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Succulent Wall Planter

By: Garden Gate staff
Everyone loves succulents, so why not turn them into a piece of art? Mix succulents and sedums in this project to create an out-of-the-ordinary wall hanging.

succulent-wall-art-on-fence: Drought tolerance, plus different textures and colors make succulents ideal for a wall hanging.

This succulent wall planter is a living piece of art!

A privacy fence makes sitting in your backyard a little more relaxing — you have the space all to yourself. The downside is, who wants to sit around looking at a blank wall while they’re kicking back on the patio? Adding an outdoor ornament is nice but you can crank the décor up a notch by making this unique living wall planter made from a board, an inverted hanging basket and plants.

Succulents are the common-sense choice for this project. They don’t need a lot of water and actually grow best with the good drainage a coco fiber-lined basket provides. In addition, the variety of leaf shapes and colors you can find is amazing and most grow slowly so they’ll hold those interesting shapes for much of the growing season.

Though it may look like some gravity-defying trick, this project isn’t as hard to make as you might think. In fact it’s so easy you could even make several to hang all along a length fence! Keep scrolling to find out how.

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succulent-wall-art-materials: Here are the materials you will need to create a succulent wall planter.

What you'll need to create your succulent wall planter

Materials & Tools

attach-z-bar-to-board: A Z-bar bracket fastened to the back of the plywood square with screws will fit into a matching bracket on the fence or wall where it will hang.

Step 1: Build the frame

Start by painting a 16-in. square piece of treated plywood with the outdoor paint of your choice. When it’s dry, turn it over and attach one of the Z-bar brackets (found online or at your local hardware store) you see in the photo above to the back. The other one goes on the wall where the basket will hang. This bracket is strong enough to support the weight of the basket and hold the board flush against the privacy fence.

Step 2: Prepare potting mix

Combine 2 parts soilless potting mix to one part coarse sand to give sedums and other succulents the sharp drainage they need to grow their best. Premoisten the potting mix, so it’s damp but not soupy.

adding-soil-to-basket: Add as much potting mix as the basket will hold, clear to the top of the basket rim.

Step 3: Prepare the basket

Remove the hanging basket’s chain. Add the prepared potting mix to the basket and press it in firmly with your hand, as the photo above shows. You want to get as much potting mix into the basket as possible so it won’t settle, leaving gaps when you turn it over and start planting. If there’s space between the mix and the edge of the basket, add more.

trim-coco-liner: It doesn't matter what color the circle of coco liner is since it will be pressed up to the plywood backing and won't be seen later.

Step 4: Line the back of the basket

Cut a circle from the sheet of coco liner that’s a little larger than the size of the hanging basket opening, as you see above. It doesn't matter what color the circle of coco liner is since it will be pressed up to the plywood backing and won't be seen later.

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attaching-coco-liner-cable-ties: Push any of the edges of the back liner that’s sticking out into the coco basket liner under the rim. Then string the zip tie through both layers of liner to hold it all in place.

Step 5: Fasten the liner to the basket

Use cable ties to fasten the liner the basket’s lip, making sure to go through both layers of the liner to hold it all in place. You may need to tuck the edges in a bit. Space the cable ties a couple of inches apart around the basket. This will keep all that potting mix from spilling out of the basket.

flipping-basket-plywood: Postion the painted frame board on the basket and flip it over so it lays flat.

Flip the basket

Now position the painted board on the mouth of the basket, grab hold tightly with both hands and flip it over so that it is laying flat. Then it is time to fasten the basket to the board so you can get to the fun part of the project, designing and planting with succulents!

hammer-staple-through-basket: Hammer a steel staple in every 2 to 3 in. to keep the basket secure.

Step 6: Fasten the basket to the board

Use heavy-duty 9-gauge galvanized steel staples and pound them in with a hammer every 2 to 3 in. around the edge to keep the basket securely fastened to the board.

Step 7: Plant the basket

Now for the fun part — planting your succulents and sedums! Most of your plants will probably come from the garden center or try online sources such as Succulent Gardens. But you can also dig or cut a few pieces of ground cover sedums (Sedum spp. and hybrids) or hen and chicks (Sempervivum spp. and hybrids) from your garden to help fill in the gaps. These plants are good fillers since they grow quickly.

cutting-insert-coco-liner: To make a hole to plant in, poke the blades of a garden shears into the liner to cut a slit 3 to 4 in. long.

Cut a planting hole

Coco liners are so dense that you can’t just pull them apart with your fingers — use scissors or a garden shears to make a hole instead. That makes it easier to pull back the sides and create a planting space.

add-plants-through-inserts: If the potting mix falls apart, like it did for this echeveria (*Echeveria* hybrid), just slip the roots into the prepared hole right away so they don’t dry out.

Plant in the prepared hole

Once you have a spot in the liner ready, tip the plant gently out of its nursery pot. If the root ball stays intact, you may need to gently squeeze the root ball or shake some of the soil off to get it in the planting hole.

Use a variety of leaf shapes and colors for a good-looking basket. Some succulents, like echeveria (Echeveria hybrid) keep their rosette form all season. Others, like duncecap (Orostachys boehmeri), have a spreading habit.

secure-succulent-with-staple: Push the landscape staple in gently so you don’t damage the leaves.

Step 8: Add extra support

Since this basket will be hanging on a wall, some of the plants might need help initially to stay in place. Keep top-heavy succulents secure by gently pushing a landscape staple over a leaf or two.

Handle succulents with care

Be careful when you’re handling succulents. It’s easy to break a stem or leaf off. You can root the broken piece and the parent plant will grow just fine. But it will affect the shape of the plant since the missing piece usually won’t grow back or the stem will branch from the broken point.

Add succulent leaf cuttings

You can also take some leaf cuttings from a jade plant (Crassula ovata) — they root pretty easily. Just snap a leaf from the parent plant. Let it dry in the shade for a few days to form a callous. Then stick the leaf into the liner so it makes contact with the potting mix.

succulent-wall-art-after: Leave the basket sitting flat, like it is here, and water thoroughly.

Step 9: Water in your succulent wall planter & let settle

After you've watered the planting thoroughly, give the plants a week or so laying flat in a sheltered spot, out of direct sun to get settled in and start growing roots, before hanging it up.

Step 10: Hang your succulent wall planter

Where you place your living wall art makes a difference—too much sun can scorch the foliage of some succulents while not enough will change the color of others or cause them to stretch. Choose a place that gets morning sun or bright dappled shade and most will do fine.

How to care for your succulent wall planter

You shouldn’t have to water your succulents more than once a week, even in the heat of summer. They’re drought-tolerant and will rot with too much water. You may need to take the planter off the wall to get an even application with the hose. Or use a watering wand that has a gentle shower setting. If you expect several days of rain, move your living art to a sheltered spot so it doesn't become water-logged.

It is possible to overwinter this planting in cold climates. However, most succulents stretch and get gangly even under grow lights so your best bet is to disassemble it in fall and start fresh again the following spring.

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Published: Oct. 29, 2020
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