Succulent Wall Planter | How to Build a Vertical Garden

Succulent Wall Planter | How to Build a Vertical Garden

This post brought to you by Miracle-Gro. All opinions are 100% mine.

Once the weather breaks I can not wait to get my hands in the dirt. While I’m inspired and intrigued by any living plant I can tuck in and around our garden – I am always looking for simple ways to incorporate them elsewhere outdoors. Today I’m working on our deck and put together this succulent wall planter to bring some green life to the space.

Succulent Wall Planter
Garden succulents are one of my favorite perennials and while there are a few that are finicky – there are many that are reliable and very easy to care for. Don’t let their intricate beauty fool you – anyone can maintain and showcase a wall full of these beauties with minimal effort. The hardest part is building the wall planter – though, that in itself is fairly basic as well. I’ve included lots of photos and details below to walk you through the process – so you’ll be ready to plant in no time.

Materials Needed:
3 Four Foot Pressure Treated Wooden Fence Pickets
4 Corner Braces
Wood Stain {optional}
Scrap Wood Pieces for Outer ‘Picture’ Frame {optional}
Galvanized Wire Chicken Netting – 2 inch weave
Galvanized Nails
Landscape Fabric
Scrap Plywood

Mixed Potting Soil {detailed below in step six}
Various Succulents {detailed below}

Tools Needed: Chop saw or Hand Saw, Nail Gun, Screw Driver, Wire Snips, Staple Gun, Hand Drill, Hammer, Nail Punch, Utility Knife

Fence Posts
STEP ONE: Begin by making the inner frame. If the planter is going to be used outdoors any pressure treated wood is fine – however, if it is intended for growing herbs consider using a non-toxic type of wood, like cedar.

I found these 4 ft. x 4 in. x 1 in. Pressure-Treated French Gothic Fence Pickets at the local Home Depot to be perfectly sized – plus they are less than $1.50 a piece.

Planter Frame
Once the size of the inner frame is determined cut the pickets accordingly, using a chop saw or hand saw.

The inner frame made for this tutorial measures 18 X 34 – so only three fence pickets were needed. Two pieces cut 18 inches long and two pieces cut 34 inches long, as shown above.

Hanging Planter Frame
Construct the inner frame by securing the top, bottom, and sides with wood glue and a nail gun – as shown in the photo above and below.

Succulent Wall Planter

Vertical Planter Frame
Attach 1″ Corner Braces to reinforce each right angle joint of the inner frame.

These are generally sold in packs of four along with the screws – opt for zinc or another rust resistance material.

Succulent Wall Planter
STEP TWO:  Stain or paint the inner frame as desired.

We also decided to make a simple mitered corner “picture” frame for the front using scrap reclaimed barn wood. This outer frame is not necessary for a completed planter, however it does help provide additional support.

Build a Vertical Garden
STEP THREE: Attach the wire chicken netting. This comes in a variety of different sized mesh weaves.

A lightweight, galvanized 2 inch hexagonal pattern works great for this planter.

Cut the wire netting –  and trim each side approximately 1 inch less than the frame itself {see photo below}.

Vertical Garden Frame
Using a staple gun attach the wire netting to the back of the outer frame.

Note: If the planter is being made without the ‘picture’ frame, the wire netting can be stapled directly to the inner frame made in step one.

Vertical Succulent Garden Frame
STEP FOUR: Attach the outer ‘picture’ frame to the inner frame.

Drill pilot holes to prevent splitting the wood.

Vertical Succulent Garden Frame
Then nail through the outer frame – directly into the inner frame -  using galvanized nails.

Succulent Garden Frame
Tap each nail head with a nail punch - so that they lay below the surface of the frame and are less visible.

Succulent Garden Frame
STEP FIVE: Line the planter with landscape fabric.

The fabric should lay right against the wire netting – and extend up a couple of inches on the inside of the planter. To hold the fabric in place staple the sides of the fabric to the frame with a staple gun.

Vertical Hanging Garden
STEP SIX: Attach hangers and drill drainage holes.

Once the planter is filled with dirt and plants it will be quite heavy – so choose hanging hardware accordingly. We used some heavy duty Eye Bolts to accommodate the weight. They are a bit massive and overkill but we had them laying around and they had a great rusted patina that went along nicely with the barn wood.

Just keep in mind the weight of the planter once it is filled – as you can see in the photo above – we started to fill the planter and had to go back and change our original hanging idea.

Hanging Garden
To attach the eye bolts, holes were drilled through the top of the frame – then the bolts were secured to the inside with washers and nuts.

At this time, small random holes can also be drilled through the bottom of the frame  to help with water drainage.

Miracle Gro Potting Soil
STEP SEVEN: Mix the potting soil.

I have had a little succulent garden outside in the yard for a couple of years now. The garden contains a mix of hen and chicks, as well as a few sedums. These have been some of the easiest plants to grow as they do not require much when it comes to soil conditions. I have planted them between rocks, in crevices and sometimes even gravel – yet they continue to multiply and survive mainly because they have adequate drainage.  Like many other succulents, well drained soil is crucial – as roots that sit in constantly damp and wet soil, will end up rotting the plant.

Since this succulent wall planter will be closed, contained and used for hen and chicks and sedums only – I mixed a few different elements together to have better control over the soil and help aid with the drainage. According to the National Capital Cactus and Succulent Society, a good potting mixture contains 1 part perlite, 1 part gravel and 2 parts potting soil.

