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How to Make A Jellyfish Succulent – The Complete Guide

How to Make A Jellyfish Succulent – The Complete Guide

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You must have seen the photos of Jellyfish Succulents on Instagram, thinking:  Where can I get one of those? How so I have not heard about this type of succulent?

Must be a new hybrid, I better check with my favorite garden center. 

You probably found out soon enough that “Jellyfish Succulent” is not a new succulent hybrid but a clever and imaginative plant arrangement.

It is all the rage for this spring and gardeners and homeowners are competing who will make the most spectacular “Jellyfish Succulent” for their next garden party.

 

Contents

 

What you need to know about Jellyfish Succulents

Anyone who can read readily available instructions can make a fairly decent “Jellyfish Succulent’. All it takes is one trip to the garden center and some imagination.

But, there is much more to it than just sticking different succulents in the hanging basket.

“Jellyfish Succulent” requires a fine mix of gardening skills and artistic talent. Without the first, you will have a short-lived arrangement for your next party that will go to the compost heap soon.

True gardeners would never treat their succulents like that. Hence, there is a need for knowledge of how to care for succulents. 

Another requirement, artistic talent, is a bit vaguer, since beauty is, as they say, in the eye of the beholder.

Nevertheless, a sense of harmony, what colors to mix and how to combine succulents of different texture, color, size, and shape makes a difference between the stunning “Jellyfish Succulent” and, well, a hanging basket that has a slight resemblance to the jellyfish.

 

Plan ahead

Like any other art project, it is a good idea to make a plan on paper or the computer before playing with live plants.

Once you decide how you want your ‘jellyfish’ to look like, decide on the colors and shapes. Look at the photos of succulents or at your own collection to decide which shapes and colors go well together. 

Make a mosaic of photos on the computer by placing them together to see if the combinations work well. If you are artistic, make a painting or drawing of your future jellyfish before purchasing the live plants.

If you are not the planning type, spend some time at the garden center placing succulents you like together to see how they look like. It might take a while to choose among all the beautiful succulents, so bring a sandwich and a drink.

 

Materials

As you could see from the photos available all over the house and garden magazines, the main frame for the “Jellyfish Succulent” is a hanging basket.

You can turn it upside down, so it looks like a jellyfish, with the risk of the whole mess falling out if you do not fasten it well. You can also hang it as it is meant to be and form the shape of the jellyfish with the clever placement of the succulents of different sizes.

Besides a hanging basket, you need the soil. While you need to line the basket with the sphagnum moss to hide the soil and have something to stick plants in, the soil should be the real soil you use for succulents: light, with little organic matter, full of coarse bark, sand, and perlite.

You also need some thin wire to keep the whole arrangement together.

 

Plants

There are two kinds of succulents you need:  the trailing kind and the attractive, flower-looking, or flowering kind. All of them should have the same needs for water and light.

It is also important that they are all or winter growers or summer growers. Plants that are actively growing need more water and need fertilizing at the beginning of their growth cycle.

If the succulents you choose have different needs, you will have a problem.

Here is the small sampling of the most popular trailing succulents:

 

Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)

Burro’s Tail or Donkey’s Tail is easy to propagate and maintain. The lush green foliage of this interesting succulent grows to two to three feet long. In summer, it produces lovely red and pink flowers. Do not overwater! Make sure it gets plenty of full sun and bright light.

 

Trailing Jade (Kleinia petraea, Senecio jacobsenii)

This lovely succulent is also known as Weeping Jade and Vining Jade. There is also a variegated cultivar. It has teardrop-shaped jade-colored leaves that grow on the thick stem.

In winter, leaves get a light purple blush. This succulent needs very little water but requires full sun to thrive.

 

Ruby Necklace (Othonna capensis)

This succulent has long, narrow purple leaves that look like beans, growing off a purple thick stem. The plant produces pretty daisy-like flowers that open in full sun.

Ruby Necklace is easy to propagate, requires very little water, and the location with full sun.

 

String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)

The leaves of this unusual succulent are bright green and pea-like, looking like a fine green necklace.  This succulent enjoys partial sunlight, so keep it away from the afternoon sun. It is easy to grow, drought-tolerant, and easy to propagate.

 

String of Nickels (Dischidia nummularia)

The leaves of this plant are completely round and flat, truly looking like coins on a string.  Like most succulents, this interesting plant is easy to grow and requires very little water and care.

 

Rat Tail Cactus (Aporocactus flagelliformis)

The thick long stems of this cactus are covered with tiny needle-like spines. They can grow up to a meter in length. This plant produces showy large flowers with pink petals. It is easy to grow and requires very little water.

