Make a living fridge magnet
Updated: May 12
First of all, I need to acknowledge that I didn't come up with this idea. I found it in an American publication, "Garden Gate" magazine, although I've made a couple of tweaks of my own.
(if you already have a fridge magnet planter but need a new plant jump to How to replace the plant).
This blog post will take you step-by-step through turning cuttings from your succulents into cute, living fridge magnets like these:
For each magnet you will need:
- a bottle cork. I find that those from sparkling wine or champagne are a bit bigger and work better than standard wine corks.
- a drill
- a small, strong magnet
- strong glue
- a small amount of succulent compost
- a small succulent cutting
- (optional): paint, glitter, ribbons, stickers etc. to decorate
- (optional): a fine "pot-topper" such as florist's sand or very small decorative stones
- (optional but highly recommended): Vuba easihold mini spray: https://www.vubaresinproducts.com/easihold-spray.html
Step by step instructions
1. Drill a hole in your cork to create a pot-shape as shown below. Be careful not to puncture the base or sides of the cork or you may need to start again.
2. Glue on a strong magnet. I found using superglue and holding the magnet in place with a clothes peg until it was set worked well.
3. Decorate your cork if required. I used spray paint on some of mine, on others I simply used a clear protective varnish. The examples I saw in the magazine had been decorated with thin ribbons, the choice is yours.
4. Put some succulent compost into the hole. If you're going to use a topper I'd suggest you fill it to around the 2/3 level. Make a hole in the compost of a suitable size for the stem from your cutting (I used a plant stick for this):
5. Add your succulent cutting. I primarily used cuttings from these two plants, although I had one small piece from another plant:
6. You've now created your fridge magnet. The problem is if it swivels round when the fridge door opens the plant and compost are likely to fall out so personally I add a pot topper then spray the surface with Vuba easihold mini spray, a porous resin which glues the top layer together and prevents spills but still allows water to get through to the plant (as of the time of writing this is the only company I've come across which makes a houseplant version). The image below shows one where I used small white stones but usually I find decorative sand works better.
NOW THAT YOU'VE FINISHED: Remember to keep your plant watered. Succulents don't need much water but these little pots don't hold much either. I water mine about once a fortnight but the exact frequency depends on a lot of factors such as the temperature of your kitchen, the plant used, the compost and the size of the cork so keep an eye on them for the first few weeks and see what works for you.
As for how to water them, I find the easiest way is to use an old child's medicine dispenser - which I've added a magnet to so that I can keep it near the plants - and just dribble a few drops of water onto the compost. If you've used a resin spray it may pool on the surface initially but don't worry, it will soon soak through.
How to Replace the Plant
At some point you may want to replace the plant in your fridge magnet planter: perhaps it has died, or grown too large, or you simply want a new look.
Don't worry, you don't need to start again from Step 1. Simply:
A. Remove the plant. Hopefully it will pull straight out, if not you may need to loosen the topping and soil with a cocktail stick.
B. Widen the hole a little. A cocktail stick or wooden skewer are ideal for doing this. You may need to remove some of topping stones:
C. Insert the stem of your new plant. Replace topping if required and brush or spray with resin: