Combine Pumpkins and Succulents for Beautiful DIY Decor

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Combine Pumpkins and Succulents for Beautiful DIY Decor

By Corynne Pless, Houzz

Maybe you aren’t quite ready to part with your Halloween pumpkins. Turning them into succulent planters is a fun and easy project that extends their life into the holiday season. You can create planters to add to your Thanksgiving table, to give as a host or hostess gift for a holiday party, or to decorate your porch, countertop or table.

Related: Decorate End Tables With Planters

Corynne Pless, original photo on Houzz

A pumpkin-turned-vase is a natural fit for a fall decorating theme. And succulents have a sculptural beauty and are container-friendly.

First, choose a variety of succulents from your local nursery, florist or hardware store, or from your own collection. Gathering the succulents first will help you choose an appropriately sized pumpkin to fit them.

Next, pick your favorite fall pumpkin(s). If you want to keep your succulents in their current containers, especially if you plan to repot them afterward, look for pumpkins that are deep enough to hold the pots the plants are in; pots are usually at least 3 to 4 inches tall.

Succulents are known for being low-maintenance and can survive in dry conditions, but many, such as Echeveria, are fragile, so be mindful while handling them. If you’re hoping to keep your succulents, replant them as soon as possible once you’ve finished using them for decor.

Tools and Materials

• Pumpkin(s)
• Succulents
• Carving kit (available at craft stores) or small carving knife
• Spoon or scoop (for cleaning out seeds)
• Plastic plant container, sized to fit inside your pumpkin

Corynne Pless, original photo on Houzz

1. Remove the stem of the pumpkin and carve out a small hole in the center. I chose a white pumpkin, the Lumina variety of Cucurbita maxima.

2. For smaller pumpkins, such as these, carving tools from kits work great. Remove and discard the seeds and pulp, or keep the latter to use for baking. The flesh from Lumina pumpkins is great for pies, waffles, tarts and flan.

3. Choose an empty plastic container about the same size as the hole you’ve made, and carefully place it in the pumpkin, adjusting the size of the hole if necessary. If you’re planning to plant directly in the pumpkin, add soil almost to the top of the hole.

4. Remove the plants from their containers, loosen the roots and place them inside the pumpkin. Add any needed soil and firmly pack it around each plant. Don’t overplant.

If you are keeping the succulents in their existing containers, place these inside the pumpkin, arranging them so they fit easily in the space. Fill in around the pots with soil.

If you want more color, try adding moss or rocks around the plants.

Corynne Pless, original photo on Houzz

I started with a simple Echeveria and paired it with a small Haworthia, at left in the photo above, although a mixed planting of Echeveria varieties would also work well.

Corynne Pless, original photo on Houzz

5. This pumpkin variety of Cucurbita moschata, Long Island Cheese, has a soft, pastel hue and works perfectly with a fall color palette.

Related: Add Chartreuse to Any Fall Color Palette

You’ll need a larger cutting knife if you choose to plant in a large pumpkin. Remove the stem and cut away the filling. The flesh of this pumpkin is sweet and great for pies.

Corynne Pless, original photo on Houzz

6. Add an empty container and fill in around it with soil. If you can’t find a container that fits, line the interior with clear plastic wrap. Add soil until about three-quarters of the interior is filled. Remove the plants from their containers, loosen the roots and add your succulents to the soil. Fill in with more soil, firmly packing it in place.

In this arrangement, the small aloe vera succulents bring height to the mix.

7. String of Beads (Senecio rowleyanus), also called String of Pearls, is a great plant that adds whimsy and texture.

8. When you are finished planting, brush the stems and sides of the plants with a soft brush and wipe the outside of the pumpkin with a damp cloth to remove any dirt.

Keep the soil dry during the planting process. Once the plants are securely in place, water sparingly. Water again when the soil is dry to the touch.

Tip: If you anticipate freezing temperatures, it’s best to move your succulents indoors and take them back outside when the weather is warmer. The arrangements also last about two full days, so plan ahead if you plan to to host a meal or make this as a gift.

Corynne Pless, original photo on Houzz

Related: Shop Dining Sets for Your Next Event

A small garland wraps around the new succulent planters and dinner table here. For a larger gathering or reception, use the arrangements as placecard or table number holders. This is also a great family project if you’re making gifts for teachers or coworkers.