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A Fall Centerpiece With Succulents, Santa Barbara Style

This fall centerpiece with fruits, vegetables & succulents would be beautiful on your Thanksgiving table. Get the step by step for this (mostly) edible DIY.

centerpiece with pumpkin

This centerpiece, with fall fruits & vegetables, would be beautiful on your Thanksgiving table.  Or, for any occasion this fall!

Fall to me means red, orange, yellow, gold, bronze and plum.  These colors can come in the form of berries, foliages, squashes, flowers or textiles.  I really don’t care just as long as I have these tones in my home at this time of year.  I love making arrangements with fruits and vegetables because you can eat the colorful ingredients after you take it apart.  I used succulent cuttings picked from my garden to really make this centerpiece “Santa Barbara style”.


Looking down on the finished piece.

I grew up in New England, the land you think of when you say “fall”.  Here along California’s Central Coast we certainly don’t get much of a change in seasons at all.  The days get shorter and the evening get cooler but there’s hardly if any foliage wild and splashy foliages displays.  So, I buy fall and winter squashes along with persimmons and pomegranates to get my autumnal fix.  Grape leaves and fig leaves work wonderfully for decorating too.

You can see me putting this piece together on the work table in my garage:


The foliage & succulent ingredients: grape leaves, seeded eucalyptus, aeoniums, kalanchoes, crassulas & sedums.


A sampling of the fruits & vegetables used, all from our farmers market: kuri squash, delicata squash, pimiento red pepper, purple bell pepper, persimmons & pomegranates.  The little tangerines, much smaller in size than usual due to our severe drought, came from my neighbor’s tree.


Here’s how I put this together:

1- I organize the ingredients by type, size &/or color.  I’m not too fussy with this step but it helps me to put these centerpieces, or tablescapes, together really fast.


2- I start in the middle & work my way out with the largest piece in the center which will be the focal point.  If your table is long, you can certainly have a few focal points.


3- The produce is all laid out.  At this point I step back & look at the piece to make sure it look balanced & visually pleasing.  I usually have to go back & make a few switches & changes.  I then placed the small tangerines.

4-  I then tucked in the grape leaves & placed the larger succulents.  This was followed up by the smaller succulents & the seeded eucalyptus.  I went out & cut a few more succulents – I really love them so I try to restrain myself.  I do want the beautiful fruits & vegetables in this fall centerpiece to show after all!

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You probably won’t be able to find many of these ingredients so substitute with what’s available in your neck of the woods and run with it.  Another good thing about this type of centerpiece is that you can make it days in advance.  You can order succulent cuttings online to use or, tuck in some fresh flowers day of.  Add in a few sublime candles, delicious food and wonderful company and your table is complete!

I wish you a very colorful and abundant fall season,

Nell's signature


2 more fall centerpiece inspirations for you:

I Ate My Thanksgiving Centerpiece!

A Fall Centerpiece, California Style, That’s Right On For Your Thanksgiving Table


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