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6 Reasons Why You Need To Give Succulents This Valentine’s Day Instead of Bouquets

While it is fun to receive a bouquet of fresh roses during Valentine’s Day, nothing is more disheartening than seeing these flowers wither away in the next couple of days. No matter how much we try to make sure that these flowers remain alive, healthy, and fresh, it seems so easy for them to wither before our very eyes. That’s why you may want to give out succulent arrangements instead of bouquets of flowers. Succulents are actually cheaper if you think about it, and they definitely last longer.

They are Priced Similarly as Bouquets

A bouquet of flower can cost from $30 up to hundreds of dollars. If you’re buying them during peak hours like Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and Graduation, they will be priced much higher. On contrary, succulents mostly maintain their prices regardless of the occasion. They are priced at around $30, too, but they can go cheaper, too, when you buy in bulk. You can find great arrangements of succulents both online and in brick-and-mortar stores.

They Don’t Need Too Much Care

There’s no avoiding when flowers will wither and die. Some last for a week while some can be kept alive for only a couple of days. Succulents can last for months without you watering it or putting it under direct sunlight. Even after you neglect succulents, they can still thrive and prosper. And if you see that they are starting to wither, you can simply water them or put them under a light. It is very easy for them to survive in rough conditions.

They Die Too, and It’s Okay

If you don’t take care of your succulents, they will eventually die but it will still last longer than a bouquet of roses so the money you spend wouldn’t be such a waste. Succulents, even if they are not properly maintained, can last for weeks and months. You can buy another variety and plant it in the same pot you originally used for the arrangement. It will last again for weeks so if in case it dies, it’s okay, too, because you can get a new one.

They are Easy to Maintain

If you want your arrangement to last, it’s easy to keep it alive. All you need is water it when the soil is completely dried out and to put it under sunlight a couple of days each week. You can grow and maintain succulents no matter where you live. If you want to get the most out of your succulent arrangement, all you need is a little bit of effort to care for it.

They are More Unique

Succulents are definitely more unique and interesting than flowers. Everyone, at some point in their lives, received flowers while only a few got succulents for Valentine’s Day. Succulents are so diverse, too, so you can arrange different varieties for that unique succulent bouquet.

They Can Propagate

The best thing about succulents is you can cut off a bit from their leaves and it can result in more plants. As it grows, you can take the cuttings from the plants and pot them somewhere else. You can turn one plant into a business or simply more arrangements to give to your friends and family.

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4 Things To Do When Caring For Succulent Plants During The Winter

Succulent plants are popular with people who don’t have much time to take care of houseplants but still want that calm and serenity that plants bring to a home. Many place their potted succulents in their patios or their gardens so the plants can get the sunlight they need in order to bring out their visually aesthetic view. However, since we’re now officially in the winter season, it’s time to spare a moment of our time to think about what to do and where to place our succulent plants.

One of the things you have to do once the cold season starts, whether it snows in your area or not, is to find a place for the succulents inside your house. Whether it’s a small table placed in the corner of your kitchen or a larger area in your garage, you need to make sure that they are safe (from your house pets) and they will still get the light they need.

Fertilize Before the Winter Season

Before bringing your succulents inside the house, fertilize them one last time. Succulent plants don’t need fertilizer during the winter months and they only need diluted fertilizer once they start growing. When the temperature drops and the light level falls, the plants will go dormant, which means they don’t need fertilizing anymore for that period. Too much fertilizer causes the plants to have “soft leaves,” which will rot almost immediately.

Keep Them Warm

Even during the cold season, there’s still a little bit of bright light available during the day. Make sure that your succulent plants are placed in the area where they can get this light for at least three to four hours a day. Succulents need less light during the winter than the summer season when they are actively growing. Try to keep the temperature of the room where the succulents are in no cooler than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Extreme coldness can harm the succulents.

Water Your Succulents Infrequently

Succulents are the best plants for busy people because they retain water in their leaves, roots, and stems so they don’t require much watering. Overwatering the plants can lead to root rot. To water your succulents during the winter season, pour water on top of the leaves until the water drains out the bottom. Water the plants less during the colder months because dormant succulents need less water than they do when they are growing during summer. You can set your schedule to watering them once every month or two months or when you notice that their leaves are droopy or developing indentations.

