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My DIY Succulent Garden

Let's be honest.  Some spaces in our home are a little bit awkward...

For me, anything above eye-level ususally falls within this category.  Above the kitchen cabinets, that void over the fridge, and yes, even on top of the entertainment center.

In the past, spaces like these were an easy fix...simply throw a silk plant into place, and you're good, right?

Nowadays...it's a bit more complicated. 

We've moved away from the one-size-fits-all mentality when it comes to home decor, which means we want to fill our homes with unique furnishings that represent our personal style...awkward spaces included.

Last weekend I took a stab at one of the awkward spaces in my home--above the entertainment center.

I knew that I wanted to add something to the top of the entertainment center that had glass.  Because the space is so high above eye-level, I knew glass would be perfect for adding visual interest without creating too much of a focal point in the room. 

The first step was to load up on a good variety of glass canisters.  I worked on this collection over a small period of time, picking up a few pieces here-and-there as the budget would allow.  Though, during one trip, I did go for the gusto and bought quite a few all at once.  If you were at Home Goods with me that day, you'd remember the crazy girl with all of the glass canisters, for sure!

I hit the clearance section first, then then I paroozed the regularly priced items.  Overall, I was looking for a collection of various shapes and sizes, different heights, and different thicknesses of glass.

Many of the canisters had product stickers on them, so one of the very first steps was to clean them all up.  I removed all of the visable stickers (I left the ones on the bottom because I knew they wouldn't show), then cleaned each canister with some glass cleaner.

Next, I loaded up on the succulent plants you can buy from Ikea for $2.50 each.  Ikea was currently in the middle of the big store-overhaul for the new 2013 catalog items, so unfortunately their stock was a bit low.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I bought almost every plant in the store!


For those two, spiny barrel cactuses, I actually had to get one of the Ikea workers to take them out of a plant display they had set up to showcase their new greenhouse.  I felt bad about causing the trouble, but I wanted a lot of different plants...and I have no shame!

As one might assume, my biggest concern with this little garden is whether or not I can actually keep these plants alive.  In fact, my first thoughts for this project were to use silk plants that would require no watering--that was until I found they were priced on average at $11.00 a pop. 

Too rich for my blood!

So...to give these little guys as much plant love as possible, I lined the bottom of each canister with potting soil specific to palm, citrus and cacti, before planting.

For those really pokey cacti, I used needle-nose pliers to move them into position.  I was afraid this might break the quills, but I found that it actually worked quite well!  Best of all, it kept my fingers out of harms way!

Other than dodging cactus spikes, this project was pretty low-key.  It didn't require a lot of time or skill...but it was extremly messy!

After the plants were all in place, I watered them and let them sit out on the dining room table for about a week.  I figured it would be easier to keep them accessible until I knew the plants weren't going to keel over and die on me.

So far, so good.  I've only lost one plant, and I think it's because the canister was too small.  Some of the others appear to be holding on for dear life, so I'm hoping they make it through.

Last night, Mark and I moved all of the canisters up onto the top of the entertainment center, and here's how it turned out...


Worst case scenario, if the plants all wind up heading to their graves, I plan to just clean out the canisters and keep them arranged in a big group there above the entertainment center.  However, I'm really hoping the plants make it through because I really like the way it turned out!

I'm hoping to only have to water these plants about once a week, since succulents usually do well with very little water.  It will be interesting (to say the least) to see how this idea winds up in the end, but I'll keep you posted along the way.

So, what do you think?  Is this something you would consider trying in one of your awkward home spaces?  What other ideas do you have?

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Reader Comments (4)

Great idea! Oh, by the way greetings from Poland ;)

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoan

Thanks Joan!

I'm glad you stopped by! I'm so humbled that my blog is being read across an ocean! It's crazy to me, but I'm so flattered, and am glad you dropped me a line!

I'd love to visit Poland someday. What's it like?

xo, Kelli

September 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterAHPCH

I love how this grouping of succulents works, and putting them in the containers with needle nose pliers is genius.

Ikea plants have been pretty hit or miss for me in the past. I've bought a diseased plant from them more than once, so if you're having issues, it probably isn't you.

September 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMeghan

Thanks Meghan!

I was wondering about the health of the plants when I bought them too. A lot of the plants had spots on them, that made them look like they were not doing so well. I'm hoping they'll last, but I'll have to figure something out if they don't.

If they die, I may just clean out the canisters and see what the grouping looks like that way, or I may order the cactus plants from West Elm. You can buy quite a few cactus, or succulents from WE for $30.00.

We'll see how it goes!

xo, Kelli

September 17, 2012 | Registered CommenterAHPCH

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