Palm fronds recycled as do-it-yourself succulent centerpiece


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The fallen palm fronds left from recent winds haven’t been a nuisance for master gardener Jill McArthur. Armed with a pruning saw, the Glendale garden designer has been recycling the fronds as arresting table centerpieces using succulent cuttings.

McArthur likens the fronds to fallen fruit: ‘They are all over the place,’ she said. ‘I find them when I walk my dog. I try to find different things to do with them.’


To create a centerpiece, McArthur first looks for a nice line. If a frond is too large, she puts it in her car and cuts it down at home. She then sprays the hollow surface with a low-VOC clear sealant so water won’t leak through to the table. Next she adds cactus soil mix and succulent cuttings to make a low-maintenance, low-water arrangement.

The palm fronds, which can be as long as 12 feet, form ‘fabulous boats’ that look great on a long table or a mantel. She also likes to pair two boats, as shown at the top of the post.

‘The plants seem to be very happy,’ McArthur said. ‘You can trade succulents in and out. They are strong and not heavy, so they are easy to transport. The natural tone of them is so beautiful -- the brown is fantastic. I personally like the ragged edges of the smaller ones. The whole point is for them to look like found objects.’


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How to prevent toppled trees, dispose of palm fronds

Should palm fronds go in the green waste bin or the trash?

-- Lisa Boone

Photo credit, top and bottom: Deidra Walpole

Photo, middle: Windstorm-blown palm fronds on a Pasadena street earlier this month. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times