How to make a Succulent Book

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By Danni Close from Fickle Prickles

Succulents are quite magical in my book. They have an ability to thrive in the most unlikeliest of circumstances. Succulent cuttings can last up to a couple of weeks without water – A largely underrated ability, given that cut flowers last a day or two at most without water.

So why not take advantage of this ability? Succulent art pieces don’t have to be restricted to permanent garden displays, they can be temporary! Just like a vase of flowers, a temporary succulent display can jazz up a boring side table, or fill that empty spot on your book shelf. Create a stunning dining table centre piece that will be a talking point for all your dinner guests!

Your imagination is your only limit when choosing a container to plant succulent cuttings into. A shoe, perhaps? Or that toy truck that has lost its back wheel? How about a book from that pile that was about to get thrown in the bin? Plant it up with succulents!

What you will need:

  • A hard cover book (It you find it a touch too sad to cut into a fictional book, outdated Encyclopaedias work just as well, and are abundant at most op-shops)
  • A sharp knife
  • Sphagnum Moss
  • Succulent cuttings

Step 1: Prepare the Book

Using a sharp knife, cut a hole for the succulents to sit in. In this picture we have cut a rectangular hole out the pages of our book, leaving a large enough border around the outside so the book doesn’t fall apart too easily. Take your time, and only cut a few pages at once. If your handy with a drill and have a hole saw, you can drill a circular hole in your book, cover and all, for a different look. You can line the hole with plastic to protect the pages from the damp and dirt, but it’s not entirely necessary.

Step 2: Prepare your Filling

Sphagnum Moss comes in dehydrated bricks. To use it in your projects, simply let it soak in water until it is damp and pliable enough to use. To prepare your succulents, simply take cuttings of your favourite species. You can also use entire rosettes, like that of Echeveria or Sempervivum. Remove the bottom leaves of your rosette or cutting and put aside.

Step 3: Plant it up!

Arrange your cuttings and start planting! Position them one at a time into the prepared hole, using the moss to fill in any gaps as you go. The moss also helps to hold the cuttings in place.

Tips on arranging: There is no right or wrong here, it all comes down to personal choice. You can use a larger rosette or cutting as a focal point and plant smaller cuttings around it, or you can use all similar sized cuttings like we have used here. Take into consideration colours, textures and heights. Don’t be afraid to use multiples of one species and don’t be afraid of using too many cuttings – you can’t really overfill the space.

In our book we have used: Senecio serpens, Crassula cv. 'David', Portulacaria afra variegata , Sedum nussbaumerianum, Graptosedum 'Bronze', Crassula perforata, Graptopetalum paraguayense, Crassula anomala and Crassula pruinosa.

Step 4: Enjoy your creation!

And that’s it, you’re done! There is no need to fertilise, prune or water, as it is a temporary display. Keep out of direct sunlight and it will keep looking nice for up to 2 - 4 weeks. When you are finished with your project, remove the succulents, brush the book clean and keep it for your next project!