I fell in love with this idea when I saw it on It All Started With Paint and Pop Sugar, and recently I decided it was time to try my own version. Tiny little adorable green plants you can stick on the fridge? Sign me up! As an added bonus, you basically HAVE to drink wine to make this work (at least that’s the story I told G). Added double-bonus: those of you out there lacking a ‘green thumb’ (#ifeelyourpain) will find this just as easy to handle as the gardening pros. Added triple-bonus: these make great little last-minute gifts for moms!
Ready? Let’s do this!
- Small succulent plants or clippings from plants you have around the house (I bought mine at Lowe’s for about $3 each)
- Wine corks (drink up!)
- Glue gun + glue stick
- Semi-strong magnets (I picked these up at Lowe’s as well, for about $4)
- Sewing scissors, or other small scissors
- Potting soil (not pictured)
- Washi tape for decoration
- Small terracotta pots or other small vessels
Use your scissors to carefully snip small branches off of your succulents. Try to pick stems that will be long enough to extend into the cork planters a bit so that they can absorb the nutrients they need from the soil. If necessary, you can gently wiggle the lower leaves on the clipping until they fall off to create a longer stem. Don’t worry about leaving a stump behind on the mother plant, those stumps should grow new succulent buds over time.
Now set your clippings aside for a day or two to scab over. Is that word absolutely disgusting? Yes, it’s 100% gross. Is it absolutely necessary? Yep. Succulents can go long periods of time without being watered because they absorb whatever water they can find around them and store it in their squishy leaves. So you’ll need a good scab (*shudder*) formed on each of your clippings to regulate their water absorption upon planting in the moist potting soil.
Optional Step: Replant your mother plants in small pots.
Pack your potting soil into each pot, then add water so that the soil is slightly moistened. Grab what’s left of your succulent plants (roots and all) after clipping and place into the soil. Gently pack more soil around the base of each plant to secure them in an upright position. Boom! Done!
Step 2: Carve your wine corks.
This step is pretty easy, but it’s also pretty tedious because you’ll want to be extra careful that you don’t slip and cut yourself. You can use the tip of your sewing scissors, or grab a knife from your kitchen to carve out a deep hole in each cork. You want the hole to reach about 3/4 of the way to the bottom.
Grab an extra cup of coffee for this one and pop on some Netflix (suggestion: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – you’re welcome.), because it will take you a while. My five corks took me a little over an hour to carve, but I didn’t discover my secret cork carving weapon until late in the game, so I’m sure next time it’ll go faster.
Your finished corks should look like this:
Step 3: Decorate your corks (optional) and add your magnets.
The printed wine labels on each cork make them really beautiful on their own, but to add some visual interest (and because I just LOVE polka dots!), I added a strip of washi tape around two of my corks. Washi tape doesn’t adhere well to the cork’s texture, so I had to use a tiny bit of hot glue to make it stick.
Next, glue your magnet to the side of the cork. I started this project with some magnets I bought at Lowe’s that were about the size of a penny. Once I held them up to the corks, I knew they would be too large to give me the look I was going for, so I went back and swapped them out for a smaller version that’s still strong enough to hold each planter.
If you chose to decorate with washi tape, you can use the magnet to cover the tape seam.
Step 4: Plant your succulents.
Now that you’ve dried your succulent clippings for a few days, it’s time to plant them in your new planters. Fill each cork planter about 3/4 full with potting soil and pack firmly using your finger. Then, place your clipping on top and hold it gently in place while you pack dirt in around the stem. I used the flat end of a kabob skewer for this part, but a pen cap, or tooth pick would work just as well for getting around the tiny leaves and packing the dirt in without damaging the delicate plant.
Step 5: Enjoy!
Find a prominent place (like your fridge) to display your tiny forest! Succulents like a lot of diffused light (think: a bright window with the blinds down), and they only need to be watered thoroughly when the soil is completely dry (this simulates the desert climate where they naturally thrive). I added a few drops to each clipping right after planting, but will not water again for a while.
I’m proud to say, I made this set of planters about a week ago and they’re still alive and kicking. (They alive, dammit! It’s a miracle!) If I can do it, you can too!