Succulent Hanging Sphere

slr8June 10, 2010

I was wondering if there is anyone who has tried to make one of these succulent hanging spheres. I was hoping for pictures and tips on how to make them successfully. How much work are they to keep alive and looking good? Any information or sites would be fantastic.

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these are not hard to create nor to maintain. the only thing though is how they can provide sunlight to the plants at the bottom of the sphere. I am guessing these are hanged high enough that when the sun goes down, the bottom parts receive enough light to keep them healthy.

Do you have a ball shaped frame for these form of planting? the planting method is no differnt than any ordinary hanging plants. A liner is used (sphagnum moss), soilless mix, granular slow release fertilizers and many varieties of hens and chicks.

I made something similar this year but using non-hardy succulents, a $1 wire basket, a weed cloth as a liner and soilless mix. Still experimental. next time over I will try a different shape.

Look for instructions online for vertical gardens, living wall art, or living wreath and you'll get lots of ideas on how to form your planter

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 10:00PM
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I am thinking you could use 2 of those semi circle baskets they sell that you put fibre liners in to make the ball. You could have a clip on the end of your chain and maybe rotate it from top to bottom every so often.
We have somebody coming to talk to our Horticulture group this month about hens and chickens- there are hundreds of different types. I have the old green standbys and they take over my garden. I have been thinking of a way to expand my collection without having my garden overrun with them and maybe this is it. What a great idea. What do you think of winter hardiness here in Zone 5A?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 9:45PM
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Hi swontgirl, the thought has crossed my mind about putting together semi circle baskets.

I have hens and chicks of different varieties in one large round shallow pot on my front porch. It looks fantastic when the plants are compacted. The one thing about hens and chicks though is that the mother dies after giving off the chicks, unlike echeverias. So every so often you need to remove the dead plants and replant the area. It looks ugly just after winter. Hens and chicks do very well in 5A. I don't see any reason why they won't survive there as well.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 10:03PM
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Hi Ianna,
I also have a low flat cement planter I made using rhubarb leaves that is filled with sedums and sempervivens. I have some pretty little stones in there too and it looks really good although I find the sedums grow too fast.
I definitely don't like my hens and chicks after they flower. I go around and pull all the flowers off.
Every spring I pot up some of mine for my Horticulture Society sale and then start pulling out more and throwing them on the compost pile. They grow like crazy here.
I was wondering what you thought could be done with a hanging basket like that in ZOne 5a winters.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 6:17PM
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Hmm, well to be honest it doesn't have a good rate of survival because it's so exposed. It would experience chilling winds and everything else related to winter. My wall planter of sempervivums (not shown in the photo) died after one winter exposure.

These are one of those trendy plant art. It's good for a few seasons but in the long term, it's survival rate is iffy. Like any planter, this one has to be fertilized well, watered more, and basically be treated like a primadona. I love the art though - so don't get me wrong. So,I guess like my non-hardy succulents, one would have to remove every single plant and plant them in pots to house them over the winter or simply put the entire thing in a protected area like a porch and hope for the best.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 10:30AM
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That's kind of what I was thinking. I wonder if you sacrificed the bottom and set it in a flower bed or place that got lots of snow cover on it if it might survive. That's what I did with my cement planter and it did fine.
If I get to my Hort meeting next week I will ask the speaker. She might have some ideas.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 12:29PM
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Well, I think it would work if you can sink the thing halfway inground that might work. My hens and chicks in terracotta planters have survived all these years and I do nothing to protect them.

My echeveria planters have been inspired by living wall planters and also by Thomas Hobbes who draped a long garland of succulents along his fence. So his method is to leave them there for the summer but indoors during winter.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 1:21PM
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bonniepunch(USDAz4 AgCanz5a)

Glad this came up! I have a large metal hanging half sphere that I wanted to do something like this with. I wasn't sure how the plants on the bottom would fare, but ianna's wall mention shook something loose. I could hang it on my fence, with the open 'top' against the wall...

I have strange luck with my hens and chicks. Some winters they survive, and some they don't. I tend not to leave them for the winter in their terra cotta pots as I find the pots are either badly damaged or break. So I repot them into plastic or burry the rootball with no pot.