 

Monkey’s Tail (Hildewintera colademononis)

This very weird succulent from Bolivia has long stems that grow to eight feet. They are covered with white, fine, soft spines that completely cover the stem and really look like fur.

To make things even more incredible, this plant produces large bright red and magenta flowers.

 

Fishbone Cactus (Selenicereus anthonyanus)

Fishbone cactus is also called Orchid cactus or  Zig-Zag cactus because of the shape of its leaves. It has long zig-zag leaves that start growing upright but trail as they grow longer.

This plant prefers medium light and very little water. It produces nocturnal flowers if the growing conditions are great.

 

Succulents to use as the body of your “Jellyfish”

Again, there are so many wonderful succulents in all shapes, sizes, and forms, it is very much up to you which ones, or twos or threes, you want to use for the body of your ‘Jellyfish”. Here are a few ideas:

 

Echeverias

Almost all echeverias are suitable for the “Jellyfish Succulent” because of their lovely flowerlike shaped leaves.  They are easy to grow, they need very little water but they need full sun at least six hours a day.

They come in so many shades, from pale green to grey, purple and blue. 

 

Aeonium (Aeonium sp.)

Aeoniums (there are 35 species) look a bit like echeverias, but their leaves are thinner and the little rosettes grow on longer stems.

They are very beautiful and come in a range of colors: green in all shades, burgundy or green with touches of gold. Like most succulents, aeonium needs full sun, little water, and free-draining soil. They are very easy to propagate, just cut the stem and stick it in the soil.

 

Graptopetalum (a genus with 19 species)

Similar to echeverias, gratopetalum is a genus of succulents with 19 species with lovely heart-shaped leaves that grow in dense rosettes.

Their waxy leaves come in green, silver-grey, or pink and grow on long stems, which makes them very convenient for making a  “jellyfish succulent” arrangement.   They need plenty of sun, free-draining soil, and little water.

 

Adromischus (a genus with 30 species)

This very interesting succulent has fleshy leaves with interesting spots in all colors. They grow on long stems and produce small flowers towards the end of their life.

They are easy to grow if you provide enough bright light, very little water, and free-draining soil.

 

Making your “jellyfish succulent”

Once you gathered your materials and plants, it is time to work on your piece of green art.

 

Easy method

The easiest way to go about it is to hang your hanging basket, line it with sphagnum moss or coco fiber, fill it with soil and start sticking plants into it. You will have to create the ‘body’ of the jellyfish by the clever planting of succulents of different sizes to make a semi-globe.

 

Upside down

Another way, the one most photos on the internet show, is to do the same, but then place your hanging basket upside down so you have the half-globe already in place.

If you choose this method, make sure you keep the soil and plants in place by placing a piece of garden cloth on top of the soil and firmly fastening it to the basket with a thin wire. 

Keep in mind that the whole arrangement will get heavier once all plants are in place and the soil is moist.

 

Placing succulents

Now comes the fun part – sticking your succulents into the soil in such a way that, together, they look beautiful and resemble the jellyfish.

If you want or need instant results for the next party, use mature plants and enough of them so that, when you are done, the entire hanging basket is covered in plants. Just take your succulent by the roots and stick it into the moss until the roots reach the soil.

Stick trailing succulent from the low center of the hanging basket so that they hang freely. These will be your jellyfish tentacles. You can combine more than one species.

For the ‘body’ of your jellyfish, use mature succulents with developed roots and stick each into the moss until they are embedded in the soil. 

You can use only one species and color or combine species of different shapes, sizes, and colors.  Keep sticking them into the moss until the entire surface of the basket is covered.

 

Money-saver

If you are not in a hurry, you can use cuttings instead of mature plants and stick them into the moss. It is much easier without roots and they will eventually grow them into their place if you provide good conditions. Succulents are so easy! 

This option is much cheaper since you can use cuttings from the succulents in your collection. You are probably not willing to risk your succulent collection for this project.

That means a trip to the garden center where you would have to spend quite a lot of money to buy enough of them to cover the entire hanging basket and achieve the result you want.

 

Caring for your “jellyfish succulent”

Once your ‘jellyfish’ looks the way you want, water it thoroughly and let it drip until the excess water leaves the soil. Place your hanging basket in the full sun on the porch, balcony, or deck. 

 

Light

If you want to place it indoors, you will need to get a grow light or a fluorescent lamp. Provide your ‘jellyfish’ with at least six hours of light and warm temperature. Make sure it is not exposed to the draft or direct air from the air-conditioner or heater.

 

Fertilizer

Do not fertilize your basket at this time or you might burn the roots. Fertilize at the beginning of your succulents’ growth cycle, or in the spring or in the fall, depending on whether they are winter or summer growers. 

