Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wedding Centerpieces: Vines in Birdcages

Recently had a wedding and we decided that we would make all our own centerpieces. We made three types: Orchids, Bird Cage Vines, and Succulents.  Here is how we made the Bird Cage Vines.
For the succulent dishes, click here
For the orchid dishes, click here

 We bought bird cages at a variety of stores, particularly Michaels.  I then bought clay pots to fit the cages without overwhelming them.  I painted the pots white if they were going into white cages, or left them clay colored if they were going into green cages.

For vines, I used pothos and coleus, because I had the plants already growing in my house.  They are both easily propagated by just sticking stem clippings into a jar of water for two weeks until the roots are an inch or two long.  For more info on propagating these plants, check out these posts: Pothos Propagation, Coleus Propagation.

I at first started with two pothos and one coleus in each pot.  Later on I ended up adding more coleus stems to each pot, so if I were to do it again I would just start with two pothos and three coleus in each pot. Water daily at first, then every few days or weekly.  If the leaves are droopy it means they need water. 

Gently place the pots in the cages and close the lids.  You will need to thread the vines through the cage; make sure not to let any get smushed!

Shown: Leaf threaded through the cage, not getting smushed!

I then hung the cages in front of an east facing window for about 9 months (this was a long-term plan).  The vines don't grow very quickly, particularly the pothos, so planning ahead helps! If you are in a hurry, just use longer clippings to start with (if you have long enough clippings, you don't need to let them grow any more at all!).  Keep in mind that coleus changes color depending on how much light it receives!

The bird cages were still around at Christmas, so they received some decorations.
Using two pothos and three coleus per pot worked well since we had a long time to let them grow.

In total they hung for around 9 months in the apartment before the wedding.

Wedding Centerpieces: Orchids

Recently had a wedding and we decided that we would make all our own centerpieces. We made three types: Orchids, Vines, and Succulents.  Here is how we made the orchid dishes!

For the Succulent Dishes, click here

For the Bird Cage Vines, click here

We chose to put two orchids in each dish; one large and one small.  We actually used IKEA as our orchid source as they had the most available.  We kept the orchids in their original pots to reduce the risk of flower shedding.  When selecting orchids, I looked for orchids that had at least one un-opened bud, to increase the likelihood that the flowers weren't about to shrivel up and fall off.  We also bought them only two days in advance, to further reduce the risk of damaging the flowers.   

The pots the orchids came in were slightly shorter than the dish we were putting them in, so we needed a way to raise them up a bit so that the top of the pot was level with the top of the dish.  We ended up using bubble-wrap and taped it in a cone around the pots to give them a nice solid base.

 We then filled in the dish with Spanish Moss.  This was mostly because it was easy and cheap and I'd already bought a lot of it, but really any light, space filling material would work.  The benefit of the moss is that it looks nice if it peaks through the top layer. If you have enough available, you can also just you regular green sphagnum moss for this step.  Really wedge the moss in there are much as you can to prevent the orchids from shifting or falling over.      

On top of the Spanish Moss we then layered regular green sphagnum moss (the brown colored moss) and then bits of preserved green sphagnum moss (the actually green moss).  Make sure the moss completely covers the orchid pots!

The final touch was a few river rocks over the moss.  These looked nice but also had the added bonus of helping anchor down the orchids.

**Update: We ended up taking two of these centerpieces home with us and a year later 3 of the 4 orchids are still alive! While these were not set up with longevity in mind, it turns out you can keep the orchids around in them fairly long term.  The one orchid that did die rotted from over watering after about 8 months.  Over watering is the biggest risk since the planters are not well aerated and hold moisture. 

Wedding Centerpieces: Succulents

Recently had a wedding and we decided that we would make all our own centerpieces. We made three types: Orchids, Vines, and Succulents.  Here is how we made the succulent dishes!

For the orchids, click here

For the Bird Cage Vines, click here

Each dish contains one big succulent in the center and numerous smaller succulents (5-10) around the edges.  The more succulents you can get into the pot, the better it will look!  We started with the big center succulents; make sure they are big enough considering how large of pots you are using.

The smaller succulents are then added around the large succulents in a circle, making the pots as full as possible.  The most important thing is to have as little substrate (dirt)showing as possible.  We used a mix of 50/50 perlite and dirt, which helped keep the pots super light and easy to move around.  A lot of the smaller succulents are trimmings from other plants and don't yet have full root systems so we just stuck them directly into the dirt. 

Once all the succulents and dirt were in place, we started covering the top with a layer of pebbles.  I bought the pebbles in a bulk bag used for landscaping, and they came covered in mud, so they needed to be washed first. 

 The dirt was completely covered with pebbles.  Had we been more creative we also could have alternated pebble color and such.

Finally, we added a ribbon around each pot before putting them on the tables.