Miracle Gro Potting Soil
I have used the following mix to fill our succulent wall planter:
2 parts Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm and Citrus Soil - contains a fast draining mixture of sphagnum peat moss, composted forest products, sand and perlite. Also contains continuous release plant food.
1 part Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix
1 part Miracle-Gro Perlite - helps prevent soil compaction in the closed container and  improves the drainage and aeration. Also excellent for starting cuttings as it promotes strong root development.
1 part Builders Sand

Miracle Gro Potting Soil
Thoroughly combine the potting mix together and completely fill the planter.

Note: Be sure the entire planter is packed with enough soil – as when the planter sits upright some of the soil will settle.

Hanging Garden
STEP EIGHT: Attach the back to the planter.

The back panel can be cut from a piece of pressure treated plywood, cedar paneling or waterproof plywood and attached to the planter with a nail gun. If the frame has been stained or painted – touch up the back panel to match.

Note: Regular 1/4 inch plywood can be used but it is not waterproof and may damage over a prolonged period of time.

Succulents
STEP NINE: Fill the wall planter with plants.

I choose a mix of hen & chicks along with a few varieties of sedum for our succulent wall planter. Hen & Chicks and Sedum are both perennials that will come back each year and considered members of the succulent family.

Stonecrop sedum is one of my favorite varieties of sedum. It is incredibly easy to grow and care for. Golden Stonecrop, White Stonecrop, Stone Orpine, Stonecrop Angelina, and Green Spruce Stonecrop were used for our succulent wall planter.

Succulents
When choosing the hens & chicks, I specifically picked those with lots of offsets (or ‘chicks’) coming from the main plant. Hen and chicks are very easy to propagate and multiply very easily. Read more about propagating hen & chicks.

Separating Succulents
The offsets should be pulled away from the main plant and left to sit overnight in a dry place. This will ensure the cut end has a chance to callous over before planting.

All of the other hens and chicks were separated as well, as the pots I picked up at the nursery were pretty packed. Since their root systems are quite shallow, the individual plants come apart fairly easy – as seen in the photo above.

Planting Succulents
Begin planting by snipping the wire netting to accommodate the roots of plant – Then slice the landscaping fabric with a utility knife to expose the potting soil. The less wire that is cut the better as it does serve as support for the plants and dirt.

Hen and chick plants do not need to be planted very deeply. Just poke a shallow hole, set the plant just under the soil and firmly pat the dirt around the base of the plant.

Planting Succulents
As you work your way around the planter, any wire that needs to be cut can be bent back into the dirt to help hold and support the plants.

Succulent Wall Planter
Once the planter is filled use a soft paint brush to gently brush away any dirt that is on the plants.

Watering Succulents
Spray the entire planter lightly with water.

Hens and Chicks
I actually keep a water bottle around just for watering potted succulents – the water bottle helps keep me from over-watering the plants, which is quite easy to do.

Succulent Wall Planter
Prior to hanging allow the planter to lay flat for 5 to 6 days. This will give the plants time to settle and establish roots – though some of the cuttings may require more time.

Vertical Wall Planter

I am in love with the way this planter turned out and can not wait to hang it in it’s new home.

Succulent Wall Planter

The colors and textures are simply fabulous and once established these plants will practically grow themselves.

As far as ongoing care – the planter should be taken down and watered once a week or when the soil is completely dried out. Be sure not to over water – I love using the water bottle as mentioned above. The plants should be watered at the base and the stream from the water bottle is perfect for this.

Wall Planter

I was inspired to showcase my love for simple-to-grow plants by creating this Succulent Wall Planter as part of  The Gro Project. Garden succulents are some of my favorite perennials as they are easy to care for, enjoyable and they come back each year with minimum requirements. Adding stylish garden plants to your decor does not have to be complicated – nor do you need that green thumb – especially with hen & chicks and stonecrop sedum. To help you start your own story and join together wth other gardners, check out these other fun garden projects from Miracle-Gro.

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Comments

  1. This turned out amazing! Thanks so much for the tutorial and inspiration!
    Suzanne
    Pieced Pastimes

  2. OHHH I Love this!!! Looks awesome!! :) Happy Monday! xo Holly

  3. This is fabulous. I’ve always wanted to make one of these and your instructions are great. Blessings, Patti@OldThingsNew

  4. WOW! That looks amazing. I’d love to try one – I have a big empty space of brick wall in my backward that would look amazing with one of these. We’re coming into winter in Australia though, so I’ll pin for later in the year. Thank you for sharing

  5. This is truly amazing, I love, love it!!! You did an outstadng job and great tutorial.

    Cynthia

  6. Beautiful, looking at your plants just massages my eyeballs.

  7. I do love this idea, but I have a question. What does it look like after one season when the perennials spread? It is very beautiful by the way : )

    • Hi Cathy, Thanks so much for your comment. This is the first year I have had the planter so I am a little anxious to see what it does over the next year. Most succulents, like the hens and chicks, are slow growing so I don’t foresee any major problems with those. They are very easy to separate if so, though. I can already see some of the sedum and ground covers that were used will have to be cut back and divided as they are rapidly filling in.

      The great thing about using succulents is their shallow root system – they are incredibly easy to propagate. Splitting or dividing the plants can simply be done with a gentle pull. You can find more information here: How to Propagate Succulents

  8. BEST INSTRUCTIONS EVER! The pictures are beautiful and appreciated. Thank you.

  9. You made it look so easy to make and it is beauitful
    My question is can these be brought inside during
    The winter I live in the northeast and have just
    Discovered succulents. I can’t wait to make this
    Thanks again

    • Hi Kathy – Thanks so much! The planter can be brought inside during the colder months – if you live in a region prone to frosts. We actually brought ours indoors this winter and just sat it in the basement. The outdoor succulents will die off during the winter – however they will reappear in the spring. Ours has almost completely filled back in!

        

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