Make Hanging Basket Liners for Succulents From Jeans-to-Shorts Remnants.

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About: I live in a forest garden by the sea in an old Celtic longhouse in the Baie de Mont Saint Michel, France, where we raise quail, rare breed chickens and pigeons organically. I was born in England, the furthes...

I love hanging baskets, lining them with moss and then watching them grow and evolve. In particular the moss can contain the seeds of ferns and other tiny plants which just add to the surprise and serendipity of the final creation. However, the two-fold problem with moss-lined baskets is firstly in retaining the soil and secondly, in stopping them from drying out. This in particular whilst the plants take root at the improbable angle to which I have challenged them. Some people line with plastic or coconut coir but I find the former no good for the moss and the latter, although great for the moss, not sympathetic to my wandering succulent offsets aka pups.

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Step 1: Making the Lining

So last year when I was making yet another pair of shorts from some old jeans I decided that the bit I was cutting off the legs would do very well for linings. This works particularly well if you are making a scruffy version of jupe-culotte because the bit left over is exactly the size for a standard hanging basket.

Start by soaking the plants in water to make sure that when you put them in the basket the earth around the root ball will not draw water from the soil in the basket. If you are using 'plug' plants from a garden centre, make sure you remove any fabric from around the roots before you soak them. Although these fabrics are supposed to be biodegradable, I have found they impede root growth if you don't release them directly.

Line the basket with a thick layer of moss and soak the lining in water. Press the lining gently into the basket and fill with soil.

Step 2: Planting the Succulents

If you are using succulents with offsets. prise off the 'pups' from the parent plant, they will usually come away with a root system intact. You can then put them directly into the moss of the hanging basket, so they will end up covering the basket proper. If they are really tiny you may have to cut them from the parent and thus leave the cuttings for a couple of days to dry out and heal over the cut before planting them.

These linings work well for all types of plants. This year I've used verbenas which are doing very well and look spectacular against the moss.
Have fun!

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