Looking for a fun and different alternative to the traditional Jack-O-Lantern? This week on the blog Candice demonstrates how to make your typical pumpkin into a fun and eye-catching pumpkin planter! With grass hair, succulent eyes and mouth, these planters are silly and allow for a lot of room for creativity. This tutorial allows your to "cheat" plant your Jack-O-Lantern without any soil, while leaving your plants within their plastic containers. As this isn't a long lasting planter, this is a great green option which allows you to easily reuse the plants.
1 medium sized pumpkin (you can also use a gourd to change it up)
1 sharp pairing knife or pumpkin carving knife
1 metal spoon or pumpkin scoop
1 One Gallon Grass ('Cool as Ice' Blue Fescue, 'Evergold' Carex, and 'Orange New Zealand Sedge' Carex are all fantastic options)
2 2" Echeveria or Succulent of your choice (for a small to medium sized pumpkin) or 2 4" Echeveria or Succulent of your choice (for large to x-large pumpkin)
1 2"- 4" trailing Sedum (Moss Stonecrop, Burros Tail, String of Pearls or String of Bananas are fun options)
3-5 floral pins or spool of floral wire
Glittery leaves or fall themed picks *optional
Choose what size pumpkin you would like to use for your project and feel free to size up or size down your plants accordingly. If you would like a smaller pumpkin, then feel free to choose a 4" or 6" grass for the hair as we have many options in those sizes! We also recommend choosing a pumpkin without a stem because it will make the next step easier. Next take you grass and place it over the top of the pumpkin stem, and with your pen or knife, gently score or outline the grass pot. This will give you a rough template to begin carving.
Using your sharp knife, while wearing gloves, cut out the grass pot shape. This will be a little smaller than the pot, but that is okay for now. As usual, scoop out the contents of the pumpkin with your metal spoon or pumpkin scoop. Be sure to compost the innards and/or bake the seeds for a healthy treat!
Next is the pumpkins "hair". Now try and place the grass, while still in its pot, into the opening you just created. If it is too tight, begin to cut away the opening little by little until the pot fits snugly into it. You want it to be fairly tight as pumpkins atrophy a little as they dry out and you don't want you grass to fall into the pumpkin. Once this is completed and your grass fits snugly into the opening, you are ready to move on to the eyes.
Candice recommends that you take your succulents out of their pots and use the pot opening as a means to trace the "eye" opening. Once you have decided where you want the eyes to be located, hold the pot where each eye should be and use your pen to outline the pot. Do both eyes (unless you want a cyclopes - then its up to you). Repeat the process for the mouth and nose (we chose not to give our Jack-O-Lantern a nose). We placed the mouth off-centre because we knew we wanted to create a smile using the foliage of the Sedum.
Again, wearing gloves to prevent slipping, use your sharp knife to cut out the eye, nose and mouth openings. Test the size of the openings with the pots. Continue to trim the pumpkins various sockets until the pots fit snugly in the holes.
This step is optional if you are not concerned about preserving your pumpkin for an extended length of time. Now that all of your pots fit within their various holes, take your Vaseline and rub a teaspoon of it over all of the raw pumpkin flesh and the outsides of the pots. This creates a moisture and oxygen barrier which preserves the pumpkin. If you are planning on watering your grass you have several options: one is to remove the grass prior to watering it to prevent water from accumulating inside the pumpkin (its what we recommend) and the second is to take a palm full of Vaseline and coat the entire inside of the pumpkin with it. Messy yes, but it will provide your pumpkin with more protection from the water than nothing and will help it last longer. Fortunately, all three grasses we recommended are very drought tolerant, so it is unlikely that you will need to water it too frequently as Halloween is just a week away. Thoroughly wash your hands or replace your gloves.
Now you may choose to use a trailing Sedum like we did here for a mouth or you could choose to use multiple Echeveria to create the mouth (and therefore carve multiple holes). Since we wanted a Sedum smile, we used floral wire to hold up the foliage into a smile. Simply pierce the floral wire into the pumpkin flesh and then loop the other end into the Sedum pot, essentially pinching the Sedum foliage in the loop. Candice also used this same technique to swoop the grass "bangs" of the pumpkin off to the side.
You are almost finished, just one more step. We used a fun an glittery set of leaf picks to give our Jack-O-Lantern a distinctly feminine look. We have a great selection of various fall themed picks, so you can create any look you like!
We have all the supplies you need to create one of these fun Jack-O-Lanterns, so come down to the store this weekend stock up! Our pumpkins are currently 20% off, and all 4" Echeveria are only $6.98.