To say Jessica Cain is a sucker for succulents is an understatement. The San Diego native and owner of In Succulent Love wrote the book on crafting arrangements with the trendy plants, titled Stylish Succulent Designs & Other Botanical Crafts and out this month.
Her obsession, eventually her bread and butter, began out of a family tradition.
"Every fall, my grandmother and I would get together for our annual succulent pumpkin crafting. After I posted a couple of photos on my Instagram, locals started requesting to order succulent pumpkins. I decided to take orders, then one thing led to another and people started asking for custom designs, DIY parties, corporate gifts, and eventually I started shipping succulents, too."
The book, which she calls a "botanical cookbook," is a compilation of 40 succulent-centric crafts to create on your own. Here, we excerpted three "recipes" to put a botanical twist on your own holiday decorating, green thumb optional.
a. Spray the top third of the pumpkin with adhesive glue.
b. Quickly add a 1/2-inch layer of Spanish moss atop the sticky surface. Hot glue any loose areas of moss to the pumpkin so it’s secure.
c. Shake off the soil from your succulents so the stems are fully exposed. Now it’s time to adorn your moss with the succulents, beginning at the center with your biggest plants and working outward with smaller botanicals. To do this, take the end of each succulent stem and place it on top of the moss, then drench the stem with hot glue (above and under the stem) and quickly cover the smattering with more moss. Add additional glue and moss if the succulent is loose. "When succulents are glued onto surfaces, they can live and thrive for quite a long time," Cain says. "With succulent pumpkins, the succulents will actually outlive the pumpkin."
d. Reserve cascading succulents, like String of Pearls and Donkey Tail, for the end to fill holes in your arrangement and to place on the outer edges of the moss so they dangle down the sides of the pumpkin. Finally, apply glue to any loose areas and top with moss.
a. Spray the bottom half of the wreath with adhesive glue and quickly lay sheet moss on top of it. Hot glue any loose areas of moss to the wreath so it’s secure.
b. Repeat on the top half, so the full circumference is covered in moss.
c. Shake off the soil from your succulents so the stems are fully exposed. Start with one of the Raindrops at the center of the wreath, drenching the stem in hot glue (above and under the stem) and quickly cover the smattering with more moss. Add additional glue and moss if loose. Keep adding the rest of the succulents using this same method (be sure to leave space between similar plants) until the entire circumference is covered.
d. Hang the wreath on your front door or another well-lit area to enjoy all holiday season long and beyond.
Hanging Pine Cone
a. Tie the ends of your twine into a bow. Then, take the centermost part of the twine loop (opposite the bow) and hot glue it to the flattened bottom of the pinecone.
b. Lightly spray the cone’s bottom side with your adhesive glue, and quickly add sheet moss on top of it to cover the area. Hot glue any loose areas of moss to the pinecone so it’s secure.
c. Take the end of each succulent stem and place it on top of the moss, then drench the stem with hot glue (above and under the stem) and quickly cover the smattering with more moss. Be careful not to get any glue on the exposed twine. Reserve cascading succulents, like Ruby Cascade, for the end to glue to the edges of the moss so they dangle down the sides of the pinecone.
These directions have been shortened and edited from their original version for brevity, with permission from the publisher. Visit insucculentlove.com to purchase Stylish Succulent Designs & Other Botanical Crafts for the full-length instructions, including aftercare.