DIY Plant Recipe for Mother’s Day

by Amy Azzarito

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and for years, I haven’t lived close enough to my mom to do much more than send something in the mail or call her on the phone. But I do have dreams of living close enough that I could pop by with something beautiful like this Aconium plant and take her out to lunch. Baylor Chapman, creator of San Francisco’s Lila B. Design – which does anything and everything floral and plant related – just came out with The Plant Recipe Book: 100 Living Arrangements for Any Home in Any Season, a new book that aims to pull back the curtain on creating beautiful potted arrangements. While I do love cut flowers, I am enamored with the idea of gifting something floral that has a bit of a longer shelf life, but is a touch more personal than just a simple potted plant from your local nursery. Especially this time of year, when spring is just barely visible, this is such a nice way to bring a little bit of garden indoors. The idea of the plant recipe book is that it takes away the mystery of potted arrangements by making the steps as simple as those for a cake recipe. If you have the materials and the plants (just take the list for the recipe to your local plant nursery), you can make something that is pretty jaw-droppingly awesome.  –Amy


  • Three 6-inch aeonium cuttings (Aeonium “Sunburst”)
  • One 6-inch hellebore (Helleborus)
  • One 6-inch rabbit’s foot fern (Humata tyermannii)

Container and materials

  • Porcelain bowl, 13 inches in diameter and 8 inches tall
  • 3 cups of potting mix

“Excerpted from The Plant Recipe Book by Baylor Chapman (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Paige Green.”


See all the steps after the jump!


  1. Select a larger aeonium and snip off three rosettes with at least a 3-inch stem. (Perhaps a gift from a neighbor friend’s garden, if not your own?) Let the stems dry out or harden off (scab over) for a few days. This helps prevent them from rotting and begins their rooting process.
  2. Add the potting mix to the bowl, then unpot the hellebore and place it in the center. If its crown is too low, create a mound with the potting mix. This plant is the tallest in the design and needs to be planted the highest.
  3. Unpot the rabbit’s foot fern and insert it into the open space to the right of the hellebore. Slightly angle it so that it leans over the rim of the bowl.
  4. If the stems of the aeoniums are too short, use a skewer as an extension. Attach it with coated wire or florist tape, or go ahead and skewer the thick stem for stability.
  5. Place two of the aeoniums front and center and grouped for more impact. Place the third, and the largest of the three, resting off the left edge of the bowl.
  6. Gently reach into the design and tug at the fern fronds, enticing them to weave through the hellebore and out the other side. Water lightly. After a few weeks, when the hellebore blooms fade and the aeonium cuttings begin to root, disassemble the arrangement and replant it.

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