada Farms Community Garden allows those living in condos
or apartments
the opportunity to garden as a family and enjoy the fresh, home-grown
not usually available to them.

We are working on gathering together local Utah farmers for a truly local
Utah Farmers’ Market that focuses on locally grown produce
rather than crafts and

In the fall we intend to offer a Pumpkin Patch including other fun
fall activities for
families at a reasonable price. School and church groups can book special
times to visit with group discount pricing.

Winter activities will include music events and outdoor winter recreation.
Estrada Farms Garden Shop & Nursery
1133 W. 3200 N., Lehi, UT 84043
(801) 766-3354

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