Why a Succulent Centerpiece is the Sustainable Choice for Thanksgiving

In Life, Succulents by Kyle GammonLeave a Comment

We all want our table to look gorgeous on Thanksgiving but let's face it, by Black Friday (or December 1st when you get that holiday box out of the attic) those gourds and pumpkins and Indian corn really clash with the reds and greens and silvers and golds of your holiday decor. The Fat Plant Society has some tips on creating a stunning Thanksgiving centerpiece that can transition into a holiday centerpiece as well as last long after the holidays are over.

Depending on the size of your table, you'll want to choose a solid, base structure for the centerpiece. We are especially fond of driftwood and long, wooden boxes as they can be seen and enjoyed by everyone at the table, not just the folks seated at the center.

Once you've decided on your base structure, you will want to pick some foundational succulents. We like to use echevaria, hens and chicks, flap jacks and string of pearls. These are all fairly hearty varieties and as you read in our last post, will change color depending on their "happiness" and how much they are watered.

Plant the foundational succulents (we recommend our custom mixed soil for optimum health) 2-3 inches apart and then add some sphagnum moss. The nice people at Succulents and Sunshine offer a nice list of supplies and tips in their blog post. This is the basic arrangement that you will be able to customize for Thanksgiving, your own table decor, the holiday season, and once summer comes, a classic deck or patio table feature that will literally thrive in the sunshine.

Flapjack ( Kalanchoe luciae)

Now you can make your custom Thanksgiving ornamental selections. We like gourds, white pumpkins (they're so classy), Indian corn, fall leaves, and fresh cut flowers from your local florist or nursery. Consider selections that vary in height and weight as you will want to ensure your centerpiece has balance. The succulent Thanksgiving centerpiece is actually quite utilitarian as well because it will not be too tall (you want your guests to be able to see each other) and won't wilt or drop leaves. Be sure to choose any fresh cut flowers with longevity in mind. We like gerber daisies, green roses, ranunculus, and calla lilies. Orange. and yellow are obvious color choices but don't be afraid to go with more of a green theme (the green of nature literally goes with everything) or pick a more subtle color out of your china pattern and highlight it with your fresh cut flower selections.

Give yourself time to "play" with your centerpiece. We find our best work comes from playing with the centerpiece components, walking away from it for a while and returning to see what works--especially from a distance. It can take 2-3 iterations to get the look you want and we suggest starting 2-3 days before Thanksgiving Thursday so you aren't stressed and scrambling to get the centerpiece just right. Another bonus of the succulent centerpiece is that it's sturdy and has a much longer life than fresh cut flowers alone.

In addition to its use as a livestock feed, cactus is increasingly being cultivated for human consumption. Although the plant can be consumed fresh, significant value can be added through processing – providing dryland communities with extra sources of income and enhancing their resilience. This potential is significant: the plant can be pickled; preserved as a jam or marmalade; or dried and milled to produce baking flour. (visit the ICARDA site to learn more about how succulents are being used in highly arid climates for sustainability).

The photos in this post are of basic, foundational, succulent centerpieces to give you an idea of what "before" looks like. We will post photos of the centerpieces we're creating for our customers as they're completed. These photos also give you an idea of how a centerpiece can be "added to" and "subtracted from" depending on the holiday and, of course, your mood!

Have fun and as always, feel free to call or email us with questions, for advice or to place a custom order for this holiday season.

Long Succulent Box

SKOL! (Danish for cheers) and Happy Thanksgiving

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