I think it has more to do with moisture level than temperature. When too dry, they don't make it. If they sit in a puddle of melting snow/ice/water in the spring, they don't make it.

If I do use my metal basket, I had planned to use non-hardy succulents, since I think I'd have to take it indoors over the winter and I find that hardy hens and chicks get etoliated. But then again, I could just place it with the 'top' down on some soil and the hens and chicks would be in a good position for the winter.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 1:46PM
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I remember seeing some photos a spekaer brought at one of our Hort meetings from somewhere out in BC I think. The guy was pretty famous for gardening but I don't remember his name. Anyway he had these awful steps in front of his house that had cement walls on either side. There was about a 10' width on the top of the walls and he made these huge blankets of succulents etc that he draped over the walls all the way down the steps. It looked awesome. Maybe out there he could leave them out all winter but I think I remember the speaker saying he didn't. I think the blankets were actually large shallow bags of some kind filled with soil. It was pretty cool!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 6:46PM
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OMG - that's Thomas Hobbes. He's the one I'm referring to when I mentioned he draped over a garland of succulents over his cement fence. I think he single handedly made succulents mainstream popular. I wish I could have seen those photos you were presented with. I would have wanted to see a good closeup of those plants. He basically used shallow wire baskets, sphagnum moss, soilless mixes and filled every single one with succulents. He draped them over a terracotta coloured wall. And yes, he had to bring in the plants during winter because they won't survive outdoors even there. Thomas Hobbes produced a couple of books on his house. He refers to his succulents as jewels (they do seem to spark). Sadly, he sold his home and has moved on to another property.

Tell me more of what you recall of that meeting? I'm wildly curious. Like what kind of wires did he use? Chicken wires or fencing wires.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 12:31PM
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north53 Z1b MB(zone 1b Canada)

You've inspired me to go out and replant my semp ball. It didn't fare very well this winter so it needed some work. It's just a sphere bird feeder that I stuffed with sphagnum moss and soil. I just nestle it into a sheltered spot for the winter and sometimes it does fine. But I just had a 'duh' moment. The thing splits in half easily. I think it would do much better if I split it in half for the winter. Then all the chicks would be on the top. I have a wreath that did great, probably since it could lay flat on the ground. These things are fun to do, and everyone seems fascinated with them.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 5:39PM
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dianasan(z5a Mtl)

My parents grow their hens and chicks (or some similar succulent) in a shallow pot. In autumn, they wrap it in burlap or landscape cloth and bury the whole thing in the garden. When they dig them up in the spring they're just as perfect as when they were buried in the autumn.

Don't know if it would work for non-hardy succulents though.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 5:41PM
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I don't even bother to burlap my hens and chicks in pots. But for my non-hardy succulents, there's no chance they would survive outdoors so these have to come in under lights.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 11:43PM
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Hi Ianna,
I really don't recall too much more about the photos. They were just a few of many places our speaker had toured in her travels. I just recall it being a really neat idea. I think she thought the succulents were in bags.
I asked our speaker last night about the hanging ball. She thought you could maybe do it with a styrofoam ball that you covered with moss and dugs holes out of for soil. She also suggested (no matter what it was made of)setting it on some stones or gravel for the winter in the garden and it would probably be fine. That way it could drain and you maybe wouldn't lose the bottom ones. I assume somewhere where it would get some snow cover would be best.
North 53 - if your ball splits then that might work well for the winter.
I bought some new ones from her last night but I am thinking it would take quite a few to do that ball! Maybe the ones I got this year will multiply by next year and I can try it. I have loads of old green ones but I don't want it all the same.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 6:11AM
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I don't know about using styrofoam..It sounds too much trouble to set up something like that.

Thanks for the pillow suggestion. I think I know what to do now, but I'll be using hardy succulents.

So many years ago while attending CanadaBlooms there was a vendor selling frames for topiaries. Essentially what this is a kind of topiary except that it's hanging. Wish I knew if these vendors were still selling.

Just to tweak your interest in succulents further, check out this wall display in California. It uses a mix of hens and chicks and non-hardy succulents.

Here is a link that might be useful: Living wall of succulents

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 9:51AM
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That's so cool!
I love those living walls but have never seen one of just succulents!
Some people have so much imagination!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 5:05PM
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