Caring for Living Arrangements

Since wedding season in the desert is upon us, I have received many emails and messages on Facebook and twitter asking me how to care for a living bouquet or table arrangement from the event.

When planting succulents from your arrangements, remove the tape and wire from around the plant and moisten the existing roots with tepid water. Bury the roots in a desert mix soil; it should be a desert mix because this potting medium has a higher sand content for better drainage and is ph balanced to mimic desert conditions. If you need to, trim off the bottom few leaves to make a bare stalk. If you don't have a stalk or root ball to work with, the leaves can be planted instead. Bury about half of the leaf, cut side down. Most succulent plants and shrubs will form roots on the joints in their stalks.

Water every 2-3 days so the soil is moist (like a squeezed sponge). After one month, scale watering back to once a month. The leaves will probably shrivel a bit as the plant forms roots - so don't worry. This is normal. The plant is living off the stored energy in its leaves. You may lose a few leaves, which is also normal. Do not use this as an excuse to over water!

Save all your broken parts and leaves. When I am repotting, I always save all my leftover bits and pieces. Tuck them into the soil to leave a little green sticking out. Most parts will take root and grow into an extra plant. After a month, you can place the newly potted arrangement outside with part shade. Once the plant is acclimated to the outdoors, you can move in full sun.

Happy gardening! Contact me at La Fleur Plantscapes + Fresh Flora for more information on the care of desert dwelling plants.