Ryan and I are really into wreaths. Something about the portable greenery and the O shape just screams “Liiiife!” to us.
Last year, we made a protea-embellished display. This year, we’re going green and glossy with a succulent wreath we made out of cuttings from our tall, sassy “Mama Jade” shrub.
Crassula ovata — also called jade or friendship tree out on the streets — is a succulent that is famously…robust. You can make it root and grow just by looking at it the right way. In other words, like many succulents, jade is propagated by cuttings: You can break off a stem, plant it in well-draining soil (think cactus mix), water sparingly (being sure to let that soil dry out), and your cutting will keep growing into its own bona fide plant. You can even bonsai it into a tree.
Bonus: many jade plants flower in the winter. Here’s the story we did about those snowy blossoms almost three years ago. So in wreath form, those flowers will look like tiny lights. And then when the holidays are over, we’ll give away the wreath cuttings so they can be properly planted by friends and family.
A gift that keeps on giving! Wanna make your own succulent wreath with jade? Read on…
Step 1. Get your clippings! Every fall we trim back our west-facing seven-foot-tall jade tree when it starts to overtake our outdoor living room. This year, we cut back quite a bit, using our hands to snap the cuttings cleanly from the main plant. Jade cuttings can survive months out of soil — we cut back our tree in early November and the disembodied cuttings have begun flowering!
Step 2. Get a wire wreath frame. Make sure you have enough cuttings to make it all the way around. We had enough cuttings to fill a 20-inch wire frame.
Step 3. Break cuttings into 4- to 6-inch stems.
No need to be exact, but a longer stem will make it easier to tie off. (We’ll explain in a sec.) That said, stems that are too long will be difficult to hide and make the frame too heavy/bulky.
Step 4. Arrange stems in the frame
On a flat surface, push the stems through the wire frame opposite the direction you are working in. Push the cutting compact against each other as much as you can without losing too many leaves.
We recommend working in one direction for a harmonious look.
Step 6. Flip the wreath
We recommend doing this on a large surface if you have a large wreath. The more closely packed the stems are, the easier this step will be. We put a flat piece of plastic on the face of the wreath to keep the stems pushed into the frame while we flipped the whole kit and caboodle upside down.
Step 7. Tie the stems to the frame.
Cut off about three to six 8-foot lengths of garden twine or wire, depending upon the size of your wreath. Working in one direction, tie the twine to the frame and then secure the stems to each other, and then wrap back around into the frame. Try to give each stem at least one wrap and make sure to wrap the frame at least every 3 or 4 stems.
Step 7. Hang the wreath
Hang the wreath by the hidden wire frame over a nail or screw. For 2-foot and larger wreaths, hang with two nails spaced about one foot apart.