Wreath-furbish: Time to Check on Your Holiday Succulent Wreath

If you love succulents as much as we do, then you probably bought or made yourself a succulent wreath over the Christmas holidays. Of course, you can make a living wreath beautiful and festive year-round, so we want to give you all the tips and tricks we know to keep your succulent wreath looking its best for as long as possible.

Whether you purchased or made a DIY succulent wreath, it might be time to inspect your work to find out if your wreath needs a boost. A month or so after you’ve purchased or made a succulent wreath,  a few things may have shifted around (or fallen off). Any number of other challenges might have come up, so we have step by step instructions to get your wreath back on its feet – a “wreath-furbish!”

succulent wreath holiday wreath

Time for an Inspection

By the time you’ve had your wreath for three to six weeks, any number of things could have happened. Whether you used hot glue or floral pins (also called greening pins) to attach your succulents to the wreath form, it’s possible that they could have loosened or fallen off after hanging on the front door for a few weeks. Maybe you forgot to water, leaving your succulents wrinkly and thirsty (looking like they could bend really easily, possibly some dry lower leaves). Maybe your plants have picked up some pests if they’ve been outside. If the wreath’s been inside, your plants could have stretched (looking more like stems and leaves than flowers). Maybe a few stray plants have fallen off of your wreath, especially if it’s on a door that opens and shuts frequently.

So many possibilities, but now that you’re responsible for all of these living plants, you might as well keep their home looking nice until you’re ready to dismantle the whole thing and grow a succulent garden of your own (your wreath should last 3-6 months, or longer, with good care before replanting is called for).

Have Your Plants Changed?

Succulent cuttings require a lot of energy to create new root systems, which root into the moss you’ve affixed to your grapevine wreath frame or wire form. (We recommend Spanish moss of sphagnum moss for environmental reasons). So there might be some shrinkage between the plants, leaving holes that can be filled with new cuttings from your succulent garden.

Where you keep your wreath will determine how well your succulents keep their original shape and color – whether they stretch into stems due to insufficient light or fade out because of too much direct sunlight. Water and maintenance is also super important, as well as replacing any dead or fallen plants as time goes by.

succulent wreath refurbish

Wreath Surgery

If you made your own wreath this year, that’s AWESOME. DIY projects are so fun, and this one in particular is a pretty low barrier to entry. All you need is a wreath frame of your choosing (grapevine, wire frame, or splurge on a pre-made moss wreath form at your local craft store), Spanish moss, hot glue, the succulent section at Home Depot, a sharp knife, and some floral wire. Even better, if you have your own succulent garden with a variety of succulents, you can use cuttings and save a few bucks on plants.

But we digress. If you’ve made your own succulent wreath, it’s likely that you’ll feel a little bit more confident going in and doing surgery on your own handiwork. But don’t be intimidated if you bought one and it needs a little TLC. You are perfectly capable of taking care of this thing yourself! We’ve thought through all of the various potential scenarios you could encounter when launching a “wreath-furbish” and have provided a solution for every problem.

Wreath-furbish 101

  1. If your wreath is on a door that opens and shuts constantly, some plants might have fallen off.
    1. You can glue them (or new cuttings) back on using hot glue or floral glue, filling the holes where the missing plants were. If the holes are covered in the old glue, you can cut that away first with sharp scissors before adding new glue.
  2. If your wreath was in a place with less than ideal light, the blooms might have stretched a bit.
    1. You can tell if your plants have stretched when they look less like flowers and more like stems and leaves. If this has happened, you might want to give your wreath more light after you spruce it up to keep it looking nice for even longer. You have a few options for this one:
      1. Snip the top off and glue back into the wreath somewhere else. (You get a new plant this way too!)
      2. Totally remove and replant in a better-lit part of your house or yard.
      3. Move them into a cluster in your wreath to create a new
  3. If your wreath was out in freezing temps, some of the plants might have bitten the dust (sometimes they just die inexplicably too).
    1. Gently remove the dead plants and replace with new, fresh cuttings using hot glue or floral glue.
  4. If you’re in a warm and buggy place, your plants might have picked up a few unwanted companions.
    1. Your wreath should have arrived without pests, but the plants are susceptible, especially to mealy bugs and aphids. Spray 70% isopropyl alcohol directly onto the affected area as frequently as daily until the problem resolves. (Do this AFTER you’ve re-glued AND watered.)
  5. Some of your leaves might have shriveled and dried up.
    1. This is NORMAL, but they can attract bugs, so gently remove them. If your fingers are too big not to disturb the other plants, use tweezers.
  6. If you haven’t been watering your moss regularly, that’s on your list of to-dos as well.
    1. Either run the whole wreath under a gentle faucet or heavily spray the moss with a spray bottle. Do that a few hours (or a day) AFTER you’ve glued or pinned your new plants.

You might also notice some visible roots hanging out on some of your plants. Those are fine to leave exposed, but if you don’t like how it looks. you can remove/replace those plants and pot them in soil (DON’T use plain potting soil. Find a standard cactus mix and then add a lot of pearlite or pumice to the soil. As much as 70% if your mix can be pearlite or pumice. Trust us. Succulent plants don’t want rich soil. You should be able to find everything you need at your local nursery or Home Depot.)

Here’s an example of a wreath that wasn’t quite getting enough light. We’ve pointed out some of the things we’re talking about (although it was inside, so luckily no pests). It was kept in a retail store for about a month, and the light wasn’t quite perfect. It was also transported and moved around a few times, so some of the plants fell off.

succulent wreath repair

Here’s the same wreath after we gave it a wreath-furbish:

succulent wreath repair

You can see that we moved things around a little to fit the new pieces and show the best side of every plant. Making these wreaths is like a combination of a puzzle and Tetris, twisting and turning the plants until they fit just right. A super fun and stimulating craft project!

The Truth About Succulent Wreaths

Besides being beautiful and magical plants, succulents have a reputation of being low-maintenance and easy to care for. While they are relatively easy to care for compared to so many other botanicals, taking care of a living wreath requires a lot more attention than the artificial pine wreath you might have left in the attic this year. These plants are alive, and live plants require care. Sure, you can forget about them for a week or two without any real consequences, but after that, they want water and attention. And if you’re getting freezing temperatures, it’s best to bring it inside at night.

Care instructions and replanting instructions are enclosed in every order you place from Succulents for Hire, guaranteeing that you’ll have everything you need to keep your succulent wreath looking its best for as long as possible. And Valentine’s day is just around the corner, so if you’re in the SF Bay Area, be on the lookout for some Heart Wreath Workshops nearby – or host your own! If you want to learn how to make a grapevine succulent wreath (heart-shaped or otherwise) and would like to host a party at your home, workplace, or a local business willing to host, send us a note using our contact form. We’ll set up a time to chat!

succulent wreath furbish

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