Show of hands: who else works on gardening projects over the holiday weekend? I live in Michigan, so it’s usually the first (safe) chance I get for outdoor gardening. We’ll be fixing up the deck and working on the yard, and adding some fun ideas I’ve been collecting this winter. So, I thought that a little gardening project would be fun to share with you today, and whether you’re working in your yard or not, you should be able to find space for these lantern mini-gardens!
I love a great repurposing project, and this one is fun, fast, and easy! Repurposed metal lanterns make a fun addition to your decor, and you can even grow some plants inside them! Succulents are very resilient, they can grow in shallow soil, and they don’t need daily watering, making them a great choice for a little lantern garden. Or two. :)
I shared this project over at the Consumer Crafts blog, Crafts Unleashed, last month for Earth Day. Our lantern gardens are surviving and thriving after about 6 weeks, and the small ones have even sprouted new shoots! See, I tend to kill just about everything I try to plant, so I wanted a hearty plant that didn’t need daily care. I planted Hens and Chicks (the more common name for Sempervivum – the “live forever” plant) in these lanterns, and I’ll show you how to make your own lantern mini-garden today! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Lanterns (I used these black votive lanterns).
- Regular Mouth Mason Jar Ring.
- Potting Soil.
- Small Succulent Plants.
First, set up your work station outdoors, or cover your table with newspaper or plastic to keep it clean, because dirt is… well, dirty! I just laid out a plastic bag to keep things tidy in my kitchen.
Carefully remove the glass from your lantern. That will give your plant a little more space to grow, and make the whole planter less fragile. Gently bend the metal prongs that hold the glass in place with pliers, and remove the glass panels. You may want to wear protective gloves to be safe during this step.
Next, add a mason jar ring to the bottom of your lantern. You don’t need the lid itself, just the ring (and chances are, you already have one leftover from your last mason jar craft, right?) Succulents prefer to have good drainage, so a loose ring in the bottom of your lantern will allow the water to flow away from the roots, while holding the soil inside. Alternately, you could use any short base that fits your lantern, as long as it has drainage holes, but the 3″ regular mouth ring is a perfect fit in the bottom of my 3″ square lantern.
Fill the lid loosely with soil, and plant your succulent plant. Be sure to cover the roots with soil. If some soil spills into the lantern, that’s okay! But you want the majority of it to be inside the ring, for your plants.
Use big or small plants – whatever you like! I filled my lanterns with both sizes. You can also mix and match if you have space. I am going to be honest here and admit that I didn’t leave my plants much room to grow. Chances are, they will need to be transplanted, or at least have the shoots (the “chicks”) removed and put in a separate container garden later on this season. But for this spring and summer, they do make for beautiful decor in small spaces.
You can put your mini lantern gardens on a sunny window sill, on a mantel, or hang them from hooks in your garden! Just be sure to water them every few days if you’re keeping them indoors – the soil should be damp, but not soaked – and they love sunshine.
I’m hoping to put another project together to share with you before the weekend arrives, but the to-do list is long… and the weather is gorgeous. I may just see you next week. ;) Thanks for joining me today, and I hope you have a great holiday weekend!