A tree that will stay fresh all season long. This succulent Christmas tree adds a pop of color to any table. Made out of floral foam and succulent stems, it is a quick and easy project. This post contains affiliate links.
Watch our step by step video!
I needed a distraction from the events going on in the country right now so I decided to decorate for the holidays early. Starting with a darling succulent Christmas tree!
Would you believe that all of these succulents were ordered online? This is my third time ordering them in the mail and I have always been so impressed with the quality. Some of the cuttings that I used were from the succulent pumpkins that we made last month. They had started to grow roots and were easy to pop right off of the pumpkins to use for this project.
Succulent Christmas Tree
There are several methods that you can use for assembling a succulent tree. I’ve seen forms made out of chicken wire and filled with moss, forms lined with some sort of garden liner, faux succulents glued to styrofoam, and real succulents in wet floral foam. My inspiration was from Net Florist.
Supplies For Making a Succulent Christmas Tree
Wet Floral Foam
I used Oasis floral foam. You can use a 12″ cone or a 9″ cone. If you aren’t sure which one you want, order a 12″ cone. You can always cut off a few inches using a serrated knife to create any size you’d like.
I decided to use a 12″ cone and place this mini tree collar around the bottom. Because the tree collar covers the bottom 3 or so inches, it was as if I used a 9″ cone when it came to the number of succulent cuttings that I needed.
If you use a full 12″ cone without a tree collar you will need more cuttings.
Note: you can find these mini tree collars in the dollar section at Target this year. They are $3 and come in white or galvanized metal.
I slipped the tree collar over the foam and it was the perfect fit.
Soaking Floral Foam
You can make this with or without soaking the foam. Soaking the foam in water makes it MUCH easier to insert the succulent stems vs. working with dry foam. That being said, succulents don’t need a lot of water so the constant moisture of the wet foam against the stems can cause them to mold over time. I’ll leave it up to you. I generally have a few that mold, but most (especially the succulents with thicker stems) do fine.
Fill a sink with water and place the cone in the water. Don’t push it down, just let it sink and soak in the water on its own. It will be heavy and pretty waterlogged when you remove it.
Place the foam on a small plate (I put mine on a small plastic lid—you can’t see it because of the tree collar) to catch water while you work on your succulent tree. You can also put it on whatever base you plan on displaying the tree on. I transferred my tree to a platter when I was finished.
You’ll need at least 30 cuttings to make a 9″ tree. That doesn’t mean that you need to order 30 plants. Sometimes you can get 2-3 cuttings from one plant. I ordered a pack of 20 and got about 28 cuttings from it. Then I went through my house and took cuttings from some of the succulent arrangements that I had.
Home Depot has beautiful succulents if you are looking for someplace local. They are a little bigger than the ones that I order online. I like watching for flash deals on Amazon. When I ordered the succulents for these cute gifts, I scored them for $1 each!
Separate the succulents from the dirt and clean/dust the dirt off. Try to leave as much of the stem as you can. You can always trim the stems later.
Using green floral foam helps hide any bare spots, but I also added some moss. Moss also keeps the succulents from resting against the foam too much, which may cause mold because the foam is moist. I just tucked it in, covering any spots where the foam was showing, and tucking moss under some of the spaces between the succulents and the foam cone. Sphagnum moss is supposed to be the best for succulents, but I used sheet moss that I purchased at Walmart for $3.
Displaying Your Succulent Tree
You’ll need to decide how you’d like to display your tree. Because you are using wet floral foam, you don’t want the moisture from the foam ruining your furniture. I used a white platter with a layer of moss to display mine, but you can place your tree in a planter or plant saucer, or anything you’d like.
Caring For A Succulent Christmas Tree
According to Orange County Register,
“Fleshier succulents with fat stems can live for months in floral foam. I made succulent centerpieces for a wedding a few years back, and the echeverias not only rooted in the foam, they lived a long time with water and an occasional feed.”
If you soaked the foam, do not water your succulent tree. If you used dry foam you will want to occasionally water the tree (I like using a syringe to water succulents).
January UPDATE: My succulent tree was on display for 4 weeks before I removed the succulents and planted them in small pots. About 1/3 of them had mold on the stems from the moisture from the wet foam. Some stems were completely covered in mold, but most were still salvageable and snapped off to allow the leaves to propagate once more.
How To Make A Succulent Tree
Succulent Christmas Tree
- thin dowel or paintbrush
- The number of succulent cuttings that you use will depend on the size of the floral foam cone that you use. I used a 12" cone, but covered the bottom with a small tree collar, so I basically only covered the surface area of a 9" cone. Soak the foam in water before beginning the project. Fill a bucket or sink with water then set the foam into the water. Don't push it down or rush it. It will sink fairly quickly as it absorbs water. You can also make this tree without soaking the foam.
- Succulent cuttings are not the same thing as succulent plants. Sometimes you can separate one plant into more than one cutting. I ordered a bunch of small succulents online and was able to divide some of them into two sections.You'll need 30+ stems/cuttings. Clean any dirt off, and preserve a much of the stem as you can. You can always trim it shorter if you need to once you begin assmebling the tree.
- Use a small dowel or paintbrush to gently poke a hole into the floral form before adding each stem.Make sure that the hole you poke is slightly smaller than what you need to ensure a snug fit as you slide the cutting into it. If the hole is too big, the succulent may fall out of the cone.
- Inserting a toothpick in stems that are shorter is helpful for getting them to stay.
- Once you've filled your tree with succulent cuttings, fill in any of the gaps with moss. Tuck more moss in between the succulents and the foam, in any areas large enough to do so, to give the succulents something to lean on. The moss acts as a barrier between the moist foam and the succulent “leaves” which will prevent them from molding.
- Place your tree on some sort of base (platter, planter, plant saucer, etc.) to protect your furniture.Remember: your floral foam is full of water! It will leave water on whatever surface it is touching. I placed my tree on a platter and added moss around the base.
- The moisture from the tree will keep your succulents hydrated for throughout the holiday season. However, if you notice things drying out you can spritz the tree with water. Keep tree in a sunny area, rotating every few days so that all of the cuttings get exposure to the sun.