Plant a Pumpkin

Plant a Pumpkin

Fill a pumpkin with succulents or traditional fall plants!

Planted pumpkins make great fall decorations for your table or windowsill, and for outdoor displays. For indoor decor, use small pumpkins and succulents. For porch or patio decorations, use some of the frost-tolerant plants we have outdoors at the front of the store. Here are the instructions for planting pumpkins.

  1. Get your supplies: a pumpkin, at least 5 small succulents for a smaller pumpkin, and enough plants for a large one to fill and spill over the top. For smaller pumpkins you won’t need soil since there will be plenty of soil in the pots of the plants. If you’re planting a large pumpkin you’ll need to put some potting soil inside. Moss is a good thing for filling in gaps and finishing the piece, and we have several types of moss inside the store.
The first step is to choose a pumpkin. Remember that the larger the pumpkin, the more plants you’ll need to fill it, unless, of course, you take a larger pumpkin and put one of the large ornamental cabbages in the top.
Next, pick out several small succulents for your arrangement. Aim for a selection of different colors and textures of foliage. Choose three to six, the smaller the pots the better.
See how some of these succulents are bluish, while others are shades of green. Their leaves also vary in shape.

2. Cut the top off of the pumpkin. No need to remove the fiber and seeds! You can put the tops in the compost.

Cut the top off a pumpkin. If it’s packed with seeds, empty some out but don’t worry about removing all of the seeds and fibers. The moisture in this pumpkin will keep your planter alive for several weeks without watering!

3. Fit the plants into the opening at the top of the pumpkin one at a time. You might have to knock some of the soil off of the roots but that’s not a problem. Occasionally a leaf might break off of your succulent – know that you can put the end of that leaf into a pot of clean potting soil and it will root and grow into a new, small succulent!

Here is what remains after creating the planted pumpkins in our photos. Some of this potting soil and the roots were pulled off of the plants in order to fit all the succulents into that narrow opening of the pumpkin. The random leaves that fell off can be rooted and grown into new plants.

4. Once you have all the plants poked in, water them a little bit – a 1/4 cup of water at most – to settle the roots. Wipe any dirt off the pumpkin.

After the plants are given a bit of water, add moss in the gaps between plants around the edges. The stringy Spanish moss is particularly attractive, but purchased sheet moss or moss from your property can be used as well. (Never take moss from wild areas.)

5. Do not overwater! The moisture in the pumpkin itself will keep these plants happy for several weeks. Once the pumpkin starts to soften, you can either tip the entire arrangement out and place it in a clay flower pot, or separate the plants and pot each one in a small container individually. If you need more potting soil, use a cactus mix.

Here are two examples of finished pumpkin and succulent arrangements.

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