May 12 column: Vertical succulent gardens

Vertical succulent gardensHere is a link to my column in today’s edition of The Spokesman-Review: Vertical transformation. It is about beautiful succulent gardens you can grow in a frame and hang on your deck or patio, or set somewhere in your garden. They are easy to make and look so stunning!

I’ve included additional photos of Maralee Karwoski’s vertical succulent gardens (see below within text) and also more information from her that I didn’t have room to include in the article. If you need to see a larger view of any photo, just click on it and you’ll be taken to a full-screen image.

Vertical succulent gardensOn design concepts to keep in mind…

“You have to decide whether you just want a random placement of your plants or whether you want to go for some sort of artful design. It depends on what plant material you have available. You really just have to decide what it is you like. I like to find something different and unusual to put in the middle as a focal point. That’s where I start, then I work out from that. I use some greening pins to hold in some of the material, especially for cutting that have weak stems. You could probably use pieces of wire or hairpins to do the same thing.”


Vertical succulent gardens
Cuttings are rooting

“After I make one, I don’t water them at all. I start with the soil already damp, pat it down and poke the stems in it. I don’t water them for a week. You can tell they’re rooted if you lightly pull on (a cutting) and feel a little resistance. The largest succulents take the longest to root.”On what to do after you’ve put the succulents into the frame…

On watering…

“When the leaves start shriveling up, it’s time to water. I never water them more than once a week. Lay the container flat and water them, let the water drain through and then set it upright again.”

Vertical succulent gardens
Showing depth of box

“It depends on what their plant material is. Plants that are hardy to zone 5 can be left laying outside in a protected area, someplace where they won’t get wet; otherwise they’re going to rot. In my experience, they come through the winter just fine. If the plants aren’t hardy to zone 5, they need to be brought indoors. They’re under lights in my lower level (of my house), or they’ll live in the window; they don’t take much care and you don’t have to water them too much, maybe every 2 weeks.”On what to do with vertical succulent gardens during the late fall and winter months…

On where to find sources for succulents…

Vertical succulent gardens
Drainage holes on back

(From Susan… other sources for succulents)
“”I look for plants wherever I go and occasionally discreetly “borrow” them although most people don’t care. When you look around, there are more succulents available than you might think. You can ask a neighbor friend, they’ll let you pinch off a few. It’s fun to buy a special plant but otherwise, just find some here or there.”

I have seen them at most nurseries. The best bargain I found was at Secret Garden & Greenhouse (7717 E. 18th Ave., Spokane Valley) where they were marked at 95 cents each. But I’ve seen them at Northwest Seed & Pet, Tower Perennials, Haase’sGreenhouse, Judy’s Enchanted Gardens (2628 W. Northwest Blvd., Spokane) and even the big box stores.