Succulent Sphere - Trial round

soonergirl1968(7a OKC)June 20, 2010

I bought 2 wire baskets ($1) and a heavy metal stand ($3) at the swap meet yesterday and decided to attempt a succulent sphere for my dad for Father's Day. He didn't really have a sunny location to hang one so I thought the stand would look nice. I just used inexpensive hens & chicks in case I killed them! LOL Anyway, I attached some pics showing the sphere as well as some hanging baskets in my dad's back yard to show the kind of baskets I used. Actually turned out pretty well. So... now I've purchased multiple varieties of mini sempervivums and sedums and I plan on making a more colorful version to hang at my house! Thanks slr8 for the idea!!! I hope you love yours as much as my dad loved his!

Here is a link that might be useful: Succulent sphere

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Soonergirl, that sphere is FABULOUS! What a lucky dad you have, and a talented and thoughtful daughter he has. :)
It really did turn out great.
Love the stand, too.

Is that your garden in the first photo, with the hanging baskets? ~envy~ I've been trying to grow nice things on my stepping stone walkway for 3 years, but so far weeds push out the pretty things.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 10:58PM
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Those turned out nice .I really like that!!!!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 11:06PM
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Good job that looks wonderful!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 1:04AM
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soonergirl1968(7a OKC)

Thank you! I know it looks pretty sparse but I'm hoping it will fill in rather quickly.

blooming_in_zone5 - Those hanging baskets are at my dad's. He has a beautiful yard! I inherited the "gardening obsession" from him :) I think the area you're referring to with the plants growing around the stepping stones is the one directly under the baskets. There is actually a small berm there with ajuga, moneywort and the stones are lying on top. He has tried to grow several mosses and miniature sedums between the walk way stones without much luck.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 8:14AM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

OMgoodness! I love that! What a wonderful job. I have bunch of rescued baskets in my crawl space. Now I want to make a flying saucer orb planter with succulents. This is a great idea!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 12:32PM
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Marlene Kindred

WOWEE!! That turned out beautifully!! And the other hanging baskets are just as gorgeous! Great job!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 12:52PM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

That is beautiful, what a lovely gift!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 2:19PM
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Great job. Your dad is a lucky guy and has a lovely yard. I'm going to have to start looking for some supplies to do one of those.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 2:38PM
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Well, I am so glad that someone was able to use the idea of the succulent sphere...I felt bad discussing it on the garden junk forum, as it is obviously not junk. Wire baskets, I doubt, count as garden junk. But I guess some junk wire baskets, sitting around a garage or basement or shed, being revitalized is a good thing. Mine really didn't turn out. I obviously am missing a key element in creating this. I bought A WHOLE bunch more hen and chicks at a greenhouse nearby. I want to try again. Do you mind giving me a run down on how you did yours? Did you use wire? Did you have the sphere created first and then stuck the roots through? I want a good idea on how to do it before I start once again. I am glad mine didn't turn out though. The hens and chicks I got ended up looking horrible (they were sitting in water too long and I didn't realize the rain had gotten to them in the bags). So they aren't even going to probably stay in my garden, let alone building one of these and having them all rot away. LOL. So its a blessing in disguise. Let's have another go, shall we?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 8:57PM
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soonergirl...yes, very lovely! I am sure your Dad loved it...& will fit in his lovely potted gardens! Beautiful project! And yes, all these creative ideas still makes it GJ in my books...whoever would have "thunk" to use 2 half baskets to make a sphere! TFS! Jeanne S.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 1:00AM
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soonergirl1968(7a OKC)

slr8 - I'm glad you posted it (even if it doesn't technically fit the GJ category I did use junk to make it :) Here is what I did...

I took each basket and lined it with a plastic hardware cloth (I don't know a better name for it - picked up yards of it at a garage sale for a $1) It's very strong but very flexible and looks like poultry netting. Probably what one would use to keep critters out of a plant. Anyway, after I lined the baskets with the mesh, I packed it about 1-2" of peat to fit the form of the basket. I then filled each basket with potting soil and packed it it very tight. I zip-tied a layer of the mesh over the top of one basket to keep the soil in place. I then flipped the basket on top of the other to form a sphere and zip-tied them together.

