Succulents make charming living ornaments that can easily last over a month hanging from a tree or as indoor holiday décor. Most can even be transplanted and live on after the holiday season is over. Here are a few quick care tips for your succulent ornaments, and what to do with them in the new year:
Cuttings need only a light misting once pale pink roots start to emerge. Rooted plugs can be watered as little as once or twice a month. Be extra careful not to overwater tin pail ornaments—they do not have drainage holes. In general, err on the side of underwatering.
PRO TIP: Don’t feel like watering your succulent ornaments at all? Have no fear, for winter dormancy is here! In winter, succulents need very little water; any wrinkling caused by temporary drought will quickly disappear once normal care resumes.
Most succulents need sunlight to thrive, but trees and holiday décor are not necessarily placed in sunny locations. Fortunately, winter dormancy slows and reduces the impacts of low light, such as stretching and greening. That said, colors may still fade over time without direct sun. A gradual transition over 1-2 weeks back to sunnier conditions will restore the succulent to its original vibrancy.
PRO TIP: Sempervivum and Echeveria rosettes prefer more sunlight; Haworthia and air plants tolerate lower-light areas.
AIR PLANT SPECIFICS
If your ornament includes air plants (Tillandsia), regular watering is necessary for long-term health. For best results, choose one of the following watering strategies:
· Mist generously 2-6 times a week, or
· Submerge completely 1-3 times a week, or
· Soak for an hour every 1-2 weeks
PRO TIP: To prevent rot, shake off excess water and give enough airflow for the plant to dry within 4 hours. Leave air plants out to dry before being returning them to a container (e.g. terrarium jar).
After the holidays, you may want to transition your ornament succulents to their next life as a potted plant. Try to use pots with drainage holes filled with a gritty, well-draining soil. Transplant and move them into their ideal light conditions. Sempervivum and Echeveria should go near a sunny window, whereas Haworthia can tolerate low, indirect light. Water about twice per week while roots are establishing, then reduce the frequency and only water when the soil is fully dry.
PRO TIP: Air plants can simply be removed from the ornament and displayed on any non-absorptive material, like stones, sea glass, or sand. Keep them indoors with bright but indirect light and continue to mist, submerge, or soak them regularly.