Use diluted balanced liquid fertilizer. Water your ‘jellyfish’ before fertilizing so that the roots do not burn. Try to water the soil and not the little rosettes. If the water accumulates in their heart, the leaves might rot.

 

Watering 

Keep checking the soil occasionally and if it is completely dry, water it again. The higher the temperature is, the more often your plants will need water.

Keep in mind that it is made of succulents and they prefer to be dry for a while than to have their roots sit in the wet soil.

 

Protecting from bugs

If all the plants you chose were healthy and free of pests live and dormant and your ‘jellyfish’ is away from other plants, there is little likelihood that the pests will become a problem. In any case, be vigilant.  

Check your plants carefully now and then, especially on the underside of leaves.  You do not want an infestation or you will lose your ‘jellyfish’.

If you spot a few bugs, remove them with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol or spray the whole ‘jellyfish’ with neem oil, just in case.

 

Replacing dead plants

Inevitably, one or more of your succulents will not survive. If it is only one or two, pull them out of the basket and replace them with new ones.

If it is more than a few, you are probably overwatering your ‘jellyfish’ and your entire green artwork is in danger. 

There is no easy way out of this predicament. You have to dismantle your ‘jellyfish’ and change the soil with the well-draining one and replace the plants with rotting roots with the new ones.

 

Changing the soil

If you did a good job, your ‘Jellyfish Succulent” will last for years and you will be able to enjoy it as it changes, blooms, and grows. But, at some point, the soil will get depleted of nutrients and the whole basked will have more roots than the soil. You will have to replace the soil with the fresh mix.

There is no way around this: you will have to take off the ‘top’ of your hanging basket so you can reach the soil. If you do it carefully without disturbing the plants’ roots too much, you might be able to get to the soil and replace it without removing and/or damaging each little plant.

Replace the soil with a fresh succulent mix that is free-draining. Shake the roots of your plants of the old soil. Better do not wash them or the wet roots might rot. If some roots are too long, feel free to trim them with clean, sterile garden cutters.

If you have to take away the plants that form your ‘jellyfish’ to replace the soil, do it carefully when the soil is dry. Once you change the soil, stick your succulents back into their place. You might have to replace some plants with bad or rotting roots. 

This is also the opportunity to make some design changes. You might have some new succulents you think would look lovely as part of the ‘jellyfish’ or just need a bit of a change. Go for it!

 

Some design ideas

Using the hanging basket is not the only way to make a ‘Jellyfish Succulent.” You can use any pretty basket or even a colander and glue seashells all over it until it is completely covered. You can also use pebbles, tree bark, pretty wrapping paper in marine colors…

Turn it upside down, fill it with soil, cover the whole thing with a gardening cloth tied well and stick some trailing succulents in the middle of its bottom.

Turn the right way up and hang from the trellis or porch ceiling. It will look even more ‘seaside’ than a regular hanging basket. 

 

Make it blue!

Making a monochrome ‘Jellyfish Succulent’ can produce a very elegant result. Make it all blue! There are several magnificent blue echeverias such as “Blue Bird” and “Blue Prince. You can use Stonecrop ‘Blue Spruce’ for the tentacles. 

There are succulents in all colors. Use your imagination, or use the color that complements your home or the garden.

 

Make it blooming!

With a bit of careful choosing, you can make a ‘Jellyfish Succulent’ that will bloom in a riot of colors.

For example, you can use Sempervivum arachnoideum ‘Emily’ for the body – it makes magnificent large pink flowers, and Aporocactus flagelliformis or Rat Tail Cactus for the tentacles (it also produces large pink flowers), and you will have a real show-stopper.

 

“Jellyfish Succulent” as a wedding bouquet? Why not?

One possible idea is to make a “Jellyfish Succulent” into a wedding bouquet. You can use silvery-grey or pink succulents or those that bloom bright flowers to make stunning arrangements.

 The only difference between the “Jellyfish Succulent” in the hanging basket and that meant to serve as a wedding bouquet is the size. Since you have to make it small enough to be carried by the bride, choose small succulents and omit soil.

 Just stick the plants in a ball of wet sphagnum moss. If the bride cares for her bouquet, she or someone close to her can make the change after the wedding and add the soil.

 

Add the light!

The out-of-this-world beauty of the well-made “Jellyfish Succulent” makes it perfect for décor for a nighttime party.

Hanging a few of them along the path in the garden, or at the entrance to the house would create a memorable impression on the guest. 

One way to make your “Jellyfish” visible at night is to light them! You need to use halogen or some other light that does not produce heat.

Hang the bulbs to the bottom of the” Jellyfish”, maybe in the middle of the “tentacles” and you will create a true  “Jellyfish”.