Check for Pests

Every month, make it a habit to check the leaves of your plants for aphids or mealybugs, which look like tiny cotton balls. You should look under the leaves as well. If there are infested plants, move them away from the other plants. Next, fill a spray bottle with three parts rubbing alcohol mixed with one part water, and mist it onto the plant. This will kill the pests. Repeat misting the plants for a couple of weeks until all the pests are gone.

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Factors To Consider When You Want Your Succulents To Bloom

We take care of succulents mostly because they are easy to maintain, and they look good with their fleshy leaves that are able to store water and moisture. They also come in a variety of colors and textures which give us more options when it comes to using them as house decors. Flowers are a wonderful and exciting bonus though, especially if we are talking about indoor plants.

However, before talking about blooming succulents, we need to know the different factors that cause them to bloom and bring out their wonderful-looking and colored flowers. Not all flowering succulents bloom because of the habitat and the environment they are in.

Temperature

Many succulents bloom during the warmer summer months because of the extreme temperature. When you place your succulents indoors, you are basically letting them live in a controlled environment where the temperature barely changes (even during the winter months when we use the heater system and the warmer months when we turn on the air-conditioning unit). Succulents thrive and benefit when they are moved outdoors during the summer season. The move, however, should be gradual, exposing them to heat and sunlight over a couple of weeks before completely placing them in partial sun and warm temperature.

Before deciding where to place your succulents, you need to know where they come from. For example, plants from cold-winter deserts like interior western American deserts and high-altitude South American deserts need winter dormancy and cold temperatures to induce spring blooms.

Fertilizer

Plants need fertilizer to provide the building blocks for flower formation. Flowering is important to all plants because the seeds are needed to perpetuate the species so they flower as much as possible. In the desert where these plants thrive, the soil provides a good base for flowering because there’s no water to leach the nutrients out of the soil. But under cultivation, you need to fertilize the succulents starting spring when the plants begin to grow. While the plants are growing, use a half-strength fertilizer then, discontinue the feeding in late summer or early fall. To promote flower formation, use a fertilizer with high phosphorus content such as 10-15-10.

Water

Succulents thrive even without regular watering because they are able to store water and moisture in their leaves, stems, and roots. However, without regular watering, they deplete the water they are able to store in their tissues. They live but they do not thrive. During their growing period, which is summer, make sure that you water the plants thoroughly until it comes out of the pot’s drainage holes. Don’t water again until the top of the soil is dry. During dormancy or winter months, keep the plants drier.

Light

Most succulents need sunlight for half the day, especially during the morning. They use this light to produce the food needed for blooming. There are only a few varieties of succulents such as gasterias, haworthias, and some aloes that will bloom if kept in full shade. If natural light is lacking, put the plants under grow lights.

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Non-Traditional Succulent Recipes For Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time to spend time with family and friends, to talk over platters and bowls of food, and to merry-make with our loved ones. Every year, there’s probably someone in the family or your group of friends who are tasked to handle the Thanksgiving dinner. Is this year your turn? If you’re tired of the usual fare being served during your annual Thanksgiving dinners, maybe up the competition a notch by going full succulents on them. That’s right. Unknown to many, there are many delicious recipes that involve succulents. You can make a whole feast—from appetizers to soups to salads to entrees—out of succulents.

Appetizers

How about a mini taco that can be passed around from one table to another? You can saute the cactus with your favorite taco filling like chicken, shrimps, beef, and pork. You can choose between a hard taco shell or a soft taco shell. The crunch of the cacti leaf, which is meaty and sumptuous, will be an exciting surprise for your guests.

