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DIY Arrangements: A Complete Guide

This is a Haworthia Limifolia, also known as Fairy Washboard Haworthia.
Fairy Washboard Haworthia

DIY has become a popular trend among many different avenues of creation. While I cannot recommend a DIY home improvement or car repairs, making your own succulent creations can be a very fun, easy, and rewarding activity. They are also great for families and even small children. Teachers are able to incorporate lessons about plants and the importance of nature while providing hands-on activities to ensure student engagement. This post will take you through a step-by-step process for creating a beautiful arrangement.

Choosing Your Plant

The first and most important step is to choose the plant you would like to create an arrangement with. If this is your first time, or if you are generally new to plants, I would suggest you use a plant that is beginner friendly. This will ensure that the piece will be able to live in whatever conditions you throw at them. If this is a family or school activity, I would suggest working with a plant that is safe for them to handle (no cacti) and is sturdy enough as it will not require very delicate handling. Personally, haworthias (Zebra Plants) are a wonderful choice as they are beautiful, sturdy, child and pet safe, and have an easy to remember name. They are also able to live in a wide range of conditions, which makes them great for beginners.

Pot/Planter Selection

There are many different styles and materials for pots. Any material would generally be fine, although some like glass or wood may not be best suited for children. As a personal recommendation, a very clean ceramic or terracotta pot makes for an excellent and elegant creation. The only criteria for selecting a pot would be to make sure that there is a drainage hole. Drainage holes allow for excess water to flow out. If there is no drainage hole, any excess water will stay near the roots of the plant. For succulents and cacti, overwatering will kill them faster than underwatering. For more on specific plant care, please click here.

Soil, Rocks, and other Decorative Materials

For succulent, cacti, aloes, and other similar plants, it is best to use a well draining soil. There are specific mixes designed to be used for these plants, which would be best to use as they do not retain water the same way potting soil does. This soil allows for water to pass through to the drainage hole, which is beneficial for the plant.

Rocks make a wonderful decorative element for any arrangement, and also helps disperse water. They come in a variety of colors, sizes, and styles. This is generally a stylistic matter, so choose what you like! Other decorative elements include sand, glass orbs, and moss. All of these are strictly stylistic choices and would not harm the plant. Experiment with your design.

Creating Your Arrangement: Step by Step (with photos)

DIY plant arrangement
Fairy washboard haworthia bare roots
  • Take your selected plant and remove it from the growers pot. With care, remove as much old dirt as possible from the plant. Be careful around the roots, as it is not necessary to remove every piece of soil. This step is done to safeguard your new creation from pests, as many growers do not monitor their plants for pest larvae.

DIY planting
  • Once your plant has most of the old dirt removed, add fresh dirt to the planter you will be creating an arrangement with. Fill it approximately 85% of the way. It is important to keep in mind how high you want the plant to sit in the arrangement.

Haworthia ready for planting
Haworthia with roots exposed
  • Once there is dirt inside the planter, make a small well in the center of the arrangement. Fit the plant inside, and see how it sits within the planter. Add or take away dirt as you see fit. Keep in mind the positioning of the plant, you do not want to settle on a position where the plant is not centered. Take your time, as this is the most important step.

Haworthia in dirt
Haworthia side angle
  • Once your plant is at the height you prefer, as well as centered, add dirt around the plant to secure it. Gently pressing on the soil once in the pot will help stabilize the plant in place.

  • At this point, the plant is stabilized in the pot. You can give the planter a gentle shake to make sure the plant is not too loose within the pot. Now, you may start adding your decorative elements. Rocks, sand, moss, or a mix are all welcomed additions. This will also add to the stability of the plant within the pot.

  • Now your arrangement is complete! In just a few steps, you have a beautiful arrangement for your home. Do not fret if it isn't exactly perfect, as you and your plant will grow together. With more practice, you will be able to create more ornate and complex arrangements.

If any piece was created using our plants or pots, please tag us on our Instagram @nycitysucculents so we can share your masterpiece!

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