two succulent Christmas ornaments on pine

How to Make a Living Succulent Christmas Tree Ornament

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Christmas is one of my favorite seasons of the year. It’s one of the bright spots during the harsh winters in the northern USA.

Growing up, I’ve had a Christmas tree in my home every year for as long as I can remember. And many years as a child, our ornaments were homemade. We had so much fun decorating bulbs and creating paper chains for our tree.

As an adult, I’ve chosen more of a modern approach to decorating for Christmas. Most years we have blue and silver decorations with white lights. But I miss the homemade ornaments that made our childhood decorations so personal!

This year, I want to create some living succulent Christmas ornaments for our tree. I have so many baby succulents with fresh roots that can easily survive the holiday season in tiny glass or plastic bulbs.

If you’re looking for a unique, festive way to decorate your Christmas tree this year, this DIY succulent Christmas tree ornament tutorial is for you. It’s so easy, and you can take creative liberties to make these reflect your artistic style!

Supplies Needed to Make a Succulent Christmas Ornament:

Supples for succulent ornaments

Note: these teardrop glass terrariums or geometric glass terrariums are gorgeous.

Optional Supplies to Create Different Themed Ornaments

You can quickly transition from Christmas tree ornaments to Valentine’s Day gifts to wedding favors to beach decor by switching out colors and accessories. Here are some extra supplies that will make it easy and flawless.

  • Christmas-themed: green or red-toned succulents, mini pine cones, pine needles, berries, tinsel, ribbon
  • New Year’s-themed: succulents, clear marbles or water gel beads, gold or silver tinsel, 2023 confetti
  • Winter-themed: succulents with icier blue/green colors, white rocks, snow dust or cotton balls for snow, blue faux gems, pine cones
  • Valentine’s Day-themed: succulents with purple or pink tones, candy hearts, white rocks, wrapped chocolate kisses
  • Wedding-themed: succulents that match your wedding color scheme, decorative moss, white tulle, wrapped chocolate kisses, clear gems, decorative stones
  • Ocean-themed: white or blueish succulents, sand, small seashells, white pebbles, water gel beads, small, faux driftwood pieces, aqua faux gems
Beach themed succulent ornament

Steps to Make Succulent Christmas Tree Ornaments

Using live succulents, open glass bulbs, decorative moss, and gorgeous accessories, you can create beautiful, one-of-a-kind ornaments that will last long after the holidays are over. Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to make these stunning succulent Christmas decorations.

Step 1: Prepare the Bulbs

succulent ornament with moss

You can use either glass or plastic bulbs for your tiny terrarium Christmas tree ornaments. I think glass ones are beautiful, but with kids and cats, I’m going to go with plastic ones this year.

Start by cutting a small piece of decorative moss and place it to the inside of the open bulb. This will be the base of your ornament.

Related: DIY Succulent Christmas Tree

Step 2: Choose Your Succulents

green succulents

Now it’s time to pick out the succulents you want to use in your ornament. If you’re using plastic bulbs, make sure to choose small succulents that will fit comfortably inside.

If you are using large bulbs, you can use a mix of different succulents in each one. This gives the ornament a more interesting look. But if the terrariums are tiny, you may only fit one or two.

Test out a couple of arrangements until you’re comfortable with the spacing, and then choose your succulents based on the number of ornaments you wish to create.

Step 3: Prepare Your Succulents

hand holding succulent in preparation

If you are using mature succulents, then you’ll need to prepare them for the tiny spaces you’re creating. Take a succulent and carefully remove it from its pot. Using scissors, trim off any excess roots so that the plant will fit snugly inside the glass bulb.

Another option is to behead your succulents or take tiny clippings from them to make them small enough to fit. You can also buy succulent cuttings specifically for this project.

Related: DIY Succulent Wreath

Step 4: Decorate Your Ornament

Adding succulents to an ornament

This is the step where you can exercise the most creative liberty to create an ornament that matches your home decor and style. Add tiny accessories like white rocks or sand, berries, pine cones, and ribbon. Then position your succulents as desired.

Keep in mind that ornaments will be heavy if you use rocks and sand. The moss ornaments are much lighter. Decorate your ornament based on where you and how you plan to display it (ie on a table or hanging on the tree).

Adding accessories is a great way to pull in some extra colors, or you can give it a modern look with some bright white stones.

Step 4: Secure Your Succulents and Accessories (Optional)

Completed succulent ornament

With a single drop of hot glue, secure the succulent and accessories to the moss. The glue will not kill your plant but expect it to leave a booboo right where the glue touches. Make sure the plant is securely attached in case it gets jostled around a bit while hanging on the tree.

I didn’t use a hot glue gun for my ornaments, nor do I feel like I needed to either. It would be time consuming and difficult to glue each item in place, but there may be times this is necessary to do (ie families with littles, curious cats, or for more permanent decorations to give away or sell).

To insert items with glue, you will need plenty of patience, a pair of tweezers, and a steady hand. Place a tiny dot of glue on each item and allow it to briefly cool before it drips all over your ornament. Press the item gently in place until the glue cools completely.

An alternative to using hot glue would be to hang your succulent ornaments on higher branches or using strings or ribbons in your windows. They’re even cute just as a display piece on a decorative shelf, counter centerpiece, or windowsill.

Step 6: Display Your Ornament!

succulent ornament displayed on pine

Display your ornament on your Christmas tree, on a window sill, or on a table, and enjoy. If you hang it on the tree, I would recommend finding a strong branch or it will easily weigh it down over time. If you’re using a faux tree, it’s helpful to bend the branch around the hook for extra support.

These delicate ornaments are sure to impress your holiday guests. You can even use them as gifts for family, friends, or coworkers.

How to Care for Living Succulent Christmas Ornaments

beautiful succulent ornament

Your succulents won’t need much attention from you during their time as part of DIY ornaments. With just a few check-ins during the holidays, your tiny plants will happily thrive.

Water

The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure your succulents are getting enough water. These plants are used to living in dry conditions, so they won’t need much—just a light misting every few days should do the trick.

Light

Another important factor for succulents is bright light. If possible, place your Christmas tree near a sunny window where they can get plenty of light. If this isn’t possible, artificial grow lights will work just fine. Set up lights to shine on your tree for a few hours a day to keep your plants healthy. I use this grow light and love how easy it is to maneuver the light extensions!

Temperature

Finally, succulents like it on the warmer side, so make sure your ornaments are not in a drafty spot. A cool room is fine, but a cold windowsill is not ideal.

Dissasemble and Replant

When the holidays are over, you can take your ornament apart and replant the succulent in a pot. Simply remove the plant from the glass bulb, trim off any dried-out roots, and plant it in well-draining soil. Water as needed, and soon you’ll have a healthy succulent plant once again.

Related: DIY Succulent Garland

Enjoy Your Succulents All Season Long

There are very few things that make me happier than Christmas and succulents. Combining these two things into the perfect terrarium ornaments is such a fun idea.

With just a few supplies and a bit of time, you can create stunning succulent Christmas tree ornaments that are sure to impress your friends and family.

Your succulent Christmas tree ornaments can last long after the holidays are over with the right care. So get creative and have fun with this unique way to decorate your home!

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