Growing Succulents Vertically: Making A Vertical Succulent Planter

Vertical Hanging Succulent Planter
vertical succulent
(Image credit: Mod Quaint)

You don’t need climbing plants to get started with growing succulents vertically. Although there are some succulents that can be trained to grow upward, there are many more that can be grown in a vertical arrangement.

Vertical Succulent Planters

Many vertical succulent gardens are grown in a simple wooden box, with a depth of about 2 inches (5 cm.). The optimum size of the box should be no bigger than 18 inches by 24 inches (46 x 61 cm.). Bigger sizes tend to get out of hand, loosing soil or even plants when hanging on a wall.

Since succulents normally have a shallow root system, they can become established in just an inch (2.5 cm.) or so of soil. Use rooting hormone or even a sprinkle of cinnamon to encourage root growth. Wait a couple weeks before watering.

To start a vertical garden with cuttings, add a wire screen in the box. This helps hold both the soil and the plants. After working in the right quick-draining soil, gently push treated cuttings through the holes and allow time for rooting. Then just hang on your wall.

Once roots are in place, they hold the soil. Allow two or three months for root establishment. Acclimate to the amount of sun they will get when hanging during this time. The box can then be turned vertically and attached to a wall, usually without soil dumping out. Combine several boxes to fill the entire wall or as much as you wish to cover.

Remove the boxes for watering. Succulents need watering less often than traditional plants, but they still need it now and again. Bottom leaves will wrinkle when it is time to irrigate.

Grow Succulents Up a Wall

You can also create an entire frame to go against your walls, which is great for outdoors. Most living walls are back and front, but this is not an absolute. If you’re handy with putting wood together, try this option. Add shelves with drainage in which to plant or shelves in which to locate containers.

Some succulents, like those of the creeping sedum family, can be planted in the ground and encouraged to grow up a wall outdoors. As herbaceous perennials, they die back in winter in cold areas. Reattaching might be necessary each spring as they emerge. They also make attractive groundcover if you decide to abandon the chore and leave them growing.

Succulents for Vertical Display

Choose plants wisely to avoid frequent watering and even cold winter temperatures. If you live in a location where winters get below freezing, use sempervivums, commonly called hens and chicks. These are hardy in USDA zones 3 through 8, even in winter’s cold. Combine with hardy groundcover sedum for even more variety.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.