Sedums and Succulents w/ Tutorial, Part 2

(My apologizes if you found/got only half, or actually, less than half, of the last post, Part 1, originally.  The system I use to publish these posts is called Blogger and for some reason it has taken on a self-publishing mind of its own.  After I worked on and edited various posts for three hours the other night, Blogger decided to publish half of the original Sedum and Succulent post and make the entire second half disappear into the interweb abyss.  Thus, I have had to rewrite all of what was originally the end of the first draft and dole it out in two parts.  Also, I cleaned up the end of the, now, part one, so that it has closure and doesn't just drop off into la la land.  Thanks Blogger!)

So this is the magnificent baseball pitchers ball holder!  Isn't it glorious?  For me, this has the perfect color green and just the right patina.  I need to get some rust stopping stuff to rub or spray on it so it will stay just like it is.  The moment I saw this at a yard sale, for $5, my heart did a little flip flop because I knew exactly what I would use it for.  It has been such a great planter for a variety of plants, including sedums and succulents, over the last few years.  But now that I look at it I can also envision it being used in a big bathroom to hold towels or in an art studio to hold supplies.  For now it will stay a planter though!  It has this big wire basket top on it and I knew I could use my amassed assortment of Spanish Moss to do the trick of holding in the soil and thus turning it from ball holder to cheery planter box!

Spanish Moss has the wonderful capability of being absorbent, holding moisture, and acting as a barrier so your soil wont fall out of pretty, lacy, wirey containers.  I have used it so many times and below I will show you a super easy method using it to make a planter for your own sedums, succulents or other plants.  Its so simple it's a little ridiculous to presume anyone would need to be told how but since I was making some I figured I'd document it and offer it up! 

Here is another view of my favorite deck planter and then I will show you the little galvanized "chicken food" containers hanging off of it.

The baseball planter has a variety of plants in it, ever evolving, and some sedums too.  When I am ready to do a major replanting in there, like more than a couple plants, I just take some handfuls of Spanish moss and start packing it around the sides so I can add some more compost and soil and it wont all run out thru the metal basket.  Pretty cool and its holding up well. 
Last summer I found these galvanized chicken food containers and they have a few little clips on the back that you just bend over the edge of the basket to hold them on.  When I saw these for 25 cents each, I snagged them since I knew they would be good sedum planters.  Just like all the other galvanized containers I buy, I got them home and started poking drainage holes in the bottom and then filling them up with clumps of sedums dug out of my yard.  The baseball planter was the perfect hanging spot for them!
Another great thing about sedums and succulents is that they tend to have shallow root systems so you can kind of lay them on soil, no need to dig big holes, and just kinda pack soil around them and then keep them very moist for a few weeks.  And having shallow roots, it seems that every little piece you pull off will have a least one little root attached to it so you can mix and match and plant different bits here and there to get  a nice blend.  Shallow roots lend themselves to shallow planters so you can find all kinds of interesting shallow containers to use for planting sedums and they make great gifts!

Below I will give you a peek of my favorite galvanized planter on the front deck.  I probably just should have thrown this in the last post, Part 1, but  wanted to give it its due!

This beauty is a galvanized tool caddy!  Or was.  I love it!  Now it's my favorite galvanized piece, and we all know, now, how much I love galvy!
See how the "handle bar" is a long narrow trough?  So cool.  And it lends itself to being planted with sedums, especially, since like I said before, you can just lay your little tiny pieces of sedum in there, mix and match and blend and end up with an array of color and texture. 
The bottom was divided into 8 compartments so I tried to put a piece of each of the sedums I was using in each of the spaces.  You wouldn't believe how sparse and not full this planter looked when I made it.  I thought it would never fill in but by the end of last summer it was full and robust, brimming with color and blooms. 
Here is a close up.

Originally I thought I would make this and sell it at the antique mall but I have gone and gotten all precious about it and now I am finding it hard to let go of.  I guess I'm not ready yet.  Maybe by the end of this summer I will be able to let it go to a new home. 

