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Succulent wreaths make a nice holiday gift.

Homemade gifts can be extra special during the holiday season. This season, give the gift of a succulent wreath.

Succulent wreath supplies: wreath form, Spanish moss, paddle wire, straight pins, and several succulent cuttings

1. Moisten a sheet of moss in bucket. Place moss in bucket, fill with water covering the moss, and give it time to completely soak up all water before using. The picture shows a mix of green sheet moss and gray Spanish moss.

2. While the moss is soaking, tie the loose end of the paddle wire to the wreath form.

3. Wrap the wire tight around one handful of moss at a time to secure. Continue until wreath is completed. Wrap tight enough to secure but not too tight, that it can be seen through moss.

4. Use a pencil or the end of your pruning shears to create a hole in the moss to place succulent cuttings in the moss. If I only have a few succulent cuttings, I will place them in a cluster at top, bottom or on one side. If I have, 40 or more cuttings of three different types, (for instance, the picture shows bold colorful Echeveria, green jade, and fine light green Crassula cuttings) I will place them around the entire wreath. Secure the succulent stem to the moss with a pin.

5. Lay flat for at least two weeks.

Care: Moss will dry out much faster than soil. To water when dry, place wreath in the sink and allow water to soak the moss completely. This wreath will last for about a year indoors before succulents will need to be transplanted.

Succulent cuttings can be purchased at your local garden center, online, or propagate your own. Succulents are usually slow growing, have leaves adapted to hold water, usually have a waxy, bloomy and hairy surface and come in many sizes and textures. They are easy to grow because most of them are adapted to low humidity and drought. To propagate your own, start with a non-flowering succulent plant. Use a clean razor blade or garden pruners to take cuttings with four or more nodes (a node is where the leaf attaches to the stem). Cut just below the node. Remove the leaves from the bottom two nodes. The nodes will be the site of new roots. To prevent rotting, let cuttings air dry for a week before placing the cutting into the moss.

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Kelly Allsup is the University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator in Livingston, McLean and Woodford counties.

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