DIY for your garden
It’s no secret that succulents are having a huge moment right now, and I’d like to share with you a couple of ideas for a quick and easy project that makes the most of these hardy, low maintenance evergreen plants in just a few hours. They look fantastic in the garden, in a porch or conservatory, and inside your house, and there are a number of great choices of container and style, so you’ll have plenty of flexibility in terms of where you’d like yours to go.
Succulents are a great option for use in hanging baskets because they’re happy outside all year round, and require very little maintenance to keep them going. The young or mature plants can be purchased from most garden centres (or maybe ask around if any green-fingered friends have any spare baby plants from propagating!).
Some fab ideas for compact, basket-growing succulents include:
Aoenium: with long, luscious striped leaves and a strong upright growth habit, this plant is perfect for adding some height to the basket, and there are a range of colours to choose from too.
Sedum: with petite, perfectly-formed rosettes of leaves, this low-growing succulent is perfect for creating bedding for your basket. Plant near the edge and in slits in the bottom of the liner for attractive trailing stems.
Echeveria: this chunky, rounded plant has pointed leaves with an attractive purplish tint, great for adding a shot of colour to your arrangement.
Cotyledon: hailing from South Africa, this pretty plant grows in upward stems with unusual opposing leaves. Great for springtime colour as they sprout beautiful coral blooms!
Select sturdy metal hanging baskets for this task – succulents can get heavy! Make sure that you line your baskets with coco fibre or moss rather than plastic and make sure to add some slits, as the succulents you’ll be planting up really don’t like to have wet feet. Good, fast drainage is essential to avoid soggy, slimy brown plants. Fill the baskets with cactus soil or a lighter type of soil mixed with pumice or fine gravel to aid draining – a light soil is essential so that the basket isn’t at risk of falling if the soil gets soaked and heavy with rain!
You’ll have purchased your succulents in pots, so plant them in at the same depth as they were growing in that pot. Agitate the roots to get rid of excess soil and let the plants know they’re moving to a new home. Plant larger and taller-growing succulents in the centre of the pot to create a pleasing shape, and use smaller types like sedum around the edges and in small holes in the sides of the liner for a lovely trailing effect.
Note: it’s a good idea not to over-plant the basket to start with, as if a succulent is starved of light the leaves can become widely spaced and the plant loses its naturally lovely shape. Additionally, many succulents as they thrive propagate or ‘pup’ of their own accord, sprouting baby versions of themselves that can be added to the arrangement as it matures – so why not leave them a bit of space?
Hang your basket using sturdy chains, and water once or twice a week in warmer, drier weather, as well as feeding occasionally. If some plants start to get a bit bolshy, they may need pruning to maintain their shape. If you break the leaves cleanly from the stem, they can be used to propagate – there are loads of really helpful tutorials online if you’d like to know more about this. In terms of maintenance, these hanging baskets are really simple.
Some other great ideas for succulent planters include strawberry pots (the big clay pots with holes in the sides) and even a metal bird cage – this looks really effective with trailing stems cascading out! If you’re keen to bring a succulent arrangement into your home, consider keeping the baskets much smaller with perhaps just one or two plants, and hanging in pretty macrame holders. Why not give this simple project a go?