Monday, April 5, 2010

Hanging Succulent Gardens

In theory I love hanging containers. In reality I seem doomed to destroy them.

There was a set of two chartreuse rectangular planters I bought on sale at Pier One ridiculously cheap. First I broke the small one planting in it, then large one when moving it inside to protect from a freeze. I hung it on a nail in the garage, turned away and heard it crash to the floor and shatter, I almost cried.

Then I bought a set of orangey-red hanging orbs from IKEA, only one is left…the soil in the other froze, expanded, and broke the container.

Besides breaking them my other problem is what to plant in them. I don’t like the standard issue petunia and fuchsia business. I thought maybe potato vine would be nice. I love the colors and leaf shapes of potato vine and it usually thrives for me, but when I plant it in a hanging container it just looks pathetic.

I was ready to give up on the whole idea when it hit me, succulents! The remaining orange orb has the smallest little opening, just about the size of the Agave Shira ito no Ohi I bought at the Yard Garden & Patio show in February. What a great way to showcase this little agave right?My other container is also an IKEA purchase from a few years back, it has a much larger opening and I thought it would be perfect filled with small succulents and aloe babies.

When this idea was fresh in my mind (but I had yet to actually act on it) I stopped at Home Depot to get some paint chips. Of course I had to visit the nursery department too and they had a great selection of little potted succulents. I couldn’t resist and started choosing a few to fill my container. Just look at them...
The cutest little agaves and aloes too…
Then it hit me…I had what I needed at home I didn’t need to buy more plants I just needed to be creative. In the end I bought only Blue Chalk Sticks (Senecio mandraliscae) for $2.59 and put the rest back.
I supplemented a few agave and aloe pups a couple of the plants from the “get well” containers I received when I broke my ankle, some of them needed more space and the opportunity to move outside anyway.

Here it is nearing completion…
I like it, but something is missing, I decided it needs a little contrast. So I grabbed my Aeonium Schwarzkopf. It had several small “branches” that were getting a little leggy.
I decided to cut them off and use them, plus (hopefully) it will re-grow new rosettes from the severed stem, it happened before! The contrast works, a few purple/black “blooms” set off the silver/blue foliage wonderfully.
Some of you are probably thinking the container is way overplanted right? It is…but that’s my style. I wanted instant impact….summer is to short here to wait for months for it to fill in.Shortly after planting I brought them outside to enjoy a sunny afternoon, but since the temps are still dipping into the mid to high 30’s and low 40’s at night it will be awhile before they assume their permanent positions outside for the season.


  1. The red orb is brilliant. I have a wall pocket that has been a challenge, but potato vine proved the perfect solution: two of the chartreuse ones and a 'blackie' spill over the edges charmingly, and since it is at the very back of the deck next to the door, it doesn't grow fast enough to get scraggly.

  2. These are gorgeous! I love the white container. It's beautiful. I really need to get more "poke your eye out" plants. I have a new found love of succulents and the hen and chicks and sedum I planted in the fall are doing well. I love your containers with their "impact". The white against the house with all that pop inside looks great. I'll have to look out for cute hanging containers in IKEA on my next (hopefully soon) visit.

  3. Really like the bright red hanging pot. Have never been a hanging pot person, mainly because it seems like you always need to be squirting water at them. Then, just recently, I too thought of succulents. And now you managed to reinforce the the idea!

  4. The red one looks like a little tomato in that last picture. Nice containers

  5. Gorgeous!!! i may need to try some more purple aeonium (which I had tried desperately in the past to keep alive) again! I have a dish garden and that color is such a great accent...I need to add some!!!

  6. Oooh la la! I love it--especially the hooks that you used to hang them. Where'd you get them?


  7. Just beautiful!!! Let me introduce you to Debra Baldwin!! You have to get her books. Stunning and informational and she is a lovely person. I've got the books! She knows succulents. You can hug me later ;)

  8. What striking containers - and I LOVE the purple 'blooms' that will reroot themselves. I have mixed feelings about containers, too, and I'm going without them in the front this year. I can't keep up with watering, so I'm throwing in the towel for now.

  9. Hi Loree~~ Not only that but sure as $hitt this freaking wind would knock them over. You did a fabulous job. I like my plantings packed tightly too. One thing I did recently was plant a purple flowered Vinca minor in a container. They hang, they're evergreen and they're low maintenance--just like me.

    Do you visit Amy @ "Go Away I'm Gardening"? She's got a cool Agave planting that made me think of you. Here's the link if you're interested.

  10. I'm loving that combo of dark green succulent and hot orange red pot :) Also the spikiness over the roundness

  11. I can't believe you would consider planting anything but a succulent in a hanging basket. :-)

  12. succulents save the day. Cool color for that pot too. Matti

  13. Lovely - the aeoenium sure is a nice contrast!

  14. I have succulent envy now!!! Gorgeous! I love the elegance and simplicity. Thanks you :)

  15. ricki, so have you managed to over winter it, the potato vine? I was really surprised when I saw that my mother has overwintered a few inside her house!

    Wendy, you do need more "poke your eye out" plants! Everyone does, they are so full of drama and impact.

    RBell, perfect! So are you shopping?

    Andrew, you are so right. I can't remember what I had planted in it previously, maybe the chartreuse potato vine, but everyone who saw it made that observation.

    Julie, I am jealous of those that can get that particular Aeonium to grow 8" across, I've not had such luck.

    Anon S, the hooks on the wall are actually curtain rod hangers from West Elm. I couldn't find any hooks for this purpose that I liked so I decided to cheat. Glad you like them!

    flowergardengirl, Thanks! But I already know Debra...she spoke at the Yard Garden and Patio show here in Portland in 2009 (I think it was) and I own her book "Designing with Succulents" and I have her new book on hold at the Library. I can't wait to read it!

    VW, you've got so much going on right now with your front garden make-over that throwing in the towel this year sounds like a wise choice.

    Grace, good point! They would probably end up smashing into each other or the house and breaking! So...low Really? I guess all the pink kind of had me thinking you might tend a little towards the "princess" side of things! (no insult intended)...I am going to go check out Amy's agaves now...thank you for the tip!

    Mary, thanks! I thought the spiky vs. round was a nice contrast too!

    faroutflora, perhaps succulents are the answer for all of our design dilemmas?

    Evelyn, thanks!

    beth, succulent-envy...that's good! :)

  16. never even thought of trying to save the potato vines. they're cheap and the house is already crowded, but now you've got me thinking. oh dear


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