Soups

A heartwarming nopales soup on a chilly winter night is the best way to jumpstart your Thanksgiving dinner. You can make a lentil and cactus soup by boiling water in a soup pot with garlic, lentils, and chicken bouillon. After the lentils become soft at the one-hour mark, you can then lower the heat to a simmer. In a separate skillet, put extra-virgin olive oil and saute the garlic and onion until translucent. Add the tomato and stir until the tomato releases its juice. Add the lentil, the cumin, and the chicken bouillon before putting the nopales and the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Salads

Grilled cactus sounds good to you? That’s right. You can grill the cactus leaves and chop them into cubes. Put your favorite dressing together (a light virgin olive oil with a squeeze of lemon sounds wonderful), as well as other vegetables and garnishes such as iceberg lettuce, onions, olives, chopped eggs, and cherry tomatoes. Toss them all together and you’ll come up with a wonderful salad that everyone will love.

Main Entrees

Okay, you can still have your turkey dinner, don’t worry. Prepare your turkey the way you like it—with stuffing and turkey gravy and your cranberry sauce. But on the side, instead of the usual carbs like mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese, you can serve the turkey with a cactus salsa. Turn your Thanksgiving dinner a bit Mexican by chopping the cactus into bite-sized pieces and mixing it with tomatoes, onions, and corn kernels. Drizzle it with a bit of olive oil and Himalayan salt, and you’re good to go.

And while there are no succulent desserts, you can always design your cakes, cupcakes, and cookies into cactus shapes. Simply purchase a cookie cutter in the shape of a cactus and color your cookies with same colorful foliage of the succulents in your garden. Using the right piping tip, you can also create a rosette on your cupcakes.

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Decorating Your Thanksgiving Dinner With Succulent Plants

Don’t we just love this season? Fiery leaves are falling and in many parts of America, snow has started to fall. Everywhere we go, there’s a holiday season vibe that seems to permeate the air. And over in our house, we’re prepping up for the much-awaited annual Thanksgiving dinner where we invite our family and friends for a night of marrying and well, eating. However, we want to make this year different. How do we do that?

First, let’s take a look at how we’re decorating our homes for this festive season.

Matching Succulents with Christmas Decors

Have you put up your Christmas trees and other Christmas ornaments? Don’t feel bad if you haven’t and don’t bother now for your Thanksgiving dinner. Christmas trees are better put up when you’re truly in that festive mood and not when you’re pressured and stressed out to do so. For this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, simply decorate your home with little knick-knacks of fresh succulent plants. Trust us, your home will be feeling Christmas-y and Thanksgiving-y in no time.

Succulents Providing Guests a Grand Welcome

Your patio is the first thing that your guests will notice when they arrive at your home. You’ll probably greet them there and you guys might even stay for a while to look at the neighborhood Christmas decorations. Make sure that your patio is inviting by putting up succulent ornaments. A simple hanging succulent in the entrance of your patio will look very chic and interesting. Simply put the hanging succulents in a glass orb and hang it from your patio’s ceiling. Just make sure you’re using a variety of succulent that will survive well during the winter season.

Succulents in the Living Room

Next, let’s look at your foyer or your living room. This is where your guests will have to wait until dinner is ready to be served. You’ll probably bring them a glass of champagne and some hors-d’oeuvres here. Focus on your table centerpieces where a miniature succulent garden should be in place. You can do this by purchasing a large terracotta pot with a wide opening, filling it up with soil, and designing them with pebbles, mini arbors, and miniature succulent plants. You can also use a large Jade tree in the corner of the room that you can decorate with twinkling Christmas lights. It’s going to look like your mini Christmas tree.

Succulents at the Dining Area

Finally, we arrive at your dining area where you and your guests are going to spend most of the dinner hours. Your guests will be focused on the food that you will serve, yes, but since they’re also in your dining table, you might as well give them something they can feast their eyes on. A grand succulent centerpiece is what we’re talking about. Think about how you’ll arrange a bouquet of roses. That’s how you want your succulent arrangement to look, too. You can use burro’s tail, rosettes, and other baby succulents to fill up the glass container. For this arrangement, you don’t need to put draining holes in the container since you’re going to return these plants to their original ones after dinner in your house.

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How To Create An Adorable Tabletop Mini Succulent Garden

Tired of the usual succulent arrangement you see on your tabletop? Want something unique, fun, and interesting? Have you ever heard of a tabletop mini succulent garden? Basically, it’s an arrangement of succulents but designed as a miniature garden in a large terracotta. You can put it on your foyer, your dining room table, your living room center table, or even in your outdoor garden. These tabletop miniature gardens are so addicting to arrange and they make for a great conversation starter.

