Succulents have become a hot (and green) trend in the world of wedding must-haves. Succulents are plants that store water in their leaves and include many plants beyond the familiar cactus and jade trees. These other non-spiny and non-woody members of this plant group are wonderful for use in wedding décor, guest favors and bridal bouquets. The leaves of many grow in a rosette pattern, giving them a flower-like appearance perfect for the bulk of an arrangement. With varieties in shades of greens, blues or red and some with beautiful hints of orange and yellow, it's easy to match your wedding colors. These “foliage flowers" can then be accented by succulent types that form strings of dainty leaves. Traditional cut-flowers can be added if desired.
Succulent arrangements are more enviro-friendly than traditional cut-flower arrangements as growing succulents takes fewer chemicals and less water than growing cut-flower selections, you can plant them after the wedding rather than sending them to the landfill or storing them and in your garden they will, once again, be using less water than other plants. They also save the cost of having a cut-flower bridal bouquet professionally preserved, or the cost and mess of doing it yourself and… you don't have to figure out how to dust them!
Here are the basics of creating a succulent bridal bouquet:
You will need:
Succulents (and traditional flowers, if using)
Florist's stem wires – 12" long
Needle Nose pliers
Vase to hold work-in-progress
Each succulent rosette or string of leaves will need to be wired, due to lack of a long, sturdy stem that a cut-flower would have. As you complete wiring of each rosette or leaf string place it in your “holding vase", no water needed, until all are ready for assembly of the bouquet.
Begin with an individual succulent rosette such as Aeonium 'Kiwi', turned over to expose the short, thick stem at the base of its leaves. Poke a wire through top of this stem and hook a bit of the wire's tip high-up around the stem, using your needle nose pliers. Insert a second wire in the same manner, from the opposite side, then twist the wires together and wrap the entire length with florist tape.
For those succulents with thin, trailing, leaf-covered stems, like sedum `Angelina' or Sedum `Blue Spruce' it is best to do several together. Begin by removing a 2" section of leaves from several sprigs to expose a bit of stem on each. Secure these exposed stems together with florist tape and then hook a florist wire around the taped area, tape it again and add second wire secured with more tape. Twist and tape the length of the two wires as done with the rosettes.
When all individual “blooms" have been wired, begin assembly.
Choose a “center" bloom, and then wrap the stem of a second bloom to the stem of the center bloom with florist's tape. Continue to add blooms and wrap all the stems together after each addition.
You may want to “wrap-in" a chopstick, thin dowel or heavier wire about half way into the assembly to strengthen your composite stem.
Fill in any gaps by inserting wires of smaller blooms from the outside of the bouquet. Then wrap the cluster of wires/stems with ribbon (or fabric) to cover the handiwork and adorn with a second ribbon to complement the bouquet.
After the Wedding
Your bouquet of succulents can be displayed as is, with no need for water or any other attention, for at least 2 weeks. You will likely see a bit of root growth starting, which will aid in transitioning from bouquet to planting. Once they have been planted, in a sunny location, watering every 2 to 4 weeks will keep them thriving.
For a potted version of your bouquet; simply cut the of the bulk of wires off about an inch from the bottom of the succulent cluster and plant it into a container of loose sandy soil or cactus potting mix.
To plant your bouquet into the garden; carefully cut through or unwind the florist's tape to separate the individual wired succulents. Remove their wires, or snip off close to the plant's base, and plant them into a sandy or rocky, well-drained area of your garden.
Florist tape and wires are easy enough to come by at any craft store and a vase, pliers and chopsticks are likely on hand. Now, where do you get the succulents? If you'd like to try going local, and can give plenty of notice, a local plant nursery or garden center may be able to help you out. If not, here are several suppliers from the crafting paradise of ETSY: