Harmony in the Garden Blog

My impromptu succulent cutting tower

Last month I dismantled one of my favorite garden beds so we could finally finish painting the house.

A year ago we had our house painted, but I wouldn’t let them paint one remaining wall, as my bougainvillea was in full bloom and there was no way I was about to cut it back prematurely!

Luckily, I had the world’s best painters who completely understood how crazy we gardeners can be, and were willing to come back in the early spring to finish the job.

Anyway, back to my story. Dismantling my garden bed was easy enough, except I had to move two giant clumps of tall and brittle aeoniums – and sure enough, many of them broke in the process.


I wasn’t too worried, though, because I know just how easy they grow from cuttings:  simply snap off the end, let it ‘harden off’ for a few days and then re-plant.  Voila!

However, I needed a way to store the cuttings upright, that would let them retain their beautiful shape while they hardened off.  Otherwise, just laying them on their side would result in a flattened, misshapen rosette.

I spotted a nearby decorative trellis just sitting there doing nothing, and inspiration struck.  It was the ideal way to hold these cuttings upright.


As I began inserting the cuttings into the trellis, I couldn’t help but notice just how fabulous it looked!

These cuttings have been in the trellis now for over a month and are still going strong. While I had meant for it to be temporary, I’m hoping to keep them there for at least another month or so as it looks so pretty.

As many of you know, succulents are incredibly forgiving and these are no exception.  In fact, they’re even sprouting air roots so when I’m finally ready to plant them in the ground they’ll be ready to grow!  GreenBar


I’m so happy with my first succulent cutting tower that I rummaged around in the garage to find another smaller obelisk that I haven’t used in years.  I decided to use this one to hold the smaller succulent cuttings that I’ve taken from one of my old, overgrown succulent wreaths.GreenBar


I have to thank Debra Lee Baldwin for providing me with this inspiration, as I’m not entirely sure I would’ve been as creative had I not just finished reading her latest book Succulents Simplified – Growing, Designing and Crafting with 100 Easy-Care Varieties’.

As with all of her previous books, I’m a huge fan. However I was particularly excited to read about the crafty succulent projects shown in the book.  From quick and easy succulent rosettes for bouquets, to teeny tiny mint-tin gardens, to succulent-topped pumpkins there’s a project in this book for even the most craft-challenged!

If you have any succulent projects or tips I’d love to hear about them!GreenBar

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    • Thanks, Evelyn! And have fun with Debra’s book – it’s fantastic!

  • Very creative, Rebecca. I know how hard it is to have house maintenance done, worrying about painters, roofers, etc. stepping on plants or chunking stuff down on them. I’m glad to hear your painting project went well, AND you found a great way to display cuttings while you were at it.

    • Thanks, Pam! I’ve dreaded getting our house painted for years, but finally succumbed to the pressure from my husband to ‘puhleeease can we re-paint our house this year??” But I must say, it was worth it – especially since we had such considerate painters. I even gave the main painter a succulent cutting to take home after he was admiring it so much!

  • Oh my goodness now I am so excited to get Debra’s book. I love your idea for keeping the cut Aeoniums. It looks so pretty. I have something like it and will use it instead of just throwing them in a bucket or bag. Your idea is so decorative.

    • Thanks Candy – I’m glad you like my idea! And you will undoubtedly love Debra’s book – it’s right up your alley, that’s for sure!! 🙂

  • I love the article about the succulent tower. I just received a succulent wire basket for my birthday. Many of the plants are hanging on the underside and a number of pieces and blooms dropped off as we moved it. I have placed them in a outdoor wire planter hoping to root them. I look forward to receiving further information and articles .

    • Thank you, Susan. Give the succulents time and you’ll notice little air roots will start to form, just waiting for you to plant them and start over again!

  • Hi, Rebecca — What a GREAT idea! A perfect way to take advantage of the way succulents live off the moisture in their leaves. The dark interior of the tower would be a good environment for root formation. The cuttings will assume they’re lying on the ground after breaking off from the mother ship. A tower also is a good way to keep cuttings until planting time if you’re short on space. Ideally, keep it in bright shade and rotate it every so often for even light exposure. Spritzing it every few days will help plants and new little roots stay hydrated. P.S. Thanks for mentioning my latest book!

    • Thanks for the added info, Debra! I must say, I was pretty proud of my little tower idea – a great way to use those little trellises that just sit around gathering dust!

    • Thanks, Amy! I wish you could grow them outside, too – they’re some of my very favorite plants. But you can always grow them in containers to overwinter, can’t you? I know – it’s not the same. I’ve had some ‘tabletop’ aeoniums growing indoors for a few years now and I just love their flat dinner-plate appearance.


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