Succulent Pumpkin Planters
By Rob Sproule
“There are three things I’ve learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”
Let’s face it, as far as decorating goes pumpkins have been one-hit wonders. While their little gourdy cousins have found some fame in centrepieces and home decor, pumpkins’ lot in life is to be gutted, carved, and burnt on the porch step. But the wind is shifting for our plucky orange squash. A new trend is redefining it from Halloween kitsch to houseplant chic. It’s easy to make, uses our favourite plants, and I’m gonna tell you how.
It’s sort of amazing that it took this long for someone to look at a pumpkin and think, “why don’t we just dig a hole in the top and plant something in it?” There are 2 basic ways to do this. The alternative to this article is to keep the pumpkin intact, glue moss to it, and glue bare-root succulente to the moss. I’m not a fan because, besides looking like a lot of work, it’s a one-way ticket for the succulents. You won’t get them back after Halloween, and they aren’t cheap.
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Prep The Pumpkin:
I wouldn’t plant them straight into the pumpkin. The stringy fleshy bits are downright damp and will rot the delicate root systems. Plus, as with the gluing method, it makes it a one way trip. Why waste money when you don’t have to? If you don’t have a pot, go grab a 6″ round or so for a big pumpkin and a 3-4″ round for a smaller one. One pumpkin will be a conversation starter, but several (of different sizes and colours), is just awesome.
With a sharp knife, dig into the top of the pumpkin to hollow a cavity the same size as the pot. The rim of the pot should fit snugly just under the top (ie. be invisible). Only pull as much goopy goodness as you need; you’re not hollowing it out. If the pot if heavy, consider laying down a wider platform to set it on so it doesn’t sink. Don’t stop at plain orange. Try white, mini and “knucklehead”pumpkins (with the giant wart-like bumps on them). Why not other squash or gourds? As long as you can cut into it and it will sit upright, it’s fair game.
Prep the Succulents:
Pack your succulents densely in the pot. Don’t worry, they like being crowded. The illusion is that the pumpkin so full of succulents (horn-of-plenty style) that it’s overflowing with them. A loosely packed pot of soil showing will wreck the effect. Any succulent will do. I’d experiment with the rosette types (echeveria) on their own for smaller pumpkins (which are preferably white).
For the big ones, make sure to incorporate some trailers over the sides (vines work, too). You may want to stuff some moss in for effect. Aim for height in the centre so it’s not flat looking but has that “exploding from squash” feel. After Halloween, pitch the pumpkin and take out the container. Give it a wash and you have a succulent planter ready for a new life!