Growing Paper Plants

I have given up on green things. I have a love of the wide green outdoors: the kind of outdoors of woodlands and shaded streams rather than sunny spots and beaches. As we are in a flat and so have no garden, and can’t go out to the shady woodland places and walks that we might usually spend our weekends at, I have tried to bring a bit of green growth into the house. I have a very healthy (almost too healthy as it has taken over my entire kitchen with it’s gigantic form and hundreds of babies) spider plant. Likewise a pilea that grows happily in my bedroom, but everything I try to grow in my living room is doomed to fail.

My living room has the biggest windows I have ever seen, which sounds lovely (and is, to a point) but it means that in the summer months my living room is like an oven, in a sauna, on the sun. I will happily grow plant babies all through winter and spring and then two days of sun in June and everything has gone.

My next door neighbour gave us a few little seeds to plant as an activity at the beginning of lockdown. We grew the leggiest and palest lettuce leaves you ever saw, and a single beetroot, all on the windowsill. A few weeks ago a single day of sun saw off our daddy long lettuce, but, somehow, the beetroot with it’s bright magenta stems seemed a bit more hardy. As the weeks of sun grew stronger she had the odd wilting moment, but a bit of emergency water and she perked back up. Yesterday marked four months since sowing, and harvest time for our single beet. I took it into the kitchen and eased it out of the pot, knocking the earth away from the ball-like root. More earth came away, and more, until I was just left with the stems and the thin white ground roots. There was no beetroot. Not even a marble sized one. I give up.

So, I am going to fill my little plant space with something different. Cactuses! Can I keep a cactus alive? Who knows. I’m going to just assume no, and therefore have opted for paper ones.

Close up of three paper cactuses. One pale green, one dark green, one dark blue, against a pink wall.

I found the cutting template for these three cactus plants in the book Cutting Machine Crafts by Lia Griffiths. The book is £1.99 in the Kindle store at the moment, and does come with the link and a personalised password to all of the .SVG and .PDF files for the projects in the book.

Close up of three paper cactuses. One pale green, one dark green, one dark blue, against a pink wall.

I resized each of the cut files to fit a paper base disc 9.5cm in diameter, so that they would fit in the pots that I had to hand. Each of the green cactus patterns took 2 sheets of 30cm² card stock, whilst the blue cactus took a single sheet, and I used just a scrap of pale pink card stock for the flowers. You may just be able to see in some of the pictures that there is a buff coloured circle of card at the base of each cactus, and this took an A4 piece of card.

Though the instructions for these cactuses say to glue them together, I have simply slotted them together without glue, and balanced the flowers on top. As I have sized the base disc to fit snugly in the pot they also sit straight into the pots with no additional material or stabilising.

So, now my plants are made of paper, and I will just accept that I cannot pretend to garden and grow things in my flat. One day I will have a garden and be back out in the fresh air and open spaces. For now, paper greenery will have to do.