Up next I have a quick little photo tutorial for you on how you can use Spanish moss to make sweet and pretty planters. First I will show you the very small, cone shaped, hanging wire baskets I was planting.  I have two of them so they will look nice hanging one on each side of somewhere:
This is fairly small, like handful size.  You might be able to get a better glimpse of the top hooky thingy in the following photos.

Here are the supplies you need to have gathered:

  1. as many open weave, wire type planters as you want to fill

  2. a combo of soil and compost.  I also always water mine in with organic liquid fish fertilizer since that's what I have on hand and use on all my potted plants so you may want to have some fertilizer handy too.

  3. as much Spanish moss as you can get your hands on, or at least a bag full for a couple small planters.  For some reason I am always finding moss at tag sales so I have quite the assortment and just keep using up what I have.  I am sure you can get it at hardware or home improvement/garden centers though.  (There may be some controversy as to the harvesting of said Spanish Moss so it makes me feel better, somehow, to buy it second hand.  Go figure!)
4.   sedums and succulents!  Like I said, I just go dig mine from many various places around my yard and gardens but you can get them at stores or you could beg, barrow, or steal some from a friend, neighbor or foe!  Take your pick!

This is a bag of Spanish moss.  Depending on what size planter you have, you may need one to several handfuls.  Also, depending on the spacing of the wire or weave on your container, you may need more or less.  I use as little as I can get away with and that has always been enough.  You may get a little soil leakage at first but that's to be expected.  As long as ALL your soil isn't pouring out when you water your planter, your fine.  So start with a handful and go from there.

Here is some Spanish moss out of the bag.  For my small planters, I used less than a handful.  When you open the bag and try to rip a handful out, you may find that it is all bound together.  You can rip or pull it apart or even cut it with your sheers. 

Here you can see how much moss I used around the inside edges of the basket and then how I filled it with soil.  When you start with the moss, begin lightly packing it around all the sides and bottom of your container.  Like I said before, you don't need a ton of moss.  Go lite at first and then take a look at it.  Are there big gaps anywhere?  Is it super thick in some spots and thin in others?  Tease the moss apart as much as possible so you aren't "wasting" it and even out the moss thickness too.  These little hanging cones didn't take much soil but your next step is to introduce the soil to the moss lined container and see how they get along!  Does your soil pour out somewhere, even before you try to water it?  That would be a problem but totally fixable.  Just push the soil aside or dump/pour it out and pack more moss in the thin spots.  Once you are comfortable with the way the moss lined container is holing the dry soil, you are ready to lay in your sedums.

Here is my clump of sedums I plucked out of my garden.  This was enough for both of my small planters so I just teased this clump apart into two equalish sizes and was ready to "plant" the sedum.

Here is the "laying on of sedum!"  See how a few of the sedum pieces are hanging over the sides and look loose and wily?  Well I just used my finger to tuck those in so they will get a good rooted start.  With some trailing sedums you could leave some falling over the edges but with these type, I tucked them in for good measure.  You are almost finished!  Now you just need to give a nice bold soaking of water.  I don't think you can over-water these little guys so dose them up real good!  I use my fish fertilizer water here so they get a nice jolt of nutrition to get them on their merry growing way.


Now you can just look around and find a nice little spot to hang your basket or place you container and watch it grow and fill in.  If you are using more than one kind of sedum or succulent, leave just a little space around them so they have space to multiply.  They will multiply no matter what, and they will push and mass together and look like they have always been there, like a bright mosaic or carpet of color and texture, but its nice to give them a little starting space so they have room to root and bind in.
Here is the other one.  Kinda hard to see the cone shape here.  Right now these are hanging off the baseball planter while they root in but they may end up hanging near each side of a walkway in the back, if they don't get given as gifts. 
My next step in blog land is to set up a photos account with one of the main sites so when we make these projects we can post/share pictures of our finished items for all to see!  I will work on that and let you know.....
I hope you have fun making some planters this spring and summer!  Let me know if you do and how it all went!

Do what you do, plant something, be happy, and be bright!