O Christmas Plant, O Christmas Plant…

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I am very grateful to have co-workers this holiday season because that means I’m employed. To show my appreciation to the people I tricked into hiring me (just kidding, I worked really hard for my job), I wanted to gift them with something that lasts longer than peppermint bark or fruitcake.

Succulents require specific conditions to grow properly. They photosynthesize via Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM), where the stomata are open at night for carbon fixation, and closed during the day to prevent water loss while they release carbon dioxide for the Calvin cycle. It’s been a while since I’ve been in school, I can’t explain the Calvin cycle if I tried. Anyway, that’s why succulents are so succulent, and that’s how they survive in arid environments.

I bought a pack of twelve 4oz. Ball mason jars, which are typically used for canning jams and preserves. I also bought activated charcoal AKA activated carbon at a local pet store. Activated charcoal provides filtration to soil and also prevents rot. Proper filtration is very necessary when planting succulents in closed containers. Improper drainage = root rot = plant death = gnats. Starting from the bottom to the top, each mason jar is layered accordingly: Small pebbles for drainage, a small layer of activated charcoal for filtration, about 1.5 inches of loosely packed soil with the succulent stem resting inside, and a small layer of pebbles to prevent water from pooling. I chose an assortment of Echeveria and Sedum succulents from my mom’s garden. I hope these little guys last longer than peppermint bark would.

P.S. how cute would these look with a gift tag tied with twine?

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