I have some houseleek and other winter hardy succulents, that I haven’t been taking care of the last 1-2 years, and it is time to give them the attention they deserve.
To make them stand out I have been collecting some old half rotten branches, with cool shapes to plant them in, so this is how I make sculptors for the garden from forgotten succulents and old branches.
Step 1: Plants
For this kind of project, it is important to pick plants that can survive with very little soil or water and are resilient enough to grow in your area of the world. I have learned that houseleek and other succulents from a hardiness zone of 6-7 are perfect for my area and that they don’t need a lot of water or soil.
The hardiness of a plant is determined by what temperatures they can survive at. To simplify this, they have been divided into 13+ plant groups. You can easily find your own hardiness zone on the internet :)
A lot of plant nurseries label their plants with hardiness zone numbers, and if in doubt ask the dealers, they know what can survive outside year-round and what can't, it is so saddening to find that a plant cannot survive a mild winter.
I really like the succulents that can grow over the edge of a pot and look like a green waterfall, so I will be using them at a lot of edges for this project:)
Step 2: Planters
Find some old logs, branches or anything that you like that can contain a little soil.
I my case I found some old branches with some nice shapes I liked. Some of them didn’t have enough cracks and holed in them to contain the plants, so I had to drill some cavities into them for the soil and plants. I tried placing these holes in areas that would be easy to hide with the soil, and look natural, so there wont be a perfect round hole in the side and not fit in with the rest of the planter.
Step 3: Planting
Take the planter and put some soil where you want the plants, and press it firmly in place. If you have some crawling plants that can grow over edges place them at low area/edges they can grow out over and pin them down with foil. They also look good coming out from cracks. To plant them there take a thin planting stick and press some soil in the crack, and gently press the succulent in place and cover with soil.
You don’t have to cover the entire planter with plants, I have found that less is more, with this kind of project. The fewer plants the more distinct they will look.
houseleek often have a stem you can stick in the soil. If the soil are pressed to hard just take the plant stick and poke a hole in the soil.
A little decoration doesn’t hurt, but not to much, as it can take the focus from the plants, and it can be anything, a rock, sand, bark, a small toy.
Step 4: Placement
Now it is just to find the right place for the plant sculpture and enjoy the view of it.
I don’t plan of watering it, unless there are 5-7 weeks without rain, and then I would do it with a light water sprinkler to avoid washing the soil away.