I then cut out sections of the netting, made little pockets in the soil with my fingers, broke apart the hens and chicks into small clumps and placed them in the holes. The plants on the sides and bottom half wanted to fall out, so I took some wire snips and cut hangers into 5-6" pieces and shaped them with a hook on the end - like a little candy cane. I used these pins to hold the plants in place until they take root. Then just watered it in real good.

I plan on making another one this weekend. I ordered 12 different varieties of hens & chicks and 9 varieties of miniature sedums off ebay to give it a little variation in color and texture. I'll fill in the empty spots with the cheaper hens & chicks from the farmer's market.

Hope that helps!! Please post a picture when you get yours finished. I'd love to see it!!!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 12:21PM
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Yeah, I am glad I posted it too. What a great father's day gift! Just perfect for him based on the pictures of his yard. I think your way would be so much easier. I heard that you can use florist pins to hold them in place, but I have never seen these and I am unsure if you can just buy them easily or not. I tried to tie each hen into place before the sphere was built. Then you are supposed to put the moss in and then the dirt. But it was just so much work and it had wire just everywhere. I had no idea how to add the next few rows, let alone the dirt. So thanks so much for the information about making the form first and then adding the hens in. Then adding wire makes sense to keep them in place. But can you explain, after you make a little hook, how did it help you keep the hen in place? Just hanging it around the hen (just under the "petals) and then on the wire mesh??? I am so glad that you are going to make one for yourself with lots of textures. Please post where we can all see it if you don't mind.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 6:02PM
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soonergirl1968(7a OKC)

slr8 - I just placed the pins anywhere I thought would hold the little suckers in! :) Sometimes it went over the stem of one of the chicks or, if there wasn't a stem, I just stuck it through the roots into the soil. If you pack the peat & soil tightly, you shouldn't have any problem getting the pins to stay in place.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 9:47PM
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nmgirl(8 S.NM)

How fun is that! Now I need to try one.
Holding "hens" in place: you might try the old fashioned hair pins, not bobby pins. Use the ones that are light wire and look like a long "u". Make a little hook in the ends and push into place supporting the plant.You can also bend them into an "L" shape for even more support. I've used these when making vertical, "picture frame" sedum plantings.
Soonergirl: I really like your method of zip tying mesh over the top of one half before flipping it. So obvious yet so clever!!!!!
I'd love to see one of these hanging, maybe there'll be one in my garden soon.
Thanks for all the how-to's.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 8:38AM
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soonergirl1968(7a OKC)

nmgirl - I hope to have one HANGING this weekend!! My plants from Ebay are on the way!! Yea!! I'll be sure and post pics!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 12:16PM
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great job!
I bet your dad was thrilled! His yard IS beautiful!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 2:45PM
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soonergirl...I love your sphere. Did you really use peat or was it the stringy sphagnum moss? Great job.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 8:13AM
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soonergirl1968(7a OKC)

Fleur - It was the sphagnum that comes in a bale. I figured it would be easier to pack. I'm sure there is an easier, more effective way of doing it but I haven't found it yet. I may try a couple things I found on the internet this weekend on my new sphere but, quite frankly, they sound like more hassle than what I did on the one for my dad. We'll see :)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 10:23AM
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Can you use the baskets that already have the peat liners in them, or is the peat too dense?

I love these and want to make one.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 10:07PM
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soonergirl1968(7a OKC)

The baskets I have seen usually have a coconut fiber lining. I suppose that would work - I really don't know. These types of succulents can grow with almost no dirt so that may work out just fine. I suppose if it was a very thin liner you could cut through so the roots could take hold in the peat/soil inside. Definitely worth a try!! If they act like they don't like it, you could always pull them out and place them in a pot. :)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 1:22PM
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one question.. the mesh over basket was the one that became the bottom?

what a neat idea.. now i'll look for these baskets now

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 6:41PM
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