First, what you need are 12-inch terracotta pot saucer (with or without drainage holes), cactus mix potting soil, miniature garden furnishings (arbor, chair, wheelbarrow, urn, cat, and dog), tiny pebbles or crushed rocks, and succulents with small leaves such as Crassula Tetragona, sedums, small-stacked crassulas, and Sedum rubrotinctum.

You can get all these materials from your local gardening shop or hardware. Most of these can be found under the gardening section. As for the succulents, you can pick them up from your favorite succulent store or you can find all of these available online. Simply place the order and wait for the delivery guy to drop off your succulent plants. Just remind the seller to pack the plants as securely as possible, so that they won’t lose any leaves or break off any stem.

1. Fill the pot with soil.

Clean the succulents pot and make sure that there are no broken areas. If there are no draining holes, drill small holes at the bottom of the pot, so you can water the succulents. It doesn’t have to be too many holes. Just a few small ones will do; enough to drain the water off the arrangement. Fill the terracotta pot with potting mix up to ½ inch below the rim. Next, secure the miniature arbor about an inch inside the rim of the saucer.

2. Create the pathway.

Using the finely crushed rocks or the pebbles, create a pathway from the edge of the pot and down to the middle of the arbor to the other side of the saucer. Just think about your own pathway in your garden at home and you should be fine. Don’t be afraid about not perfecting it the first time because you can always adjust the “pathway.”

3. Add the plants.

If you are growing succulents at home, simply pinch the top-half inch of the plants so you can insert their rosettes or tips into the soil. Do not put the plants on your “pathway.” Rather, place them between the pathway and the rim, creating a lush greenery that surrounds your little arbor.

4. Put the accents.

Finally, make the tabletop miniature garden look more realistic by adding accents such as a cat sitting on a bench, the wheelbarrow, a dog sitting beside the arbor, etc. You can be as creative as you want to be when it comes to using accents for a miniature garden. You can also pattern your tabletop miniature garden after your very own outdoor garden. Just find miniature accents that look exactly like the things you have scattered around your garden.

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Repurposed Succulents Decorations For Your Home

A couple of days ago, I attended a bridal shower that had succulents decorations. Cactuses and rosettes were arranged in a pot together with bright white roses. They made up most of the decors around the room, which made the area elegant and gorgeous. But above all, the succulents fitted the bride, a close friend of mine, who’s incredibly simple but has one of the classiest tastes I know in terms of home decorations.

After the bridal shower, which was a blast, by the way, I asked if I could take home one of the arrangements of succulents, and the bride agreed. I imagined it would look perfect as my table centerpiece, and I was right. Upon going home, I placed the pot filled with cactuses, roseum, burro’s tail, hens and chicks, and dudleya. There was a dozen of white roses thrown around the arrangement, and though I knew they wouldn’t last long, I opted for them since the combination of the succulents and white roses was too pretty to pass on.

So, upon arriving home, I immediately placed the arrangement on my table. They didn’t need any tinkering since they looked absolutely magnificent there on my big empty table. They stood out on their own, particularly against the colorful deco walls I have hanging around the dining area. They provided that lush of green that the dining room needed and I immediately thought of where else can I put such an arrangement.

Since I didn’t want to buy an arrangement of succulents for every room, I decided to repurpose the existing one on my dining table. A couple of days after, the white roses began to wilt while the succulents remained as beautiful and as gorgeous as ever.

While the roses needed water to thrive, the succulent plants, of course, had none of those requirements. I preferred to let the roses wilt and did not water the pot since I got it. The bride said the arrangement was watered before they arrived at the venue, so I deduced that the soil needs at least a week to completely dry out. As a result, the roses began to wilt and I had to take them out.

Although the succulents still looked beautiful sitting on top of my dining table, they lost their edge after the roses wilted. For me, they were just like any other succulents that I purposely arranged around the house. They don’t stand out anymore, and as much as I like to replant the roses, I was bored with them, truth to say. I wanted something more for this arrangement of roseum, burro’s tail, dudleya, and hens and chicks. I knew what I wanted to do and that is to propagate the succulents.

