Succulent pumpkins add sophistication and bring a touch of whimsy to Fall displays. By combining sturdy succulent cuttings with fancy heirloom pumpkins, succulent pumpkins are long-lasting and endlessly customizable. Use succulent pumpkins for porch-scaping or decorate your interior coffee tables and mantles with these colorful and classy gems.
Available to purchase ready-made in stores, succulent pumpkins are Autumnal must-haves that also make a fun and creative DIY craft! Here are step-by-step instructions to create your very own succulent pumpkin masterpiece this season:
Succulent Pumpkin Supplies
- Fancy Pumpkin(s): Our favorite pumpkins to use are fancy heirloom pumpkins! They come in an assortment of colors, shapes, and sizes, and they offer a large planting surface that looks balanced when topped with succulents.
- Spray Adhesive: Aleene’s Tacky Spray is our preference and can be found at most craft stores.
- Craft Glue: We like Aleene’s Clear Gel Tacky Glue, which can also be found at most craft stores.
- Moss: Our favorite is SuperMoss Preserved Sheet Moss or Mountain Moss which is real moss that comes in handy sheets or as bunches—both styles are sold at our garden centers. We’ve also used moss out of the backyard that has had time to dry out.
- Succulent Cuttings: Purchase an array of 2-6 inch succulents and sedums or take cuttings from existing indoor or outdoor plants. If you want your succulent pumpkin to live indoors, it’s safe to use non-hardy succulents, but if you plan to keep it on your porch until November, you will want to use mostly hardy ones. We suggest starting with a variety of 5-7 succulent shapes, sizes, and colors so the arrangement has lots of variation—this is where your creativity comes in!
- Seasonal Accents: Use items that are dried or somewhat preserved so they will keep on top of a pumpkin for a couple of months like seed pods and dried flowers. Try to color-coordinate with your succulent choices and pumpkin base to create a thoughtful and harmonious color palette for your arrangement. Some of our top picks for this time of year are poppy pods, statice, strawflower, billy balls, hops flowers, dried roses, and rose hip sprays.
Step 1: Select Your Pumpkin
Choose a pumpkin with a little character that reflects your interior or exterior aesthetic. Muted tones like peach, sage, and cream will work well for the transition from October to November, while deep green or orange pumpkins can be fitting for Halloween décor . Select pumpkins that have a depression around the stem to make it easier to decorate with succulent and moss. Prominent stems are not necessary, as these will often be obscured by the succulent cuttings.
Some of our favorite heirloom pumpkins and squashes include:
- Cinderella: Aptly named for its large, hard-to-miss appearance, this pumpkin is bright red-orange with a flattened top and deeply ribbed.
- Porcelain Doll Pink is pink and slightly square with deep ribs.
- Casper is a round, smooth, white pumpkin with only slight ribbing.
- Fairy Tale has the similar flattened shape as Cinderella, but is a deep green and turns buff orange as it ages.
- Blue Doll is slightly square with a pale blue-grey color and deep ribbing.
- Warty Goblin is round or oval with high “shoulders” and is bright orange with green bumps or “warts” randomly covering the skin.
Step 2: Prepare Succulent Cuttings
Gather a collection of succulent and/or sedum cuttings in a variety of textures and shapes that will complement one another. Take cuttings from annual succulents in outdoor pots since their season is coming to an end. Succulent types with many branches or small rosettes work well, whereas larger chunky pieces can be harder to work with.
You’ll want to have a good handful of succulent cuttings for small pumpkins and two handfuls for larger ones (more if you prefer a plump, full look). Divide succulents that have multiple stems into as many rosettes as the plant has and shake soil from the roots. Try to avoid using plants without any sort of sturdy stem.
Step 3: Prepare Your Pumpkin
Wipe down and dry the top of your pumpkin. Snip the stem so it is no longer than a half-inch OR leave the stem intact and work around it. Apply an even amount of spray adhesive to the top of your pumpkin and immediately apply a layer of moss. Be sure to place it accurately on the pumpkin—the adhesive dries fast! Moss serves as the planting medium for the succulents and plays an important role in holding moisture to keep them alive.
NOTE: Many people are surprised that these pumpkins are not actually cut open and planted into. Because of this, they have a much longer life span!
Step 4: Arrange Succulents on Pumpkin
Working from the center of your pumpkin, start laying out the succulent cuttings. Once you have your design, apply a small amount of craft glue to the stems and place them into the moss bed. If your cuttings are having a hard time staying put, try wiggling the stem into the moss as far as you can. Hold succulents in place for a few seconds to allow the glue to set.
Tip: Begin with larger rosettes towards the center of the arrangement and add trailing, longer cuttings around the edges. It’s best to get the bigger features set first and then tuck smaller pieces in between. Remember to allow at least one inch of stem to work with for each cutting.
Step 5: Top Off with Seasonal Accents
Use your favorite dried, decorative accents to further customize your pumpkin. Fill in between the succulents with your dried accent pieces and secure with craft glue. Place your finished arrangement in a dry spot overnight to make sure the glue sets well… and voilà! Your very own succulent pumpkin is complete!
How to Care for Your Succulent Pumpkin
Caring for succulent and sedum pumpkins is simple! Make sure your succulent pumpkin receives lots of light and spray the moss with water once a week. Feel free to let your arrangement take a vacation for the weekend to any spot in the house you’d like to adorn, but for longest lifespan keep the succulent pumpkin outdoors on a covered porch.
With proper care, these beautiful, festive pumpkins can last 6 to 8 weeks and serve as Halloween and Thanksgiving décor. And just like that, without ever actually cutting into a pumpkin, it will look like you have planted one full of sedums—MAGIC!