Fall Succulent Lantern DIY

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‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice, pumpkin bread, even pumpkin-decked SUCCULENTS! & I’m here for all of it! FALL is my absolute favorite season, which is making me spend far too much money on fall succulent projects this year lol but #noragerts Going into the season I wanted to do something different than succulents pumpkins (even though they’re always cute & def have made more this season already). For inspiration I was casually browsing through Michael’s & spotted these gorgeous vintage lanterns for 60% off + my coupon, & knew immediately that my first priority of the season would be to fill them to the brim with succulents, surround them with pumpkins, succulents, & fairy lights! So I did, and oooof I’m in love. So, let’s get started DIY-ing.


WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Lanterns – I got these on sale at Michael’s for $12, but Hobby Lobby also has a large selection right now! You can also find some amazing vintage ones thrifting!
  • Cactus Soil – ( I use Kellogg brand Cactus, Citrus Palm mix, or EB Stone Succy mix)
  • PUMICE – Our General Pumice, obviously 😉 I used our size 1/8″, & pumice is VERY, very important for this project! & I’ll talk about WHY! ….PS. if you’re reading this, I’m so thankful that I want to give you a 10% OFF discount on any pumice order, just use discount code “LANTERN” during checkout!
  • Succulents! (Keep in mind if these lanterns are going to be indoors in low light, pick hardy succulents that thrive without lots of light! Here’s a list of those! 
  • Chopsticks & Tweezers (they make planting these tiny spaces a billion times easier)
  • Optional recommendation: Here’s an amazing succy utility tool belt with literally everything you need tool-wise for this project & pretty much any other project! It has the tiny spade I use for everything, spray bottle, succy-safe brush, tweezers, literally everything. (I don’t get paid or anything for recommending it, it just made my life so much easier so need to share!)

DSC04999As you can see, you really don’t need a ton of supplies you probably don’t already have, so let’s get to it!

FIRST THINGS FIRST,

Mix up some gooooood soil, I’m treating these beauties basically as terrariums, because they are extremely similar. (You can also read my terrarium DIY blog here). As you can see in the pictures, these lanterns don’t have holes in the bottom, SO if you know you’re not going to use these for anything else, I would recommend poking 5-6 small holes in the bottom of each lantern for drainage. OR instead, as I chose to do, add a THICK layer of PUMICE to the bottom before anything else! This will catch & absorb any excess water, so moisture doesn’t sit around the roots of your succies & cause them to rot!

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After you’ve added your foundation of PUMICE, next mix your soil! The soil you use is the MOST IMPORTANT factor when it comes to terrariums & planting projects like this! I cannot stress that enough if you want these beauties to actually live & thrive! So for my soil I mixed about 60% PUMICE, with 40% cactus soil! Pumice is the Swiss army knife of succulent planting, I swear. It has a multitude of benefits when planting in general (read all of them here), but especially with terrariums. The main benefits are:

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NEXT STEP!

     After you’ve mixed your pumice/soil mixture, you’re ready to rock & roll! Add a HEAPING layer of soil, my base was about 2.5″ tall you’re going to want to make sure there’s a tall enough layer of soil that your succulents are on display tall & proud (especially if you’re going to want to have the doors of the lanterns closed!) Also, you’ll notice these lanterns don’t have any soil-catching barriers, like a lip to keep the soil from falling out the front, BUT, I knew exactly where I wanted the lanterns to sit permanently (at my front door) and I won’t be moving them so that’s not a big deal to me. The soil stays put by itself pretty well as long as you’re not swinging it around or moving it consistently. But, if you’d like you can make a little “gate” out of popsicle sticks or little piece of wood, preferably painted to match your lantern colors. 

     To start planting the succulents, I suggest start from the back, put your tallest succulents back here, with eye-catching patterns or textures, then work your way forward to have the smallest succulents in front! Using the chopsticks to push and anchor the roots down in deep is a life-changing hack that makes planting in this tiny space a million times easier! Don’t be afraid to move stuff around as much as you want, also be prepared for soil to continually avalanche out the front as you scoot everything around & find the perfect places for your succulents LOL, just keep replacing the soil as you go!

Screen Shot 2019-10-03 at 11.19.03 AMAs you’re planting, make sure to clean ALL the old soil off the roots of each sucuclent completely! This will make sure they’re totally bug-free, and loosen the roots up for the healthiest succulents possible! Then, go to town, mix up your colors of succulents, sizes, textures, maybe have a few spilling out the front like I did on the smaller lantern with my sedum donkey tails! Just have fun with it & go crazy! 

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LET’S TALK MAINTENANCE!

     Now that you have your new beautifully funky Fall planter, how do you take care of it?! Also super super easy. With terrariums & these types of fun planters that don’t have drainage holes, I NEVER pour-water them, not even a tiny bit! I typically do 1 of 2 things:

     Once a week or every other week depending on where it’s positioned (inside/outside, has it been abnormally hot & dry) I’ll use a water-dropper (you can just use a dropper recycled from an empty medicine) fill it all the way up with water & drip the water AROUND the succulents into the soil sparingly. They don’t need very much water, I’ll use maybe 1 or 2 full droppers per lantern. they actually do better being under-watered than over-watered. Don’t drop the water on TOP of the succulents or in the rosettes of the succulents, this can cause/attract mealie bugs.

     OR, you can use a spray bottle and spray around the succulents as best you can, making sure to direct the water at the soil & roots, not on the succulents. Again, this should only be done about once a week, or every other week if you touch the soil & it still feels damp.

     IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE:  Make sure these beauties are in a place where they at least get a LITTLE bit of light throughout the day, otherwise you’ll need to move your lantern to a window a few times a week so the plants get the sunshine they need to grow & live!

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     THAT’S ALL Friends! Now go build your own & find the perfect place for them! I highly suggest adding twinkle lights, twinkle lights literally make everything 234760 zillion times prettier & more whimsical! Keep your eyes peeled for our next blog, next week for a new take on succulent pumpkins that I’m losing my mind over!

     Ok, now I’m off to go bake & eat my body-weight in chocolate-chip pumpkin bread, HAPPY FALL! 

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