Kris
Kris
  • Hometalker
  • New Zealand

Pallet Wood Vertical Planting With Succulents


I love succulents and I also love to upcycle, so putting these two together has been a very rewarding journey. I always get lovely reactions from people who had seen it for the first time.
pallet wood vertical planting, gardening, pallet, repurposing upcycling, succulents
You will need:
- pallet (just dismantle the whole thing any way you can)
- mini wire mesh panels with 12mm x 12mm squares
- landscaping cloth
- 3 empty water bottles (I used 350ml bottles, as they are skinny enough to fit inside the frame).
- sheet of plywood for backing
- selection of succulent plants

Unfortunately I didn't take any earlier photos but I this photo with some outline drawn in will help give an idea of what lies underneath all the succulents.

Once you've dismantled your pallet wood, make it into a rectangular shaped frame and finish it with the plywood backing. I ended up with a 1.2m x 48cm frame, so it's quite big. Add in a couple pieces of wood vertically as if you're creating three separate planting surfaces. This makes it sturdier and also easier to attach the wire mesh to it later on. At this stage, you can quickly dab on some decking stain to protect the wood.
pallet wood vertical planting, gardening, pallet, repurposing upcycling, succulents
Cut 3 holes around 2.5cm diameter at the top of pallet and screw in the plastic bottles to the inside of the frame just below where the holes are. This is to aid watering the plants without having to take down the frame. The above photo shows the holes already in place, but you would need to do this when you've finished constructing the frame before you put in the soil etc.
pallet wood vertical planting, gardening, pallet, repurposing upcycling, succulents
The bottles that go inside the frame are cut out like this. Make some pinholes on the side of the bottle as well as the cap. Just remove some of the flaps in order to make it fit inside the frame.
pallet wood vertical planting, gardening, pallet, repurposing upcycling, succulents
Attach the bottle to the inside of the frame by screwing the cut out flaps to it. Position each bottle underneath the 2.5cm diameter holes. I'm doing this to the underside of my desk, but I hope you get the idea.
pallet wood vertical planting, gardening, pallet, repurposing upcycling, succulents
Line the inside of the frame with some plastic cover (those black bin liners will do). Add in the soil, making sure it is fairly compacted. Then put over your landscape cloth and staple where necessary, followed by the wire mesh. It is much easier to cut the wire mesh to size first as it needs to be folded in to the inside of the frame to make it look tidy, so a bit of fiddling here. Use staples and nails to secure it in place, just make sure you use hard wearing gloves when doing this. Get some succulent cuttings from your garden (or beg, steal or 'borrow' from your family, friends or neighbours). Ideally it is best to leave them for a few days before planting them. But if you're like me and a bit impatient, you may just get away with cutting them and planting them straight in. I did this when I ran out of succulents that I'd cut a few days earlier. And they seemed to be fine. :) Now the fun begins... I used a pair of scissors with a sharp end (much like the hairdresser's) and just snipped at the landscape cloth, and then used a pencil to make a hole, and pushed through the succulents. You can snip off parts the wire mesh with a wire cutting plier if a bigger hole is needed for a bigger plant.
pallet wood vertical planting, gardening, pallet, repurposing upcycling, succulents
I didn't have enough plants to cover the whole frame but it doesn't really matter as the succulents will just grow and cover the entire frame eventually. It won't happen overnight, but it will happen! Once you've got your plants in, then just leave for a couple of weeks or longer in a covered area (I had mine in the garage) before putting it up on your garden wall. Try not to water them at this stage.
pallet wood vertical planting, gardening, pallet, repurposing upcycling, succulents
This is what it looks like now, and still looking pretty good after 6 months. I have since added some sphagnum moss around the edges of the frame. In the last six months or so, I've only watered this 3 times but this is coming on to winter season here in New Zealand. The rain collected through the holes was more than sufficient, and being on an upright position, any excess water quickly drains away leaving the best growing condition for the succulents. In fact, they seemed to thrive so much better than the ones I have in the ground.
pallet wood vertical planting, gardening, pallet, repurposing upcycling, succulents
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Have a question about this project?

9 questions
  • Joni A Solis
    on Jun 17, 2016

    What kind of soil did you use for this project? Does it require any special kind? Thanks! I came out wonderful looking!

    • Kris
      on Jun 17, 2016

      Hi Joni, Thanks for your kind comment. I didn't use any special soil at all, in fact I used soil that were previously used elsewhere, and I added a bit of sand to make it more free draining. It's survived two summers and still looking pretty good.

  • Joni A Solis
    on Jun 17, 2016

    Are the succulents you used cold hardy or do you need to protect them in the winter months? Thanks! I bought a couple of succulents from Walmart but when I looked them up for more info on the ones I bought I found out that they were tropical ones. By the way, I did put them outside for the summer and the deer or something ate them all the way to the ground. :(

    • Kris
      on Jun 17, 2016

      Hi Joni, I live in Auckland, New Zealand and the weather is probably rather favourable here, so I didn't need to protect my succulents at all in winter. Perhaps try a smaller version first and see if can over winter where you live. :)

    • LIRR1926
      on Apr 22, 2018

      Hardiness will depend on the variety. Those at Wallmart are probably ones that are fast growers and being sold as house plants. Try to find a quality nursery where they will know about growing zones and can select plants for you.

  • Chandra Denise DeVaul
    on Apr 22, 2018

    How often do you have to water succulents?

