Flowers Under $50: Succulent Place Card Holders

by Mary Kathryn Paynter

Much too frequently, one overlooks how impactful flowers and plants can be when used in small, unexpected ways to add unique details to entertaining. For today’s Flowers Under $50, we turn to resilient succulents for place settings, as I show you how to make succulent place card holders.

The seating arrangement at a party can make or break the evening. But place settings ensure that guests are mixed well enough to meet new people, allowing everyone to come out of their shells for an enjoyable time. Growing up in the South, I always heard it was “harder than checkers, easier than chess” to seat a dinner party. I was fascinated by the way women around me organized the guests at their tables, mixing the vivacious with the shy, the Republican with the Democrat, the pious with the besotted. Incredibly, everyone seemed to get along. I learned that it’s just a matter of ensuring that everyone has at least two things in common with the people on either side of him/her (and never seat an unhappy couple together). — Mary Kathryn

Read the full post after the jump . . .

Above images by Mary Kathryn Paynter

Continuing in that tradition, I love the idea of using small succulents to hold place cards at each setting. Succulents are tough enough to withstand almost any (dry) weather and are inexpensive to use, as one large plant can be broken into many smaller plantings. Potted in similar small containers, their uniformity is charming and adds a personal feel to events of any size. They also double as a party favor.

Above images by Mary Kathryn Paynter

To keep costs down and add to the rustic feel, I bought a set of antique baking tins at a thrift store for $6. Any time you’re potting multiple plants, it helps to check thrift stores or re-sale shops for sets of dishes; they are frequently priced in a group and are unbelievably cheap. Because succulents need lots of drainage, I start by adding pebbles to the bottom of the dish. The perfect pebbles for this project are the ones you buy at a pet store for aquariums — they come in many different colors and are small enough to use on this scale.

Next, break apart your succulent plant, being somewhat careful with the roots when untangling. Stick the end of your succulent into the pebbles and firmly press soil into the dish, around the base of the plant, until it stands on its own.

Above images by Mary Kathryn Paynter

Add more pebbles to cover up the soil and fill up the dish. I made my own place cards by using a white-ink pen on blue cardstock, but pre-cut and pre-printed cards are widely available. Wedge the card between the leaves of your succulent and place one at each setting. Ta-da!

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  • This is so charming. I have planted violas in stemed wine glasses, one dollar each at Ross, and created center pieces . I like this idea better. They could be placed next to the wine glass at each setting. I saw an idea to dip the stems in chalk board paint. Each persons name could be written on the glass.

    Follow you on twitter and you are featured in retire in Style Daily News today.

    Be well


  • I love succulents! And just FYI, if you plan ahead, succulents are really easy to propagate. they will grow a new plant from any cutting…even just one petal/leaf. As i re-pot mine, sometimes parts will break off. I just shove them into some dirt and make sure to keep moist and a couple weeks later i have a plant. Some grow faster than others, but this has workd 99% of the time for me.

  • Oh how lovely. Thanks for showing how you did this, Mary. I love all the clever ways you cut down costs like with the aquarium rocks and the thrift store baking tins. All together it makes a very special place card holder and party favor. Just perfect. Bravo!

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