An easy centerpiece to whip up for your fall themed table, using a handsome pumpkin, can be done in half an hour. Integrating dried flowers, pods, and juicy succulents, your centerpiece will last for weeks. Drying flowers all summer long from my garden gave me ample stock to pick from, and I had a bumper crop of dried sunflowers to use. The sliced dried oranges and hot peppers were dried in my dehydrator. As to succulents, I have a greenhouse full!
Pick out your most interesting succulent shapes and colors and cut them at the base as close to the soil as possible to get a good stem. Let the stems ‘callus’ at the ends before using. Callusing of the cut end forms a thin skin which prevents weeping of juices from the succulent.
The array of pumpkins to choose from is so wide and diverse, that it can get confusing as to which would make the best base. But look for something with a wide flat top, a good stout stem, and no visible signs of rot, like dings and holes. If there is a cut in the skin of the pumpkin, rot can enter very quickly and when you pick up the pumpkin to decorate, the entire pumpkin will fall apart.
I love the light colored pumpkins because they show up the succulents better, but bright orange is the traditional choice.
Step by Step
For this centerpiece, I chose a green Jarradale pumpkin as my base and hot-glued some green moss on top to start, giving the succulents something to stick to. Continue to glue the largest items on the top around the stem. Here I used mini white pumpkins and dried sunflowers as my main components.
Next, hot glue the smaller dried flowers. Using the burgundy cockscomb created a nice contrast with the light colored pumpkins.
Continue adding dried flowers to cover the top and sides of the pumpkin. One of my favorite foliage drieds is Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria). Drying beautifully, it looks almost as good as fresh.
Continue by gluing dried blue hydrangea and some flexible metal fern fronds to add to the richness of the design. Be sure to go down the sides of the pumpkin to create a lush look. It is almost finished!
Dried blue salvia and succulents were added at the end and the last finishing touch was a piece of kiwi vine. Don’t hot glue your succulents! They will melt with the high heat. Use a quick drying glue. I use E6000 available at any craft store. Air plants are a great addition also but be sure not to hot glue these either. Fresh plant material doesn’t work well with hot glue.
This creation will last for weeks, even until Christmas. To make it last longer, don’t sit the pumpkin in the sun, and the cooler the better for temperature. Misting with a few pumps of water every few days will keep it fresh looking and some of the succulents even start to root!