Succulents and vertical planters team up to provide a number of benefits. Succulents require less water than traditional garden plants, and they’re relatively low maintenance. Vertical planters add interest to otherwise plain walls and fences, and save valuable ground space. Put the two together and you have a planter with a wow factor that doesn’t require its own full-time gardener.
If you know a few tips, you can create a wide variety of vertical succulent planters yourself for a portion of the cost of buying commercial vertical planters.
1. Use small crates, shadow boxes, painting frames or simple wooden boxes as your planter’s base. Choose a box to create your planter that’s roughly 2 inches (5 cm) deep, as deeper planters may lead to compacting, shifting and sinking soil.
2. Cover the top of your planter in 1/4-inch (6 mm) mesh wire hardware cloth. It holds your plants and soil in place while still giving them room to grow and spread out.
3. Use plants that all have similar care instructions. It takes more than one season for your plants to grow and fill out the planter box, so they’ll need overwintered. Understand that some succulents must go through a dormant period, some succulents will withstand cold temperatures and others must be kept indoors. Plan accordingly.
4. Leave the vertical planter on a flat surface for two to three months before you hang it or your plants may not develop the strong root systems they need to both survive and avoid falling out of the planter.
5. Skip watering your vertical succulent garden for a week after planting to let the roots harden and establish their place in the soil. Water weekly in the summer and spring, and monthly in the winter and fall. Use less water for winter feedings. Take the whole planter down off the wall, and lay it on a flat surface to avoid washing away the soil inside.
6. Fertilize with a mix of one part liquid houseplant fertilizer to four parts water once per month during the summer growing season and once over the winter.
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