CO-Horts Blog

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Loving Living Wreaths

Posted by Micaela Truslove, Broomfield County Extension
Photo of Succulent and Sunshine's Living Wreath
Make this amazing living wreath using Succulents and Sunshine's easy-to-follow tutorial.
This Thanksgiving weekend when my husband and I take the boxes of Christmas ornaments down from the rafters and dust them off in preparation for our annual holiday decorating ritual, there is one very traditional ornament that will remain in its box in favor of what may be a new tradition in our house.

Wreaths have a long and varied history, from Mycenaean funerary diadems made from gold to the decidedly more modest headgear made of leaves worn by Greeks to symbolize victory or royalty.  Pliny the Elder also mentions wreaths worn on the head as a cure for headaches.  Fast forward to the Victorian Era when elaborate wreaths were woven from the hair of deceased family members.  The practice of creating wreaths from evergreen boughs most likely comes to us from a pagan practice in which the foliage of evergreen plants was woven together to symbolize everlasting life and the coming spring.  This eventually led to the Advent Wreath of Christianity. The custom of hanging a wreath on the front door of a house is a modern twist on the Roman tradition of displaying victory wreaths on their front doors.

Back to our plastic wreath that lives in the garage eleven months out of the year and is, well, very plastic.  This year I decided to create a wreath that is not only constructed of actual plant material, but will be around long after the tree is packed away and relegated to the rafters until next holiday season; a living wreath!

Look no further than your own back yard as many sedums and other succulents commonly found in Colorado gardens are easy to propagate from cuttings. Photo: Micaela Truslove
Living wreaths are incredibly easy to make and for those of us that are gardeners, they offer a chance to dig in the dirt and do a little planting months after the first killing frost has claimed most of our outdoor plants.  These wreaths can be made from herbs, pansies (which are no longer available, but can be obtained from garden centers late in the season – so keep it in mind for next year), and my personal favorite, tiny succulents.

The vast assortment of textures and colors presented by these little plants is staggering.  And they can be made using cuttings from your (or a friend’s) garden and will readily root once in the planting media in the wreath frame.  Brilliant.  There are plenty of tutorials online, and the materials and plants are relatively inexpensive, especially if you pilfer some bits and pieces from the garden.  Since they can be assembled in no time, they are a satisfying afternoon project that will provide a little therapeutic gardening time to relieve holiday stress without eating into your busy holiday preparations.

Move wreaths outdoors once weather has warmed. Photo from Better 
Homes and Gardens' living wreath tutorial, which can be found here.

The best part? Once the holidays have past and spring has sprung, these your creation can be taken outside and enjoyed for the remainder of the year until it is time again for the rest of the decorations to come back down from the rafters.  Oh, are you still sitting there reading?  Go ahead—off with you!  Off to the craft store and the greenhouse to gather your materials and start a new wreath-making tradition this holiday season.


  1. Those wreaths are so beautiful! I was always intimidated by trying this, but it doesn't look as bad as I thought. I have some 'Angelina' sedum and pansies around...hmmmm.....

  2. I figure this is a new way to use my hens and chicks as they have already been shoved into every other nook and cranny in the garden, and they just keep making more!