Succulent wreaths will become overgrown and lose their compact form over time. Learn how to take them back to their original form!
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Some of you will remember the succulent wreath I made early last year. I've since had some questions on what to do with the wreath after it has grown for a while. This post will teach you how to care for your wreath and how to update or maintain the wreath once it gets a little over grown.
Last year I also made a wreath that we ended up giving to my sister-in-law. I didn't get around to doing a post about it so I thought it would be perfect to use here! We visited them in July and I was able to trim the wreath for her and put it all back together. It was a lot of fun and the wreath is doing really well! So, first off, here is the wreath just after I made it:
They live in an area of California that is perfect for succulents: not too hot, not too cold. The wreath is in a shaded area so it gets some indirect light throughout the day. It did get a little stretched out and some of the plants don't have as much color (most brightly colored succulents require a lot of light to maintain color), but it still has grown really well! So, after a year of growing, here is what the wreath looked like:
To water the wreath, my sister-in-law would leave the wreath on her grass for a couple days and let the sprinklers soak it. I have done the same thing with my wreath and it works really well! The wreath did accumulate some cobwebs and a little bit of mealybug damage, but all fixable.
And now, for the steps for updating the wreath! Start by soaking the wreath with water. It's always easier to work with sphagnum moss when it's wet. If you spray the wreath with a hose that can help remove some of the cobwebs and bugs on the plants. To get rid of mealybugs you'll need to spray alcohol on the infected areas to kill them. I'd also recommend pouring some alcohol on the wreath form itself to kill anything that might be hiding in the roots.
Next, start cutting off the succulents. Leave about an inch or so of stem still in the wreath. Depending on how long it's been since you originally planted the wreath it's very likely these stems will put off new rosettes! This will help the wreath to look even more full in months to come. If possible, leave some of the lower leaves still attached to the stems. They are more likely to grow new rosettes there. You'll also want to leave a relatively long stem on the cutting. This will make it easier to re-insert the cutting into the wreath later on.
If some of the plants are still low and close to the wreath you can leave them there rather than cutting them off.
Wait a day or two for the cuttings to dry. If you put them in while they are freshly cut you'll risk them rotting. Once they are dry, soak your wreath again. Use the cuttings to put the wreath together again just as if you were making a new wreath! I decided to mix up the cuttings rather than put them back where they were originally.
As the wreath grows, and hopefully new rosettes form on the original stems, it will be fun to see the variety of plants! Below you can see the random stems showing in between the succulent cuttings. They are hardly noticeable unless you're looking really closely at the wreath. The stems with leaves on them still also blend in really well and continue to give the wreath color and texture.
The awesome thing about being able to maintain a succulent wreath like this is that each year the wreath will get more and more full! Plus, it can stay looking beautiful for years! If you wanted, you could even add new cuttings each year to add more variety. I have to say, succulent wreaths are so fun!
Caring for Succulent Wreaths in the Winter
Succulent wreaths are such a great addition to your home! Storing them throughout the winter won't be much different from any other indoor arrangement.
If the succulents are cold hardy you can keep the wreath outdoors all winter. If they aren't frost tolerant (and you experience extended periods of freezing temperatures) you'll want to bring the wreath somewhere warmer.
Assuming it needs to be taken out of the cold, you'll want to make sure your wreath is in a room that has plenty of sunlight. Some readers have asked about storing succulent wreaths in the garage, but unless your garage is heated, it could also get too cold for your succulents to survive well.
In the winter months succulents grow very slowly and don’t require as much water, so you won't need to worry about watering often. When you do water, you can lay the wreath in a tub of water, and let it soak for about 5 minutes. Then let it drain, and you can hang it again!
How to Care for a Succulent Wreath
I've said this before, but your environment makes a huge difference in how you take care of succulents but hopefully this will provide a good guide for you that you can adapt to wherever you live!
The beautiful thing about the succulent wreaths I've made is the base of the wreath is sphagnum moss. The moss naturally has air pockets in it so even though the moss is soaking wet, the stems of the succulents don’t rot from all the water. They have plenty of room to breathe.
So, to water the wreath you simply soak the whole wreath in water for a few minutes. For the 13” wreath I made this took about 5 minutes. Use room temperature or slightly cold water, but not hot.
The frequency of watering will depend on where you live. Basically you’ll water the wreath once the sphagnum dries out. My wreath is on my front door which faces north. It gets some sun in the afternoon and the door gets pretty hot. The wreath tends to dry out about every 5 days, sometimes less depending on the weather, so I've been watering 1-2 times a week.
If you live in a dry climate, be careful to give your plants enough water without drowning them. If you are in a more humid or cooler climate you will likely be able to water less, say every other week. Just keep an eye on it and water when it’s dry.
As with all succulents, you want to make sure your wreath gets enough light that the plants don’t stretch. Stretching succulents will make the wreath look overgrown really quickly. On the other hand, you don’t want to put them in direct sunlight, especially in the afternoon when it’s the hottest outside.
While some fully rooted succulents can tolerate full sun, strong direct sunlight is the quickest way to destroy your wreath. If you want to see what that might look like, check out my post on sunburned succulents.
Most doors have some sort of shade over them from a porch or even just the roof. If your door faces south you may want to consider hanging the wreath elsewhere as south facing sun in the summer is pretty brutal. So far I haven’t noticed any stretching on my wreath which, again, is on my north facing door.
A succulent wreath will definitely last for a full summer and shouldn't require too much trimming. You can keep your wreath for years to come but you will have to cut back the plants to keep it nicely trimmed.
The tight composition of the wreath will eventually become overgrown, but if you chop off the heads new ones will grow! Plus, you could use the cuttings to create another wreath :). This is the first summer I've had my wreath, but I’m confident I’ll keep it for much longer.
If you are like me and your winter climate gets to freezing temperatures and below, you’ll need to bring your wreath in during the winter (check out what frost damaged succulents look like). Make sure it is in a room that has plenty of sunlight. If you notice stretching you can either wait until the end of the winter and cut the heads off then, or get a grow light for some extra help.
Some readers have asked about storing succulent wreaths in the garage, but unless your garage is heated, it could also get too cold for your succulents to survive well.
In the winter months succulents grow very slowly and don’t require as much water, so you won't need to worry about watering often.
I've noticed mine still dry out about every other week (the heater is a dehumidifier) so I tend to water about every two weeks. When you do water, you can lay the wreath in a tub of water, and let it soak for about 5 minutes. Then let it drain, and you can hang it again!