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
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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.
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.
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!