I replanted both the dudleya and hens and chicks outside where I knew they will likely thrive. They were outdoor succulents anyway, and they crave more sunlight and water than the roseum and the burro’s tail. Meanwhile, I put the burro’s tail in a hanging basket and arranged it in the foyer where it greets my guests. The roseum was the one I repurposed with the other succulents around the house. Since the roseum has such a versatile look, I mixed it with the other succulents arrangement and they immediately looked more gorgeous than ever.

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4 Common Varieties of Indoor Succulent Plants

Succulent plants are everywhere—from corsages to earrings to wedding bouquets to home decor. They are taking over gardens as more people choose succulents over other types of flowers and plants because the former is easy to maintain and requires little to no attention. Most succulents grew in Africa and Central America where there is little humidity. They thrive in these conditions because their fleshy leaves can store water and as such, they have no need for constant watering, re-plotting, and even sunlight (though they are not adverse to it).

Even though these drought-resistant plans are simple to maintain, they still have a preference when it comes to location. In this article, we’ll talk about indoor succulent plants and the top common varieties that you can choose.

Indoor succulent plants grow best in room temperature where it is dry and there is little humidity. While they also need direct sunlight, the can adapt to lower levels of light provided indoors. They make for an ideal home décor because they come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. They are exciting décor both for the living room and even a child’s bedroom.

1. Burro’s Tail (sedum morganianum)

Known also as the donkey tail plant, this is the easiest plant to propagate and have inside the house. The name comes from the plant’s ability to grow four inches tall with a shape that resembles a tail. This succulent grows well when put in a well-draining container, where its long stems can hang off the edges of the pot.

2. Crown of Thorns (euphorbia milii)

This is a great indoor plant because it adjusts well to the temperature indoors which is mostly dry and has little moisture in the air. To best care for the Crown of Thorns, place it near a window where it can get three to four hours of sunlight every day. Make sure to only water the plant when the soil has completely dried out. In Thailand, there is a legend that the number of flowers that bloom on this plant will predict the future of the plant-keeper.

3. Flaming Katy (kalanchoe blossfeldiana)

This is a common houseplant and is native to Madagascar. It is best suited indoors because it is sensitive to the cold, and likes temperatures ranging between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want to take care of the Flaming Katy, make sure to put it in a clay pot with draining holes at the bottom. They will produce more buds and flowers if they can get eight to 10 hours of sun every day. During late autumn and early winter, it can produce petals that are dark red, gold, and white in color.

4. Jade Plant (crassula ovata)

Jade Plant is one of the most popular indoor succulent plants. It is similar to a bonsai plant wherein the trunk grows thick with branches that jut out like a miniature tree. This plant has thick, shiny, dark green leaves that grow into an oval shape. Some varieties of Jade Plant have a red color at the tip of the leaf. Many believe that the Jade Plant brings luck which is why they can be found in most homes.

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5 Healthy And Edible Succulents That You Can Easily Prepare

Salads and sautes are not the first things you will think about when you hear the word succulents. In fact, food will be the farthest from your mind. All you’ll probably think about is draining soil, terra cotta pots, pebbles, fertilizers, and propagation. Food is not synonymous with succulents, unfortunately, in this side of the world. But in farther south, where President Donald Trump plans to build his wall, succulent are delicious additions to their dinner fare.

Ever wonder how succulents taste like? Want to try how edible and healthy these are? Here are the top five edible succulents that you can turn into delicious salads, soups, and main courses:

1. Saguaro

If you have ever looked at an old Western movie and wondered what those ubiquitous plants in the background are called, that’s the Saguaro. But this is more than just a desert decoration. The night-blooming white flowers, which are the state flower of Arizona, produce greenish-pink fruits whose bright red pulp and black seeds have a sweet and nutty flavor. Tribes from Arizona and the Mexican people have used the Saguaro to make sweet jams, syrups, and ceremonial wines.

Rich in fiber, vitamin C, and B12, Saguaro can be chopped and turned into salads or biscuits.

