How and Why to Design with Succulents

With roots? Without? In pots?

However you incorporate or sell them, succulents have moved from the steppes and deserts to the garden to mainstream floral design. Industry insiders report succulent sales have tripled in recent years.

Why should you incorporate succulents in your floral designs? Where can you use them? What are the recommended design mechanics and techniques for root and rootless designs?

And even with the easy-care label succulents have earned, what should you avoid to protect your designs?

The answers follow.

You see succulents everywhere

The use of succulents in floral designs has expanded to every possible arrangement in every season. Yet they still feel like the new kids on the block.

And why not? They offer unique color, form and function when compared to more common fresh flowers and plants on the market.

Succulents come in a wide variety of colors and species. The soft blue-green hue mixes well with the neutral and natural color harmonies trending for special events and décor this year.

As low-maintenance and drought-tolerant garden plant alternatives, succulents are often chosen for their eye-catching sculptural shapes and unique blend of textures. These characteristics excel in floral designs as well.

A quick look on Pinterest, shelter magazines, or a Google search confirms these hardy plants have gone mainstream.

Where to use succulents?

You see pots of succulents everywhere. How can you incorporate this high-growth plant in interesting designs to stimulate summer sales?

Centerpieces. Wedding bouquets. Bouts. Corsages. Wreaths. Arches. Pew markers. Succulents work in every type and many styles of flower arrangements.

If you sell live plants, you can offer them in designer vases, garden containers, window boxes, orbs, miniature gardens and more. Don’t forget living walls and terrariums.

Even door wreaths featuring succulents are catching consumers’ eyes.

Consider ways you can incorporate both fresh and faux succulents in these designs.

Start with your everyday designs

How can you add value to the plants you offer? Introduce succulents to your customers by mixing them in your daily arrangements with other plants and flowers.

A succulent wreath makes a great outdoor summer accessory for a sheltered front door.

How do you attach succulents in designs?

When working with a potted succulent plant, remove excess dirt and rinse the roots with water to clean.

If you purchase succulents from a fresh flower supplier, you may find the roots have already been removed, leaving just the head. These plants usually need to be hydrated and will benefit from soaking in water prior to being used in a design.

If you’re leaving the plant’s roots attached, align a wired wood pick alongside the root at the base of the succulent and lightly wire the roots to the pick.

If you don’t have wood picks available, you can substitute a bamboo skewer and florist wire to wrap around the stem and pick securing them together. Apply floral tape to cover the mechanic and help secure the wire.

If you’re removing the roots, you can insert one of the wooden mechanics directly into the base of the stem to secure it into wet floral foam or moss. Toothpicks work well for small succulents.

See the technique in this video – How to incorporate succulents into your design.

Bind wire or florist wire can be used to wire around the base of a succulent to hold in place on a wreath frame, handle or structural form.

Floral adhesive can be used to glue tiny succulents to corsages and boutonnieres or other small or intricate designs.

Promote succulents in-store and online

Suggest succulents as decorating accessories and gifts.

  • Create grab-and-go displays near the cash register in your shop to inspire impulse sales.
  • Offer in-store DIY succulent wreath or arrangement classes to customers.
  • Post photos of succulent designs on your website or social media.
  • Create handouts of how-to home projects and plant care to offer to customers.

Remind customers that these fleshy plants retain a lot of moisture and don’t like a lot of water. They burn easily so keep them out of direct sun. And they don’t like cold temperatures. Otherwise, they are hardy plants that require little care.

Faux succulents can look realistic when they are arranged like fresh plants and can be a good decorative sales item. Display them in vignettes alongside fresh plants.

If you enjoy designing with succulents, try some of the interesting ideas pinned on my “Sassy Succulents” Pinterest board (

What innovative ways will you display and sell succulents in your floral business this season?

The Oasis Idea Weekly Blog on is republished with permission and collaboration with Oasis Floral Products. The original blog can be found at:

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