How To Make A Vertical Succulent Planter

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Vertical planters have been all the rage lately, and I wanted to try one, but the ones for sale are expensive!  Since I had some scrap wood sitting around doing nothing besides getting in the way, I decided to see if I could build anything decent for a more modest price.

I had some 2x2 redwood, which is 1 3/8" x 1 3/8" (3.5 cm x 3.5 cm).  I cut 4 pieces, each 12" (30.5 cm) long.  Another water resistant wood is cedar;  if I had cedar lying around I would have used that. 

Using galvanized deck screws...
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...I screwed the pieces together to make a strong frame...
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...for the backing I used redwood bender board.   This may turn out to be a mistake--plywood is much stronger, but I didn't have the right kind of saw to cut big sheets of plywood...
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Tongue-and-groove fencing might have been better, but hey, it's an experiment.  Time will tell.  I used finishing nails to secure the backing to the frame...
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...creating a shallow box.  Now I need some wire hardware cloth with 1/2" square openings (~13 mm) and some redwood laths to secure the hardware cloth  to the front of the shallow box:
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And the same small finishing nails  to secure the laths...
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...and since I had some leftover deck stain...
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...the stain will help preserve the wood somewhat from the ravages of water.   Plus, it looks nice. 
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A couple of eye-hooks and a piece of wire for hanging and it was done.

After the deck stain was thoroughly dry, I filled my planter with a potting mix intended for succulents, and added some Echeveria imbricata and Sedum cuttings.  Mostly Sedum:  S. album 'Nigra' and S. makinoi 'Ogon'.  Sedum is going to be about the best plant for such a shallow container.   Hopefully it will form a dense blanket that highlights the Echeveria before the Echeveria gets too big.  I'll keep the planter horizontal for a while, until the plants have (hopefully!) rooted.  A little growth from the Sedums and the wire mesh will be covered, and the potting soil will (hopefully!) not all fall out when I raise the planter to a vertical position.

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Well...it's an experiment!  The laths and bender board and nails are what I had to buy, enough for two planters, and that cost $7, or $3.50 per planter.  I already had the rest of the stuff lying around.  However, even buying all of the material it is maybe $10 for one planter.  The ones I saw for sale, although undoubtedly better, were $60-$100, plus tax and shipping.  For $3.50 I'm willing to experiment, plus I got rid of some odds and ends that were sitting in the garage getting dusty and taking up space.  It took me about 30 minutes to build and stain two planters.    It would have taken a lot more time if I had used a hand saw:  like forever, because it would not have happened.  Hand saws and I don't work well. 

I'll update in a month or so as to whether or not the plants grow and end up looking good. 

Comments

  1. Well I think that turned out just dandy !

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  2. WOW...you do a great step by step and the end result is very impressive. I do believe I will be trying this myself in the spring. Just the thing to hang on the back of our ugly garage.

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  3. Thanks for the demo. I think you could take your ideas and make a bunch of different kinds of planters. The vertical wall systems I've seen have been jaw-droppingly expensive. Thanks for a version that's within reach for most of us!

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  4. Sweet project ... now if only I thought I could do this without injury ... do you have any to sell?

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  5. I'm going to make some extras, Rancho, and would be glad to make you some...just let me figure out how to email you. Next week okay? This Thanksgiving stuff is hectic.

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  6. Hi there - you have definitely inspired me to make one of these with redwood 2x2s. I also picked up some super cheap large wooden frames at the local thrift store, just tack the chicken wire in where the glass usually goes and the plywood on the very back. Another trick that worked great for me was adding a layer of sphagnum moss right behind the mesh... just to help hold in the soil a bit better. Again - awesome how-to!!! Thanks!

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  7. Carolyn and Brian, happy to be of some use. Excellent ideas you have about the moss, and using thrift store frames is inspired! You can get some great looks that way.

    My Platycerium mount uses a sheet of palm fiber to hold the mix in--that's another way to go, if you have palm fiber sheets available.

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