2. Opuntia

Also called the “nopales” in Mexico and the many Mexican restaurants scattered all over the country, the Opuntia has a flavor similar to green beans though with a slightly chewy texture. It produces a fruit called tuna in Mexico but known as the prickly pear stateside, tastes like a mix of bubblegum and watermelon. The flat oval leaves of the Opuntia can be chopped and made into salads, soups, salsa, and tacos while the fruit can be peeled and sliced and eaten raw or juiced.

The leaves are rich in fiber and calcium, and it’s just 23 calories per cup. The fruit is high in vitamin C.

3. Stonecrops

Also known as sedums, Stonecrops have up to 600 species of plants. The leaves have a peppery and mildly bitter flavor that’s perfect for salads and stir-fry. If you want to eat these, make sure to take them in moderation because large quantities can upset the stomach. They are best used for stir-fry. The red-flowering sedum leaves, stems, and tubers are safe to eat raw while the yellow-flowering sedums need to be cooked because of a mild toxicity.

Stonecrops can relieve coughs and can lower blood pressure. It is also known for being applied to burns, cuts, hemorrhoids, and eczema.

4. Sea Beans

Scientifically called the Salicornia, Sea Beans grow on salt marshes and sandy beaches. Over the last years, they have grown popular among gourmet chefs. The flavor is similar to asparagus, so you can either eat it raw or pan-fry it. If you want to mellow out the intense sea salt flavor, you can blanch it in hot water.

Sea Beans are high in protein, iron, calcium, and iodine.

5. Dragon Fruit

Who knew Dragon Fruit came from a cactus? These fruits come from a night-blooming cactus known as the queen of the night. Their appearance may be striking but the flavor is very mild, almost like a bland melon. To eat it, you can scoop out the pulp and turn it into a smoothie or shake.

The Dragon Fruit is low in calories and packs protein, fiber, vitamin C, iron, and calcium.

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Unique Ways of Using Succulent Plants In Your Events

Have you ever thought about how unique and interesting succulent plants are? How versatile they are compared to our regular garden plants? How great their textures are and how much range of colors and shapes they have? It’s truly amazing when you consider the many ways we can use succulents to make our homes more gorgeous and to make an ordinary office space homey.

But beyond our homes and our offices, we also see succulents being used to liven up a blank canvas of an event place. Have you seen a birthday party or an anniversary celebration with succulents as the main design? Don’t these plants look gorgeous and fun? Every event stylist is looking to design an event place that’s both beautiful and fun. You may think that’s a pretty ordinary combination but come to think of it. Roses are only beautiful. They are not fun. Peonies are pretty. They are not fun. Daises and sunflowers are fun, but they are not drop-dead gorgeous.

On the other hand, succulents are always beautiful when they are in full bloom. And also, they are fun once you consider all the different colors, shapes, and textures they bring to a room. People can gather around a succulent décor and talk about how unique the setting was and how the color matches the overall motif of the event. It’s a conversation-starter, and it’s also one of the most interesting decorative pieces an event can have.

Centerpieces and Bouquets

Do not think that you can only design with succulents alone. The best thing about these plants is that they are so versatile and flexible they can be mixed with other garden plants such as roses and tulips and they will still stand out. Or better yet, they can bring a touch of elegance to the already gorgeous bunch of red roses you have in your hand. You can use a succulent arrangement as table centerpieces or as bouquets for weddings. All you need to do is use different shapes and sizes of succulents to bring height and weight to the arrangement.

Ceiling Treatments

A popular trend these days is to hang flowers, balloons, lanterns, and other ornaments from the ceiling. This will create such a gorgeous backdrop in an indoor event place. How about hanging succulents instead? Succulents are great because they last long so even if you hang them as decorations during the day, they will still look as gorgeous as ever when the party extends to evening time. Roses and other flowers can easily wilt because of lack of water but succulents will still look plump and lively even after a day has passed.

Backdrops

How about a succulent garden as the background for the stage? We’re so used to using plastic ornaments and decors that we never stop to think about how gorgeous real flowers and plants would look like when they are used as a stage backdrop. Trust us, your photos will look priceless and you’ll feel like a million bucks.