It's hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is almost here! We're starting to decorate, but for those of us that might not yet be ready to pull out the Christmas tree and begin embellishing the table with holiday greens, we have a fall-themed centerpiece that can easily be re-purposed into a permanent planter after Thanskgiving. Read more to learn two ways to create a succulent-filled pumpkin centerpiece for your home. Both methods are quite simple and make a great family project! We recommend deciding which method you'd like to use based on the materials you have on hand and how long you'd prefer to display your centerpiece.
OPTION #1 - HOLLOWED PUMPKIN PLANTER
The first method involves hollowing a pumpkin and using it as a planting container. This method works well if you're working with larger plants that already have established roots. The centerpiece will last for around 7-10 days, depending on the freshness of your pumpkin. When the carved pumpkin begins to feel soft, succulents can easily be transplanted to a permanent home into a container with drainage holes and a sandy, well-drained soil.
Step 1 - Select & inspect your pumpkin.
Start your centerpiece off right with a fresh pumpkin! Be sure to inspect it for any areas that may be soft or beginning to decay prior to carving. If you find any decaying areas, it's best to purchase a new pumpkin to ensure your centerpiece lasts for a longer period of time. We have a variety available in stores now. TIP: We've noticed orange pumpkins tend to last longer as a centerpiece than white varieties. Gently wash the exterior of the pumpkin using a mild soap to remove any dirt or debris.
Step 2 - Plan your arrangement.
We know you're ready to dive in and make the first cut, but before you get too excited, it's important to take some quick measurements! Gather your succulents and decide how you'll be arranging them to get a rough idea of the circumference of the circular cut.
Step 3 - Make the cut & scoop.
Remove the top of the pumpkin with a circular cut and proceed to scoop the pulp and seeds from the inside. To prevent the pumpkin from decaying more quickly, be sure to scrape the inside walls and remove as much pulp as possible.
Step 5 - Add your plants & decorative material.
Add your plants to the pumpkin, then fill any remaining gaps with soil. Once plants are securely in place, embellish with moss or decorative materials of your choice.
Watering & Care Tips
Your centerpiece should last around 7-10 days before the pumpkin starts to decay. We recommend lightly watering the centerpiece immediately after construction. Additional watering will not be required until you break it down & transplant succulents. Keep your centerpiece in a bright, filtered light to keep succulents healthy.
Disassembly & Repotting
When your pumpkin is soft and starting to crease, succulents can be removed from the centerpiece. Use a sharp object to slice open the pumpkin to remove the plants. Clean the root area of any debris and repot into a container of your choice.
OPTION #2 - GLUED CENTERPIECE
The second method involves gluing cuttings and decorative materials to the top of a pumpkin. This centerpiece will last for around 3-4 weeks or until your pumpkin begins to feel soft. Since it will not be punctured or cut in any way, it will last significantly longer than the hollowing method. Moss & cuttings will need to be heavily misted 1-2 times per week. When the pumpkin begins to feel soft, cuttings can be removed from the top and transferred to a permanent container to establish roots.
- 1 Pumpkin
- Assortment of Succulent Cuttings
- Spanish Moss
- Sheet Moss
- Glue gun & Glue Sticks
- Harvested branches, grass plumes, dried florals
- Sheet & Towels (optional)
Step 1 - Remove stem from pumpkin.
Stems can usually be removed my applying pressure and pulling from the top. If you have a particularly stubborn stem, a small saw can be used to cut it as close as possible to the base.
Step 2 - Glue sheet moss to top of pumpkin.
Using a glue gun, adhere moss to top of pumpkin. Apply as much as needed based upon your design plan. The moss will not only serve as a base for the design, but it will retain moisture to keep your cuttings watered.
Step 3 - Add branches.
If using branches, now is the time to glue them into the moss. Be sure to give them a couple minutes to dry before moving onto the next step.
Step 4 - Attach cuttings & decorative materials.
Next, begin to glue your succulent cuttings onto the pumpkin. Be sure that the base of each cutting is secured to the moss. Cuttings can be harvested from plants around your home or taken off larger purchased plants. We have a variety of tiny succulents available at all stores and online. We recommend using larger, rosette-shaped cuttings in the center, then branching out with smaller cuttings along the sides. Use trailing varieties at the edges. Fill in any open gaps with moss, dried florals, or ornamental plumes.
WATERING & CARE TIPS
Your centerpiece should last 3-4 weeks with proper misting. We recommend heavily misting your centerpiece 1-2 times per week to ensure the cuttings are beginning to develop roots. When misting, be sure to spray the moss as it easily retains moisture. Keep your centerpiece in a bright, filtered light to keep succulents healthy.
DISASSEMBLY & REPOTTING
When your pumpkin begins to decay, remove cuttings from the centerpiece and repot into a new container. They'll continue to establish roots in the soil and grow into a mature plant. Be sure to use a container with drainage holes and a soil suitable for succulents. We recommend Cactus Mix or the previously mentioned home-made mix of Esbenshade's Potting Soil and sand.