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My impromptu succulent cutting tower

by Rebecca Sweet

Last month I completely dismantled one of my favorite garden beds so we could finally finish painting the house.  Last fall we had our house painted, but I wouldn’t let them paint one remaining wall as my bougainvillea was in full bloom and there was no way I was about to cut it back prematurely!  Luckily, I had the world’s best painters who fully understood how crazy we gardeners can be, and were willing to come back in the early spring to finish the job.

Anyway, back to my story. Dismantling my garden bed was easy enough, except I had to move two giant clumps of brittle aeoniums – and sure enough, many of them broke in the process.

I wasn’t really worried, though, because I know just how easy they grow from cuttings:  simply snap off the end, let it ‘harden off’ for a few days and then re-plant.  Voila!

However, I needed a way to store the cuttings that would let them retain their beautiful shape while they hardened off

I spotted a nearby decorative trellis just sitting there doing nothing, and inspiration struck.  It was the ideal way to hold these cuttings upright.

As I began filling the entire trellis, I couldn’t help but notice just how fabulous it looked!  These cuttings have been in the trellis now for over a month and are still going strong. While I had meant for it to be temporary, I’m hoping to keep them there for at least another month.

As many of you know, succulents are incredibly forgiving and these are no exception.  In fact, they’re even sprouting air roots so when I’m finally ready to plant them in the ground they’ll be ready to grow!  

I’m so happy with my first succulent cutting tower that I rummaged around in the garage to find another smaller obelisk that I haven’t used in years.  I decided to use this one to hold the smaller succulent cuttings that I’ve taken from one of my old, overgrown succulent wreaths.

I have to thank Debra Lee Baldwin for providing me with this inspiration, as I’m not entirely sure I would’ve been as creative had I not just finished reading her latest book Succulents Simplified – Growing, Designing and Crafting with 100 Easy-Care Varieties’.

As with all of her previous books, I’m a huge fan. However I was particularly excited to read about the crafty succulent projects shown in the book.  From quick and easy succulent rosettes for bouquets, to teeny tiny mint-tin gardens, to succulent-topped pumpkins there’s a project in this book for even the most craft-challenged!

If you have any succulent projects or tips I’d love to hear about them!


Evelyn Vincent May 15, 2013 at 9:58 am

What a terrific idea, I love it! I can’t wait to pick up a copy. Happy gardening.

Rebecca Sweet May 15, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Thanks, Evelyn! And have fun with Debra’s book – it’s fantastic!

Debbie/GardenofPossibilities May 10, 2013 at 6:00 pm

OK, how stupid am I? I have those same metal trellis’ and I never even thought of using them for succulents…until now. Thanks for the inspiration.

Pam/Digging May 3, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Very creative, Rebecca. I know how hard it is to have house maintenance done, worrying about painters, roofers, etc. stepping on plants or chunking stuff down on them. I’m glad to hear your painting project went well, AND you found a great way to display cuttings while you were at it.

Rebecca Sweet May 3, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Thanks, Pam! I’ve dreaded getting our house painted for years, but finally succumbed to the pressure from my husband to ‘puhleeease can we re-paint our house this year??” But I must say, it was worth it – especially since we had such considerate painters. I even gave the main painter a succulent cutting to take home after he was admiring it so much!

Candice Suter May 1, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Oh my goodness now I am so excited to get Debra’s book. I love your idea for keeping the cut Aeoniums. It looks so pretty. I have something like it and will use it instead of just throwing them in a bucket or bag. Your idea is so decorative.

Rebecca Sweet May 1, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Thanks Candy – I’m glad you like my idea! And you will undoubtedly love Debra’s book – it’s right up your alley, that’s for sure!! :)

Susan April 30, 2013 at 5:32 pm

I love the article about the succulent tower. I just received a succulent wire basket for my birthday. Many of the plants are hanging on the underside and a number of pieces and blooms dropped off as we moved it. I have placed them in a outdoor wire planter hoping to root them. I look forward to receiving further information and articles .

Rebecca Sweet April 30, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Thank you, Susan. Give the succulents time and you’ll notice little air roots will start to form, just waiting for you to plant them and start over again!

Felicia April 30, 2013 at 3:18 am

Love that succulent tower. And I can’t wait to get my hands on that book!

Rebecca Sweet April 30, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Thanks Felicia! I have no doubt you’ll love Debra’s book!

Debra Lee Baldwin April 29, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Hi, Rebecca — What a GREAT idea! A perfect way to take advantage of the way succulents live off the moisture in their leaves. The dark interior of the tower would be a good environment for root formation. The cuttings will assume they’re lying on the ground after breaking off from the mother ship. A tower also is a good way to keep cuttings until planting time if you’re short on space. Ideally, keep it in bright shade and rotate it every so often for even light exposure. Spritzing it every few days will help plants and new little roots stay hydrated. P.S. Thanks for mentioning my latest book!

Rebecca Sweet April 29, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Thanks for the added info, Debra! I must say, I was pretty proud of my little tower idea – a great way to use those little trellises that just sit around gathering dust!

Amy (Get Busy Gardening) April 29, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Beautiful, I love it!! I wish we could grow succulents like that outside here in Minnesota.


Rebecca Sweet April 29, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Thanks, Amy! I wish you could grow them outside, too – they’re some of my very favorite plants. But you can always grow them in containers to overwinter, can’t you? I know – it’s not the same. I’ve had some ‘tabletop’ aeoniums growing indoors for a few years now and I just love their flat dinner-plate appearance.

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