    • Sheryl Gilliland
      on Apr 22, 2018

      Water rarely. If the soil mix is dry- water sparingly. If you are in high humidity areas 3-4 times a year. In normal 1 time a monthin the summer, every other month in winter.

    • Depends on your location. I am in a hot, dry climate, less than 10% humidity and I water a few times a week or on an as needed basis. If they start to shrivel and wither, they need water. In more humid climates, they take far less water.

    • Chandra Denise DeVaul
      on Apr 22, 2018

      I live in NC, so if I decide to get these little guys, I suppose I need to water them once a month or so? Or just check how moist the soil is?

    • Kris
      on Apr 22, 2018

      It would depend on where you live. I rarely water them in winter, and maybe once or twice a week in summer if it hasn’t been raining.

  • Birdz of a Feather
    on Apr 22, 2018

    I'm not really understanding the purpose of the water bottles. Do you have to pour water into those holes to water the planter? Or do you rely on natural rain water to fill it so it's essentially self watering? Also, how do you have enough soil depth where the water bottles are located; isn't it an obstruction for the roots of the plants?

    • Barb in Texas
      on Apr 22, 2018

      Yes, the bottles are a clever way of making it easy to water, how else could you water something that's hung vertically without causing the dirt to wash out? It's never a good idea to rely on rain to be the right amount for a potted plant.

    • Shannon Murphy Jensen
      on Apr 22, 2018

      but couldn't you just water thru the drilled holes and leave the plastic water bottle out?


    • Cathy Gutfreund
      on Apr 22, 2018

      I grow succulent walls and what I do is I just take them down every few weeks and water them thoroughly but in between I use the Mist setting on my hose and just stand there and mist the succulents with a cuppa coffee and enjoy the beauty

    • Kris
      on Apr 22, 2018

      The water bottles also help to water the succulents more slowly instead of it just flowing through straight out the bottom.

  • Bycjeanmaq
    on Apr 22, 2018

    Can this be done indoors?

    • Cathy Gutfreund
      on Apr 22, 2018

      Succulents need a lot of light or they will get leggy and also be very careful because the moisture will go through the back and could ruin your wall. There are some commercially made planters to put indoors, but I would be careful


    • Kris
      on Apr 22, 2018

      Thoroughly agree with Cathy on this one. Although I t is quite possible, it would be rather messy because you will need to water them. I’ve seen smaller ready made frames, so you can easily take it out and water them, then make sure they are fairly dry before popping it back on your wall.

  • Dgl9291386
    on Apr 22, 2018

    Would the dirt wash out over time? I am thinking it will since it not like a regular pot.


    • Bev
      on Apr 22, 2018

      I think that is what the weed barrier fabric is for, it goes right behind the wire and should keep all the soil in place.

    • Kris
      on Apr 22, 2018

      The weed cloth actually keeps the soil in place.

  • Mpv26632059
    on Apr 22, 2018

    Sorry can't make sense of how the succulents are potted and it stays in. Maybe half the chicken wire so I can see underneath?

    • Monalisa Harris
      on Apr 23, 2018

      First is plastic liner, then dirt, then landscaping cloth, then chicken wire, then u make a small slit in landscaping cloth and maybe chickenwire to accomodate the succulent root and you will water from hole in top but water will come out bottle slow due to pin holes. Hope this helps

    • Kris
      on Apr 23, 2018

      Thanks Monalisa, you've worded it perfectly.

    • Mpv26632059
      on Apr 23, 2018

      Finally got it. Fabulous.

  • Sandra Fedako
    on Apr 22, 2018

    Uses for plaster lath ?

  • C m Edmonds
    on Apr 23, 2018

    Beautiful project, but I don't believe succulents are very inexpensive in the U.S. What do you do with them in the winter?

    • Kris
      on Apr 23, 2018

      Thanks!

      A cheap option is to take cuttings, so just ask your friends or neighbours. And it is actually easier to plant the cuttings (that has been left to harden for a few days) into the vertical frame then it is to plant the more established plants with roots.

      In winter, I just leave them as they are. But we're in Auckland, New Zealand, and the winters here are considerably mild.

    • Galina
      on Apr 24, 2018

      Look for hen and chicks, when you see one that has babies hanging over the sides, buy that one, then remove the babies and replant them. For a small project you only need 3-4 to get started and then you can add to it when you see people that have them, ask for a cutting, when I was in the US, people Always stopped by my gardens to talk and I was Always giving away clippings, (IT NEVER HURTS TO ASK). Most gardeners love to share, my grandmother Always said a plant shared with love made her gardens grow.

    • Jinx Mitchell
      on May 3, 2018

      They weather fine during the winter. I live in Colorado and we get done to 25 below and my chicks and hens come back ever year!

    • Lisa Walker Fitschen
      on May 3, 2018

      Ty come back bigger, stronger and more beautiful than ever years after year I believe they strengthen year to year due to being exposed to Minnesota/ Wisconsin winters

    • Dee
      on May 3, 2018

      We live in the south but had numerous days of snow and ice this winter! We had one week that neve got above freezing. Sadly I lost many of my plants BUT the succulents survived!!! They are very durable! Maybe you could cover them with an old bedspread or blanket for added protection???

    • Jennifer Thompson
      on Jul 4, 2018

      I’m in Massachusetts and the He s and Chicks in my converted birdbath-to-planter overwinter outdoors and come back strong in spring. In fact, they’re one of the earlier plants to show signs of happiness.

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