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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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