How to Easily Create a Living Centerpiece
The beauty of a living centerpiece is that you have fresh flowers/plants that with a little tending will last a very long time. Cut flowers are fabulous, but have a short lifespan and can get expensive. I like to have them in the rotation, but for the most part, I use them for smaller arrangements, unless it's a special occasion. The above arrangement was created by Ellenburg's Nursery. It is absolutely gorgeous! A spectacular first impression in the entry hall of this beautiful home.
Notice the attention to detail. I love how they tied the orchids with green organza ribbon. I usually use some kind of raffia, but will definitely try this technique in the future.
The following arrangements are examples of living centerpieces that I am constantly refreshing and relocating around my house.
Anyone can do this I promise, but if you want a little help getting started don't be afraid to take a favorite container to your local nursery. They are usually glad to help and are full of knowledge. You can pot some of your plants (not the orchids) and they will live longer, but will be messy to switch out. Let me walk you through the easiest way to create an arrangement that with a little attention and some refreshing will last for a long time.
Select A Container and Plastic Liner
I am using this large cream ceramic bowl that I have had for years and purchased a plastic liner large enough to "raise" the bottom of the bowl several inches. Using a liner serves two purposes. One, if your container isn't able to hold water than it will catch the water, thus protecting your table or whatever surface the arrangement sits on and two, it creates a false bottom in the container making it shallow enough so the plants don't have to be actually planted...
Gather Your Plants
I almost always start with orchids. I usually pick them up at the grocery or a box store. Today, my Kroger had them on sale for $9.99 which is crazy cheap. I purchased four. They give the arrangement height. I usually use white because they are so versatile. Next, I went to Walmart and bought a variety of small ferns, ivy and a couple of other pink pretties that were in the indoor, house plant section of the green house. In total, I bought 11 small pots. I know it seems like a lot, but this is a fairly large container.
Put It Together
Place the plastic liner in the bowl.
Now place your plants. Start with the orchids. They are the stars of the show! Leave them in their original plastic containers. Tinker with them til you are pleased with the direction of everything (leaves and flowers). Take into consideration whether or not the arrangement will be seen on all sides.
Begin filling in with your other plants. Leave them in their original containers as well. This makes it easy to control the amount of water each plant receives. Remember, this is a snappy and easy arrangement! Keep cramming until you can't fit one more pot in...the plants should be so tight they almost support one another.
You will have some open space or some plastic showing (as seen above) that you will want to cover.
Moss is your secret weapon, the icing on the cake. It makes your arrangement look finished and polished. There are several kinds of moss available. I recommend a preserved variety like Super Moss that can be used again and again. You can order it on Amazon or pick it up at your local craft store.
My finished product.
Now all you have to do is take care of it...
It does need to be in a spot where is gets some natural light. Because the plants are in separate containers it's fairly easy to water. How much water needed depends a bit on your environment. Less is more when it comes to watering. The orchids only need to be watered every 10 days to 2 weeks. You can remove them and gently run water through them in your sink. I am usually too lazy to do this. I just give them a little drink and move on. The other plants get watered at least once per week. The ferns like a fairly moist soil. If you really want to extend the life of the arrangement feeding your plants a little extra treat can be helpful. I like Miracle-Gro Pour and Feed for everything in the container except the orchids because it is so easy. I use Miracle-Gro Orchid Food for the orchids. Just follow the directions provided on the packages.
The best part about keeping plants in their original containers is that they can easily be replaced when needed. This is nice as you are figuring out how to care for different varieties in your environment.
What It Cost
So obviously, this will vary based on where you shop and where you live. This is a breakdown of what I spent.
Container: had it for years
Orchids: 39.96 plus tax
Extra plants: 34.14 plus tax
Moss and Food I keep on hand.
So for this arrangement today w/o tax I came in under $80. Not bad for a substantial arrangement, considering I will have it in my house for quite a while. Give it a try, good luck and please share pictures with me!