The succulent wreath has been made for many years, at least since the 1950's that I know of. I remember meeting avid succulent gardeners in the early 1970's who would get together with friends near where I lived, in Capitola, to make their wreaths. They told me they had been doing them for at least 20 years at that time.
There are a couple of things to know from the beginning if you want to make your own succulent wreath. A nice full wreath will take lots of cuttings, about 100 or more for a 12" frame, and even the most experienced person will take at least an hour to plant the 12" frame and this does not count taking or preparing the cuttings.
The frame I currently use is different than was used in those early years. The old frame was made with two wire rings, sphagnum moss, soil, and fishing line. The wire frame was placed flat and a bed of sphagnum moss was spread upon it. Then a small amount of soil was put on the sphagnum and another layer of sphagnum was placed on top. The sphagnum was kind of wrapped together and the second wire frame was placed on top. Then the fishing line was coiled around the frames to hold everything together.
This style of frame is still used by some people, but I went to a new style in the late 1970's because the old frame had several drawbacks. The old style frame was very heavy and bulky. No matter how good the sphagnum, or how well put together, these frames eventually sprang a leak and the soil spilled out making an unsightly mess and an imploded wreath.
How new is new? I've been using this style for over thirty years, so I guess not so new. It is simple and reliable. The frame is pre made and consists of one wire frame and a nylon mesh sock filled with sphagnum and tied on to the wire frame. It is light, durable, and as I said, simple.
Generally the old style frame was planted with rooted succulents. In the new style, I plant cuttings and grow them in about 12 weeks. Using cuttings means that you have to plan further ahead and either plant in the prime growing season when the roots grow best, or you have to have a green house giving you an extended growing season. While the old style planted with rooted cuttings gave you a pretty instant planted frame, I have always felt the newer style looked much better in the long run.
From the time the wreath is planted, you can count on at least one year of use if you have any sense of growing succulents at all. More common is for a wreath to last 2 to 5 years and I have had one customer who reported success for 10 years!
If I get the photos taken, I will post example on the site. The wreaths may be used flat, or hung on a wall. Be creative and play with how you use them. They will flourish in the proper setting, filtered sun light and fresh air, but even in the worst conditions, they will last for months as they stretch reaching for sunlight. They will definitely outlast any bouquet of roses.
When displayed flat, the wreath is often decorated with small candles placed in the succulent around the ring. I have also place a hurricane lantern with a larger candle at the very center of the wreath.
Bringing the wreath in for the holidays or some other occasion and then taking it back outside is just fine as long as you take care to adjust it slowly to the sunlight, so it does not burn.
When your wreath is getting old and the frame is beginning to fall apart, you can do any number of things. I always suggested to customers that they set the wreath on a bed of soil, in a pot, or in the ground. A few weeks after doing this, the plants will root through the frame into the bed of soil and grow pretty much forever. One of my customers told me he cut the wreath into three inch sections and planted the individually in containers. The great thing about the wreath is that it may not last forever as a wreath, but it can last pretty much forever as a succulent garden. Enjoy!
Sphagnum Moss Wreath frame.
1.) Lay wreath frame flat. Place cutting on screen with stems poking through screen holes into the soil.
2.) Place the cuttings through netting holes into the sphagnum moss by using a nail to make the holes in the sphagnum large enough to accept the cuttings. Place frame in a bright filtered light (not intense hot sun) for the rooting process.
3.) Allow the plants to form roots for approximately 3 weeks. Check for roots after two weeks and when roots are about 1/8th to 1/4 inch, it is time to water. Water the frame by setting the frame in one inch of water for about 10 minutes. Remove from the water and do not water again until the wreath dries out, about 4 to 5 days.
4.) After about 8 to 10 weeks the plants will be rooted enough to hang the frame.
5.) Hang the frame in a location that provides morning sun, or filtered all day sun. It does not do well in hot direct sunlight.>
1.) The wreath will change over time and can last up to 5 years. At the time the wreath is getting over grown, it can be pruned into cuttings and the cuttings can be used to plant a new wreath frame.
2.) Water by placing the entire wreath in about one inch of water for about 10 minutes. Remove from the water and allow to drain before rehanging. The wreath will need to be watered about every 4 to 5 days.
3.) Fertilize with any all purpose fertilizer using about 1/4 dose every fourth or 5th watering.
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