A good friend and colleague of mine has a huge soft spot for vintage blue flower Corningware and has amassed quite a collection. In particular, she loves the coffee and teapots, and often gives them as gifts to friends and loved ones. When I found out that my colleague was planning to retire, I knew I wanted to give her a piece of her favourite Corningware…but with a twist. I decided that I’d hunt down one of the teapots and upcycle it into a succulent planter.
Succulents have become incredibly popular over the past few years, and I proudly count myself amongst the succulent set. What appeals to me most about these cute little plants is how low-maintenance they are. I have a notoriously brown thumb. The Big Guy takes great delight in informing people that I am so bad with plants that if I even so much as walk through a garden, the flowers shrivel and die. In truth, I’m just a very absent-minded gardener. I forget to water and never dead-head. You’re lucky if I even repot the plants I buy. Usually I leave them in their cramped, dry-soiled plastic cups and just plop them down in more attractive pots.
Succulents are the perfect fit for my lifestyle – they thrive on neglect. I bought a cactus (which can thrive in a similarly care-free environment) last summer and have actually managed to keep it alive and well, despite accidentally dumping it into the foot well of my car during our move this winter and not discovering it for three months.
I set about trying to find a blue flower teapot and was dismayed that, when I REALLY needed one, the usually prolific item was impossible to find. I tried countless thrift stores but with no luck. Finally, just as I was losing hope, Kijiji came to my rescue, offering a blue flower teapot in good condition (just missing the lid) for sale right around the corner from us. I picked it up, along with a selection of succulents from the nearby greenhouse. Since succulents and cacti don’t like having “wet fee” (roots), they usually require a special kind of potting soil that drains well. Unfortunately, because it’s still only March and main greenhouses are just opening and getting their summer stock, I wasn’t able to find a succulent potting soil. The lady at the garden centre told me I could use regular potting mix but just to make sure that I don’t over water, since regular soil is designed to retain water.
After thoroughly washing and drying the teapot, I filled the bottom with river rocks. Since there isn’t a hole in the bottom of the pot, the rocks will help with drainage.
I then filled the pot with potting soil. Succulents prefer to be planted above the rim of the pot, not down inside like most plants, so I filled it almost all the way to the top.
After digging a small hole in the centre of the pot with my finger, I gently pulled the largest succulent from its greenhouse pot and gingerly removed as much of the dirt as possible from its roots. I then placed it into the hole and covered the roots with soil.
I repeated the process with the other four plants. Succulents don’t mind being planted close together and by doing so you’ll actually slow their growth. This allows your arrangement to hold its shape longer.
Once I’d arranged the plants the way I wanted, I spritzed the soil with a little bit of water, cleaned the outside of the pot and added some lace and blue ribbons.
It really didn’t take long to transform this little teapot into a cute, vintage-inspired succulent holder and my co-worker really loved it. She said she’ll find the perfect spot for it in her house. My only stipulation was that she couldn’t dump out the plants to use the pot for tea!