Thyme, Basil, Spruce Tree Seedling Wedding Favors

Living wedding favors: thyme, basil and spruce tree seedlings
Fresh Wedding Favors for a Special Bride and Groom

We grew these pretty wedding favors for my son and his lovely, adorable bride. Wedding guests had their choice of little pots of basil or thyme, or spruce tree seedlings. At the wedding reception, the table of living wedding favors was aromatic and  fresh. Wedding guests appreciated the useful herbal wedding favors, and the tree seedling favors were a romantic celebration of the couple's growing and lasting love.

Herb Wedding Favors of little pots of Basil and Thyme, and Evergreen Tree Seedlings in gift bags.

Thyme Wedding Favor

Mature thyme plants look sturdy and interesting. The leaves can easily be plucked from the rigid stems for culinary uses. To get the aged look I wanted, I sowed the thyme seeds 7 months before the September wedding. 

Thyme seeds are tiny. Sow them in fine seeding soil mix in little plastic pots (about 2.5" pots)- about 12 seeds per pot. Until the weather warms up, grow the thyme indoors, under lights. Thin out the seedlings, so that each small pot has about 5-6 healthy stems. Every few weeks, trim the thyme to encourage branching and interesting shape. Thyme likes to grow on the dry side, but in small pots, the plants can dry out too much. Water the plants just prior to wilting, and from the bottom. Full sun seemed too much for the thyme plants, so each day they received about 6 hours of full outdoor sun, once the danger of frost passed. Plants will be sturdier if grown outdoors, but watch for hail.  In the last few months, I fertilized only twice with a VERY mild solution of water soluble fertilizer. Herbs don't need much fertilizer. The day before the wedding I transplanted the thyme into similar sized clay pots with raffia ribbon and a 'thank-you' tag. The clay pots were also about 2 1/2  inches in diameter. Clay will absorb some water, so it is best to have the plants fully watered before transplanting to the clay pots. 

Herbal wedding favors. Basil, evergreen seedling, thyme.

Basil Wedding Favor

Sow indoors in fine seeding soil mix in 2.5" plastic pots, about 5-6 weeks before the event. Keep plants well watered, in full sun. Watch carefully for spider mites or aphids and spray with water or put out sticky yellow bug traps if necessary. The basil will be more turgid if grown outdoors, but basil will die at temperatures a few degrees higher than frost, so keep the plants warm. Take indoors at night if nights are cool. In other words 'baby' your basil plants. Grow about 10 plants per pot. If the basil stems get too big, pluck a few out, so that the look is balanced.The plants will need more and more water as they grow. Keep them well hydrated. The day before the event, transplant the plants into pretty clay pots of the same size.

Spruce Tree Wedding Favor

Order the evergreen tree seedlings to arrive only a few days before the wedding. Keep the roots (which came in peat-like soil), cool and moist and shaded. I kept the evergreen seedlings outside, in an open cooler, so the temperature was stable, and the roots were cool. On hot days, I added a few ice cubes to the cooler. I spritzed the soil and seedlings often with water. The day before the wedding, I wrapped the moist root balls, which were about 4 inches long and only about 1x1 inch wide, in little clear plastic bags and placed each tree seedling in a decorative yellow gift bag, with raffia and a 'thank-you' tag. You can prop the seedlings up in the bag with tissue paper, if needed. Advise guests to plant the trees outside ASAP.  

Herbal Favors
Tips for Growing Wedding Favors

Experiment months before the event, so that you are confident you will like the results. Grow samples and try out decorative trims. I sowed the basil and thyme seeds first in plastic pots (2.5") and just before the wedding transplanted them to ribboned clay pots of the same size. This way, the clay pots were new and pristine for the big event. 

Have alternate plans. (I had 3 options - basil, thyme and tree seedlings - so if one failed, I had back-ups). Grow more than you will need. Some will not flourish.  The thyme took months to grow to the size I wanted, but the basil grew in only 5-6 weeks. The tree sapplings were inexpensive to buy but had to be ordered early and were delivered by mail. 

If growing the plants outside, prepare for hail or downpours. Keep the plants sheltered. 

Don't spray herbs with insecticides, not even insecticidal soap. Control bugs by watching closely and removing bugs, use yellow sticky paper to attract bugs, or grow herbs under floating row covers. 

Don't over fertilize, you might kill your plants or cause them to turn yellow. Only use mild solutions of fertilizer. 

Plants grown in tiny pots are sensitive. They dry out quickly, but don't over water, either. Rinse out trays under pots frequently.  

For inexpensive supplies, check out the dollar stores. For the gift tags, use the 'business card' setting on the word processor. We also provided a small brown paper tote bag for guests to carry the plants home. 

Living Wedding Favors
Evergreen Seedling Favors.