A Recipe For Success: Create An Elegant Succulent Pumpkin Planter

With Thanksgiving behind us, you might be wondering what to do with all of your lovely pumpkins and gourds that you used for decorations. Last year Candace and I showed you how to create a fun and cheerful Jack-O-Lantern planter filled with grasses and succulents.

This year I wanted to show you guys how to create an easy and chic pumpkin planter using specialty pumpkins 'Speckled Hound' and 'Rouge Vif d’Etampes' and a variety of succulents (both hardy and non-hardy).


What are specialty pumpkins? Well, the best explanation can actually be found in our previous blog post by Mike Lascelle 'All Things Pumpkin'. But for simplicity, I just refer to all pumpkins which are not your typical Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin variety 'Howden' as specialty pumpkins. If you are interested in seeing the huge variety of pumpkins and gourds available, I highly recommend that you read Mike's post.

Succulents make for a great plant for pumpkins because they can tolerate drought conditions. This important when planting into a decomposable vessel like a pumpkin. Typically, once you water your plants in a pumpkin, it will begin rotting within a few days. So succulents are perfect because they won't need to be watered frequently or at all depending on how long you keep your planter.


For the tutorial today we are focusing on planting the 'Rouge Vif d’Etampes' variety which has brilliant red skin and a flat sort of shape. We will be planting it up with only 3 plants Hens & Chicks 'Henrys Black', Sedum pachyphyllum 'Salsa', and our homegrown Sedum 'Fine Gold'. We have an amazing selection of succulents and cactus in store, so if you would like to go for a different colour scheme or look, feel free to change up the ingredients and flex your creative muscles!


Ingredients:

  • 1 4" pot Sedum 'Fine Gold' (indoor plant)

  • 1 4" pot Hens & Chicks 'Henrys Black' (hardy outdoor plant)

  • 1 2" pot Sedum pachyphyllum 'Salsa' (indoor plant)

  • ProMix Cactus Soil

  • 1 'Rouge Vif d’Etampes' or specialty pumpkin of your choice.

  • Gloves

  • Pumpkin carving tools

Specialty Pumpkins 'Speckled Hound' (front) and 'Rouge Vif d’Etampes (back), Sedum pachyphyllum 'Salsa', Sedum 'Fine Gold', 'Hens & Chicks 'Henrys Black'


Step 1:


The first step is to carve and empty your pumpkin. The skins of the 'Rouge Vif d’Etampes' and other specialty varieties are very thick and therefore you will need a sturdy knife and I recommend you wear gloves to have a good grip on your gourd.

Remove the top of your pumpkin and scoop out the innards of your pumpkin and discard it. The inside of your pumpkin does not need to be a work of art, just be sure to get the stringy and goopy stuff out.


Step 2:


The second step is to take a few handfuls of your cactus soil and fill your pumpkin about a quarter of the way full. I lightly moistened my cactus soil to avoid having to water my plants later on. Depending on the depth of your pumpkin, you may want more or less soil. What is important that the plants can spill over the edge of the pumpkin without exposing the soil.


Step 3:


Your Hens & Chicks plant will likely come with a "Hen" surrounded by her "Chicks" meaning smaller rosettes around a large rosette. We call these Pups. Take your plant out of its pot by squeezing the plastic pot and have a look at the root system. There will be pups that can be removed from the main plant easily by teasing the roots apart with your fingers. You can pull them off with your hands or if you have trouble you can snip the connecting roots using clean scissors or secateurs. Your goal is to isolate 2 clumps of pups from the main plant, therefore, having 3 separate groups of plants. Don't worry if you find yourself with a pup with only a single root without soil. These plants are so sturdy that pups will grow with just that tiny little bit of root no problem.



Plant the largest of the group into your pumpkin off to one side so its fleshy leaves hang over the edge of the pumpkin. Reserve the other two smaller clumps of pups for more planting.



Step 4:


Like with the Hens & Chicks, the Sedum 'Fine Gold' can and needs to be divided if your pumpkin is too small to accommodate the whole plant. This was the case with my pumpkin but fortunately, these plants are extremely hardy and can easily be divided. Like with the Hens & Chicks, simply unpot your plant and with your fingers gently pull away a section until you have a section that will fit in your pumpkin. The roots will come apart ore readily than the tangled leaves, so just gently tease the top apart. Reserve the extra pant for a second pumpkin planter like I did.