Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTO! Ditch the flowers & grow succulents

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Photo/Illustration: courtesy Debra Lee Baldwin
Inspired by yesterday’s post, Debra Lee Baldwin sent in this smaller example of succulents in action. This time, as a replacement for a tabletop flower arrangement. She says, “This floral-style succulent arrangement has lasting power. The rosette succulents resemble roses, but because they’re rooted in the container, they will last for a year or more. To keep the composition looking crisp and compact, remove dry leaves from the base of the echeveria, pinch back the sedum and graptosedum to encourage fullness, and deadhead flowers as needed. During warmer months, in order to keep leaf colors bright and prevent the plants from stretching toward light, give the arrangement at least four hours of sun daily in all but hottest climates. During colder months the plants will go dormant, and since two of the three are frost-tender, the composition should be overwintered indoors. Place it near a window so it receives bright light during the day, and keep the soil on the dry side. To prevent mealybugs from colonizing leaf axils, provide good air circulation. Should an infestation occur, dab the insects with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. In spring, after all danger of frost, place the arrangement back outside, gradually increasing the amount of sunlight the plants receive lest they become sunburned from too much too soon. Keep the soil about as moist as a wrung-out sponge (although if you forget to water, the plants will draw on their own reserves—which is the great thing about succulents). There is no need to fertilize—after all, you don’t want the plants to outgrow their container and deconstruct the composition.” Thanks, Debra, for sharing this beautiful container and telling us how to take care of our own succulent arrangements!

For a video of Debra creating a succulent arrangement, click here.

Click here to enlarge this photo.
Photo/Illustration: courtesy Debra Lee Baldwin
Echeveria ‘Afterglow’
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Photo/Illustration: courtesy Debra Lee Baldwin
Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’
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Photo/Illustration: courtesy Debra Lee Baldwin
Sedum ‘Cape Blanco’
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Photo/Illustration: courtesy Debra Lee Baldwin


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View Comments


  1. user-7006895 10/26/2010

    Debra, thanks for sharing this - I really love it. I have the perfect bowl and will definitely be copying this idea.

  2. arboretum 10/26/2010

    deb, this is just absolutely BRILLIANT.
    and so thoughtful for you to provide the instructions.
    the container has drain holes, yes? why will the rosettes "only last a yr or more"? plse also tell us what you use for a planting medium. and thanks so much. you just made my week, at least!
    a teaching website

  3. sheilaschultz 10/26/2010

    Beautiful composition, Debra. My succulents are now in their winter nursery (extra bedroom) being watered and 'lit' as per ideas from your books. Ah, to live in CA as opposed to Denver where my succulents could reach their true potential ;) Oh, that's right, they're not kids...

  4. DebraLee 10/31/2010

    I'm glad you like it! Yes, the container has a drain hole, which I covered with a piece of window screen. Oops, I should have said "the arrangement will last a year or more." Those graptosedum rosettes will get leggy and deconstruct the composition, so in about a year (less, if the weather is warm and the plants are actively growing) you'll probably want to redo it. Graptosedum is easy to start from cuttings, so simply prune the tips and tuck back in.

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