Succulents look great huddled together in a living wall, and they’re low maintenance too.
As natives to all sorts of arid areas around the world, succulents have developed fascinating plant shapes, leaf forms and unique colours. This uniqueness gives them an otherworldly appearance that works remarkably well in a living wall. If planted in a moveable system, they can easily be shifted indoors in colder weather so the living wall can be enjoyed all year.
What you need
Plants - these work well in vertical gardens:
Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)
Hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum tectorum or Echeveria elegans)
Jade plant (Crassula ovata)
Medicine plant (Aloe vera)
Pink vygie (Lampranthus blandus)
Plush plant (Echiveria pulvinata)
Senecio (Senecio Spp)
Stonecrop (Sedum acre)
1 living wall planter (Try Minigarden, £42.99, from Garden Beet, www.gardenbeet.com)
Screwdriver and screws
Cactus or succulent soil mix
What you do
1. Use a trowel to fill the planter with soil mix.
2. Measure an appropriate amount of organic fertilizer into the soil; mix well.
3. Plant the succulents carefully into the soil, being gentle to prevent stem breakage.
4. Water well.
5. Hang the planter on the wall, according the manufacturer’s instructions.
How to care for your vertical garden
Watering: succulents are drought tolerant, but they appreciate generous summer watering. Let the soil dry out between waterings. Overwatered plants can be mushy, discolored, rotted, and limp; leaves will often turn white, completely losing their colour. Under-watered plants will stop growing, turn brown in spots, and then drop their leaves. Consistent, even waterings with time to dry out in between drinks will ensure a healthy plant.
Temperature: these tough plants can thrive at temperatures as low as 5C at night, but prefer day temperatures in the range of 20–30C and average nightly temperatures no lower than 10–12C. This makes them excellent candidates for most balconies or patios during the summer.
Light: bright, even light is best as succulents scorch when in direct sun, and turn leggy when out of it. Many walls, fences, and gates have bright light conditions without direct light, making them an excellent location for succulents.
Drainage: plants in quick-draining soil made for cactus and succulents. If you cannot find this, mix one part potting soil, one part perlite, and one part course builder’s sand in a bucket.
Feed: fertilise during the summer with an organic fertiliser recommended for cactus or succulents.
Where to buy
Most garden centres sell succulents. Surreal Succulents (www.surrealsucculents.co.uk) has a good selection of echeveria, sedum and crassula, from £3.95 per plant, which can be ordered online. Also try Easy Cactus (www.easycactus.co.uk), which sells various succulents including echeveria and crassula.
Adapted from Grow a Living Wall by Shawna Coronado (Quarto, £16.99)