What can you do with succulents to bring in the holiday season? How about making an Aeonium posy bouquet for a simple holiday gift. We, like you, are crazy about succulents; and I’d go so far as to say that like Tulipmania that ran rampant from 1634 to 1638, there’s a Succulentmania taking place, Right Now. (My opinion only – but don’t you think?)
It’s easy to get hooked on the leggy, sweet character of shrubby Aeonium succulents, those that stand up tall in either a pot or in the ground. Aeoniums, in the Crassula family, have become quite popular over the last number of years, and in mild climates they can grow year round outdoors; under the right conditions, they can also live indoors.
Though there are a range of sizes, the shrubby succulent Aeoniums seem to grow approximately 1 – 4 feet tall and wide. And, I think that the leggy character, which if that word scares you, (I’m using it with positive sentiment because often I like it), you or your gift recipient can behead, prune, and generate new Aeonium babies easily, to keep them more compact, and in-check, down the road.
There are approximately 35 species of Aeonium. Two examples are variegated Aeonium ‘Sunburst,’- which grows less than 2 feet tall and Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwarktop,’ with deep purple black foliage, growing to about 3 feet tall.
If you live in a mild climate with lots of succulents growing outdoors, get permission to make some cuttings, or “BEHEADING’ as Debra Lee Baldwin, succulent expert, and author of: Designing with Succulents, explains. Her terminology of “beheading,” (photo above) really refers to offing the head of the succulent rosette, with only an inch of stem. Following that – allowing the beheading to dry and callous for around 10 days, to a couple of month, depending upon time of year (at which time, or there about, the cut end will have calloused and formed roots. You can then plant it in a pot or the ground.)
Beheading Aeoniums (with a stem) is a great way to have a stem base afterwards to tie them in for a posy. Set the beheadings in a sheltered and shady area so that the stems have days to dry/callous. You can also do this with many of the shrubby Jade plants. Sure you can buy these succulent starts. Lots of succulent kits available online for mounting succulent wreaths and vertical wall panel –but if you are fortunate enough to have a source, or already grow your own, these are free.
For Gift Giving – Here are Some Care Instruction to Include with your Aeonium Posy:
- Take posy, (as pictured above) behead each Aeonium rosette 1 inch from stem (per photo above: “Designing with Succulents”)
- Save stems (Why? These can be used to generate more Aeoniums)
- Let stems + beheaded rosettes dry out & callous in a sheltered shady spot, inside is ok – (Appx 10 days. Could be much longer fall and winter.)
- When beheaded rosettes have sprouted roots and calloused, they are ready to plant in containers or in the ground in mild climates
- The stems – new rosettes may grow from the leaf axils. When rosettes are 2 to 3 inches in diameter, you can remove and plant them.
- Easy as pie!
Voila, the Aeonium posy is ready for gift giving. Enjoy!
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PS: If you are thinking of Designing with Succulents this book from Deborah Lee Baldwin offers some great inspiration. It is sitting close to my desk as I write this (been enjoying working with succulents lately). And as Nancy says: “If you have gardeners on your gift list who are living in warm climates, this gardening book is one they will treasure. And don’t forget your indoor gardening pals. … This book is the bible that tells how to grow [succulents] and then use them to create gorgeous landscapes and containers that become stunning works of art.” — Nancy Szerlag, Detroit News