Decor · DIY At Home · Uncategorized · Up-Cycling

DIY Bookcase Succulents



Happy Monday, DIY-ers! Hopefully you were able to get out an enjoy one of the last weekends before summer officially becomes Fall. It was beautiful here in Greater Vancouver –the perfect balance of sunshine and brisk autumny breeze. I’ve never been a big “hot weather” person, but I can definitely enjoy a good dose of sunshine when its delivered on a cooler day. It was a pretty busy weekend here at the Urbanista household, so I took my sunshine when I could get it – happily letting it touch my face as I ran from car to shop while running errands!

Having a bit of downtime now after the busy weekend, I thought I’d deliver on a promise made on my last blog post about styling your bookcase: a mini tutorial for those cute succulents shading the sleeping elephant figurine who decorates my favourite shelf on the book case.


Before I start, I will let you know – I am probably the last person anyone would describe as having a “green thumb”. This is not for lack of a gardening role model – my mom is an avid gardener, and tried her very best to pass the skills onto her daughters. I remember receiving the cutest teeny-tiny gardner’s gloves as a gift, no doubt given to me in the hopes it might inspire me to try to grow something. Alas, they definitely got exposure to the soil – although I was encouraged to grow something in the soil, all I was interested in was pulling that soil out of the garden, mixing in a bit of water, and baking mudpies in the hot sun for my babydolls. I guess the whole “love to bake” thing goes pretty far back.

Bring time forward to the current day, and not much has changed. Most house plants I’ve ever had started out well enough, but after a few weeks, they always seem to wilt, lose their blooms, or just straight up die. As my boyfriend will tell you, I can take even the healthiest, “easy to care for” plant under my wing, and it will very quickly start to resemble a sad, droopy Charlie Brown Christmas tree. The gardening ability is just not there, and I’ve pretty much accepted it.


BUT! I can grow succulents! These little hardy gem-like plants seem to be one of the only categories of plants that can withstand my botanically-challenged nature. Just a little water every once in awhile and we’re all happy campers! My succulents even occasionally need to have a duster run over them – because they just last so dang long that they start collecting dust!



They’re easy to care for, but also easy on the eyes (take a look at our favourite succulent posts on our “Succulent Inspirations” Pinterest board). Bulbous, juicy leaves, striking patterns and colours, smooth or prickly textures… there are so many types of succulents, and they look great both standing alone or grouped in a terrarium.





As I mentioned, I recently posted about my experience curating the bookcase in the apartment where my boyfriend and I live, in an attempt to create a “Personality Centrepiece” for my living room. As I had described in that post, while I was thinking of ways to incorporate our personalities into the décor of the bookcase, I wanted to bring a little bit of the outdoors inside.




Because the bookcase wouldn’t be getting direct sunlight, and also because of
my lack of a green thumb, I settled on getting a Snake Plant and a type of Echevaria, both from the succulent family.  I had a tall clear glass vase I had gotten as a hand-me-down from a friend, and wanted to use it in some way, and thought the Snake Plant (with its long, tall leaves) would fit the height of the vases well, and give a bit of a unique look to the bookcase. I found a smaller glass vase with a similar shape at the dollar store, and liked the idea of grouping the two vases together for variety in height. The Echevaria succulent, which I found at a nearby hardware store, fit perfectly into the smaller vase.


To plant the succulents, I bought a potting soil mixture (I wurbanistaathome-com-potting-succulentsasn’t taking any chances with my non-green t
humb, and wanted to give the little guys the strongest start possible – nutrient rich potting soil was my best shot at that!). I also found some mixed sized pebbles at the craft store, for layering on top of the soil once the succulents had been planted in their new vases.




Now, gardening when you lurbanistaathome-com-succulents-in-vasesive in a high-rise apartment can be a bit tricky, but I spread a plastic sheet on my balcony (a plastic table cloth works great too!) and set up the dirt, vases, succulent pots, mini watering can, and pebbles around me as I sat on the balcony floor.





Using a regular spoon (a spade was too big for this job), I un-potted the plants from their plastic pails, gently knocked some of the old dirt off their roots, and tucked them into the dirt I had prepared in the glass vases. I lightly watered them since the pots they had come in were pretty dry, and layered the pebbles on top of the soil, with small pebbles forming the “crust” above the soil, and larger pebbles added on top for variety.


The two vases nestled into the corner of my bookcase shelf perfectly, and were the ideal companion for the little sleeping elephant figurine my mom had given me a few years ago (elephants are my fave!). I love the idea of pairing wildlife images or figurines alongside plants… it brings just the right touch of nature and peacefulness to a man-made environment.


I hope you like how the succulents turned out – I know I love looking at tiny but tranquil space in my living room. And guess what? It’s now been over a month since I initially transplanted the succulents from their original pots to the vases… and they’re still alive and thriving! One win in my long campaign to keep my plants alive? I’ll take it!


Until next time,


Urbanista At Home



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