Decorating with Succulent Arrangements

Although I am sure our moms would LOVE another scented candle or framed photo of our children, a little green (plants not cash) for the Holidays can be a nice departure from tradition. 


Prior to the holiday gifting frenzy my very stylish (read: hard to buy for) mother  was mentioning her desire for something new to adorn her dining room table. She had an older set of candle sticks that have been on her table for a few years and were starting to feel pretty tired. I took this as a personal challenge to gift her something she would actually want for a change. 

I searched the usual suspects (West Elm, Crate, DWR, etc.) for center pieces but everything felt a little flat. She needed something with life. My mother lives in an updated Eichler in Lucas Valley, San Rafael. If you've never seen an Eichlers they are epitome of mid-century modernism. The vibe is very clean and minimal so plants really help to warm the space. 

Typical Eichler exterior

Typical Eichler exterior

Eichler atrium

Eichler atrium

After searching for long rectangular vessel and not have much luck I headed to my favorite garden center for inspiration. Sloat is my go-to for plants both indoor and out. Super knowledgable staff, great selection and best of all, they guarantee their plants. So if you have a knack for murdering your greenery like moi, this is your favorite garden center too. I found two beautiful ceramic pots: one oversized white and a smaller but similar gray one. I always feel the need to have have pairs or multiples of things in varying heights for depth. If that confuses you, just go with one giant item to make a statement instead.

I bought a selection of succulents (the hardest to kill) to fill my pots. I chose one larger statement plant as the focal point and a few others for each pot in varying heights and textures to place around it. Making an arrangement is a lot like merchandising or photography: composition and balance are key. 

I recruited Louie to help (warning: 3 years olds are not at all helpful).  He loved being part of the project (read: digging in the soil) and I felt like a better parent for getting him involved (read: getting him off the couch).  

My first step was to put mesh weed paper that I happened to have in my garage on the bottom of the planter. These planters has a hole in the bottom for draining (very important for succulents because he soil needs to dry out between waterings) and the mesh paper would prevent soil from falling out all over my moms very very clean home. Louie then filled the bottom of the planters with a layer of soil. Before taking them out of their containers, I planned out placement of the succulents on the table to make sure I knew where each would go. 

The final step was to cover the exposed soil with moss to make the arrangement look "finished". I got my moss at World Market but I am sure you can get at most craft stores or garden centers.


These beauties got to live on my kitchen counter for 3 days before I had to give them up and I absolutely LOVED having them there so much I might actually have to make a few more for myself!

Will get a photo in situ when I next visit mother dearest but needless to say... she loved them.