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  Classic SoCal Succulent Wreath/ By Carla Blackmar

According to Pat Welsh, Author of "Month by Month Southern California Gardening" the succulent wreath is a Southern Californian Holiday classic.

Native Californian though I am, it wasn't until five or six years ago that I first saw one at my local San Diego nursery. I was so enraptured that I bought it on the spot for almost eighty dollars. Considering the price they command on the open market, I was delighted when I ran across Pat Welsh's suggestions about how to make the wreath at home!

Though my methods differ from those offered by Ms. Welsh (hopefully not to ill effect), I am deeply indebted to her book for suggesting the do-it-yourself succulent wreath idea just in time for the holidays.

In a part of the world where most of our holiday traditions seem weirdly derivative, it's nice to have something we can call our own. >>


Step 1: Gather approximately 100 succulent cuttings.

If you live in a place where succulents are a common landscaping plant, than it is fairly easy to accumulate a supply of cuttings from canyons, parks, neighbors, etc. (Please be considerate, and in the case of neighbors, ask beforehand.) If not, consider buying large flats of baby succulents from your local nursery, or cultivating them yourself in advance.

Pictured here is a different, reddish sedum. Sedum as well as Echeveria succulents are quite prolific, and it's often quite easy to find cuttings.
The light green, almost blue color of Sedum (pictured here, sedum calvifolia) contrasts well with the Jade, and roots quickly. The "rosette" structure of the plant adds a nice texture to the wreath.
Young growing tips of Jade Plant (Crassula ovata) often have a reddish tinge that adds festive holiday color to wreathes. Look closer to the bottom of large, adult plants.
  Before beginning to work, soak the sphagnum moss in water. Allow the moss to absorb the water completely (5-10 minutes). Squeeze the moss dry and set it aside. It makes sense to wear gloves, and maybe even a face mask when dealing with sporangium moss.  

Step 2: Attach the moss to the wreath form. Knot one end of the wire to the wreath form. Take a big hand full of moss

and compress it onto the form by winding the wire around the moss and form.


Other wreath-making materials. A)The succulent cuttings will be rooted into a base of Sphagnum Moss, which is sold at nurseries and craft stores. The moss is attached to B) wreath form, (also available at craft stores) using D) light ply florist wire and C) Needlenose pliers.


Attempt to wind the moss evenly across the entire wreath form. If one area looks particularly sparse, you can wind more moss on by taking a second pass with the wire. Remember to compress the moss onto the form as tightly as possible, as it will become the soil for the cuttings.


Before starting to insert the cuttings into the moss covered wreath form, it's a good idea to remove the leaves close to the bottom of the cutting. This allows the cutting to be more easily inserted into the wreath form. The roots will grow out of the bottom of the stem.>>

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