DIY / Inspiration

Antique Succulent Planter


Week 11 – Kristi – Antique Fire Grate

Kristi has put together this rustic fire grate.

Being a family owned business, we like to run the nursery like a big family. We thought a fun blog project would be to invite all our employees to make their own Succulent creations. We are asking one employee a week, starting alphabetically, to do so. At the end of each week we will “showcase” that employees design at the nursery, on the blog and on our Instagram.

Why an Antique Fire Grate?

I love all things vintage and some parts of our yard and garage have become plagued with rusty yard art just waiting for a project. If you asked my husband he’d say “Why not the Fire Grate? Please take it away!” There’s just something about antique items with fresh plants in them. Taking something that no longer had a purpose and giving it a whole new purpose is pretty amazing.

This arrangement is a perfect aesthetic for these winter-ready plants!

How long did it take to make it and how many plants did you use?

This arrangement probably took about 3 hours to complete. It could have been done a bit quicker, but I was so indecisive about which plants to use. When you have a whole greenhouse full of the most amazing plants at your fingertips it’s very hard to pick and choose! It was a difficult task but in the end, I managed to pick roughly 14 plants.

A higher angle view.

How exactly did you make it?

The Fire Grate had been suffering out in the yard for a few years waiting for the right project. The bottom was pretty much nonexistent, so I had to cut a few plastic bins for the inside to create a floor. Moss clumps were added to fill in the gaps to keep the dirt from pouring out. After it had been pretty- well closed in, it was filled with dirt and the long search for the right plants began. To create a little more depth I ‘borrowed’ a piece of petrified wood from my husband’s collection.

What are some of the plants you used and why?

Lovely tones, even in winter!

I’m hoping to introduce this arrangement into our yard, so I went with some of the ‘Hardy’ varieties. Our summers can get pretty hot and our winters pretty cold so the Sempervivum and Sedums are a must. All of the Sempervivums were just plucked from outside and still look amazing even when they’re hunkered down for the winter. It’ll be wonderful to see what they change into once spring arrives. The Sedums are great fillers. I’m looking forward to seeing what this piece looks like once they begin to fill in and flow over the edges.

"Hens and Chicks" living up to their name.

What are your favorite Succulents?

Well in all honesty I haven’t met a succulent yet that I didn’t like. If there is a favorite variety for me it would be the Sempervivum. Any plant that can survive being left out in our harsh winter environment and come back in the spring even bigger and better is a pretty amazing plant to have around!

What are the most difficult succulents to work with?

Some succulents are definitely more difficult to work with than others but for the most part they’re all enjoyable in their own way. Some of the Haworthias with the sharper tips can be difficult at times if you’re not paying attention. The Sedum Pink Jelly bean can by harder to work with as well because the ‘Jelly Bean’ leaves are pretty delicate. Even with its temperamental leaves this is one of my favorite plants. These Sedum really look like they were pulled straight from Willy Wonka’s edible candy room.

Why or what do you love about working at MCG?

I love that it’s always changing. We get to work up close and personal with different plants each day so there is always something new. I also appreciate that the management is flexible with our family lives….baseball, football, recitals and talent shows….if it involves family then they’re really understanding of your time. The staff is pretty great too! (I wouldn’t forget you guys!) I’m one of the ‘rookies’ and they’re always ready to help out and answer any questions that I may have. Especially on trying to narrow down which plants to use for this project!