 

Place your “Jellyfish” in the middle of the table

If you place your “Jellyfish succulent” on top of a tall vase, pedestal, or planter instead of hanging it, you can place it anywhere in the house or in the garden where you need a beautiful centerpiece. Try to match the vase with the colors of the succulents.

 

Tips for creating and maintaining your “Jellyfish Succulent’

  1. Make sure you use well-draining soil.
  2. Never overwater succulents or their roots will rot  and you will lose your ‘jellyfish’
  3. If you have to keep your ‘jellyfish’ indoors, provide grow light for at least six hours a day.
  4. Use succulents that have the same needs – the amount of light and water.
  5. Plan your plant combination on paper before purchasing plants.

 

Frequently asked questions about making a ‘Jellyfish Succulent’ and their care

 

Is the “Jellyfish Succulent” a type of succulent?

Jellyfish Succulent is an arrangement of different types of succulents in the shape that resembles a jellyfish: rounded top, usually filled with succulents with fleshy, flower-shaped rosettes of leaves, and trailing succulents that form the tentacles. You can use any type of succulent you like, in the shape, size, or color you enjoy.

 

Can you combine succulents with other plants for a “Jellyfish Succulent?”

Succulents are the kind of plants with very specific needs. They need very little water and plenty of full sun. They need nutrient-poor soil that drains very well. Any other plant you combine with your succulents that needs more watering and less sun will suffer from neglect. It is better to use only succulents since most of them have pretty much the same needs. 

Of course, you can do practically any combination of plants if your goal is to create an attractive décor for a special occasion and to not care how long will your “Jellyfish Succulent” last.

 

Why are the pieces of my “Jellyfish Succulent” dying?

Your “Jellyfish Succulent” consists of many plants living together. If some of them were not too healthy to begin with, they will probably die soon.  

Succulents need very little water. If you overwater your “Jellyfish”, some plants that are more prone to root rot will die.

When making your “Jellyfish”, you have to make sure that each plant reaches the soil through the sphagnum moss, so it can get water and nutrients. If it does not reach the soil, it will die.

 

How often should I water my “Jellyfish Succulent’?

Succulents that comprise your “Jellyfish Succulent”  need very little water. It is best to let the soil get dry before watering it again. In the summer, it will happen faster so you will need to water more often. In winter, when most succulents are dormant, they need very little water.

 

Does my “Jellyfish” need fertilizer?

When you make your “Jellyfish”, you use fresh soil that is full of nutrients, so there is no need for fertilizing. Before the next growing season, usually in spring, give your “Jellyfish” a dose of diluted balanced liquid fertilizer. It will give it a boost to start growing.

 

Where should I place my “Jellyfish Succulent”?

Keep in mind that succulents need plenty of sun and a warm temperature. In the summer, you can hang your “Jellyfish” in the sunny spot on the porch, balcony, or deck. If you are keeping it indoors, you will have to provide additional light with a grow light or a fluorescent lamp.

If your succulents do not get enough light, their colors are going to start fading and they will stop growing and looking vibrant.

Of course, you can bring your “Jellyfish” indoors for a short time for a party or a special occasion.

 

How can I water my “Jellyfish” when I cannot see any soil?

 It is very important that you water your “Jellyfish” between the plants, into the moss that keeps it all together. If you water the little plant rosettes and the water accumulates in their center, the leaves might rot. Be gentle so you do not dislodge the plants. Make sure you water your “Jellyfish” thoroughly and let the excess water drain before placing it back in its regular place.

 

My “Jellyfish Succulent” is dead. What did I do wrong?

It is very frustrating and discouraging if you spent days making your lovely “Jellyfish” only to see it die in a week or two.  One of the main reasons is too much water. If you use regular potting soil, it retains too much water, and the succulents’ roots cannot get aerated and will rot. 

If you use a coarse soil mix with plenty of sand, bark, and perlite, water will drain fast and it will be almost impossible for you to overwater your “Jellyfish”. Just do not water it often, wait until the soil is completely dry.


 

Conclusion

Making a “Jellyfish Succulent” is probably even more satisfying than owning one, especially for passionate gardeners who are totally crazy about succulent.

Combining shapes, sizes, and colors is great fun, but it is even more fun watching your creation grow, bloom and change with seasons. 

There is a big difference between “Jellyfish Succulent” made for a party,  made by someone who does not plan to maintain the plants and those made by gardeners, who care for each plant involved.

It is not easy making a really beautiful, healthy, and lush “Jellyfish Succulent”. 

Once you make it, it is worthwhile learning how to care for it and how to treat it. If you give it what it needs, it will reward you with years of the lush, incredibly beautiful piece of living art.

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