That is what I shall exclaim, henceforth, when I see a succulent terrarium or mini-garden. I have mentioned before that Thalita at The Learner Observer inspired me to them. And now I can’t stop. Thalita, dear, I will be sending you my next Ikea bill! hehe
A few months ago, my local Ralph’s supermarket set up a gorgeous
tempting, enticing, irresistible display of succulents for sale at the front entrance. They had pre-planted containers and individual plants in various sizes. Over the 4 months that they were selling the little cuties… well, I just couldn’t stop myself! If you don’t have a Ralph’s, don’t worry! I know that Home Depot and Ikea carry succulents year-round for as little $1.79 a plant. How do I know? Uh… well… I need to stay out of stores with miniature cacti!
I have posted a few of my creations here previously. The one I am about to share with you is my biggest. I actually made it a month ago, but wanted to let it grow a bit so you could see how easy they are to keep. Oh! And the one I made for the Brit’s office needs to be re-done because, after 3 months, it is growing out the top of its jar! Am I complaining about this? Absolutely not! Not only do I get to do another terrarium, but I will have lots of pieces to re-root, to boot! (Sorry, I had to go there. Who doesn’t love dorky rhyming bits, anyway?)
OK, so picture it… The 99 Cent Store which, even in October, boasts some pretty nifty gardening items. I casually pick up a couple of Kalanchoe to add to my collection- one of my favourite flowering plants- and what to my wondering eyes should appear?! Wire hanging baskets on the shelf below, so near! (I am inspired, today!) In picking up a couple to untangle so I could look at them properly, I end up inadvertently finagling one on top of the other, forming a ball. INSPIRATION! Oh, and looky here! Coconut fiber liners for said lovely baskets! Perfect!
And here is what happened when I got home…
Well, got home after a stop at Home Depot for cactus dirt and more cacti…
Cactus dirt $4.98 and 3 assorted succulents in clay mini-pot $2.49 at Depot.
Succulent in black plastic pot $1.79 at Ralph’s.
Total cost: around $13.
I don’t count the pebbles I eventually put in because an 88 cent bag of Ikea stones is enough for several small projects and I only used half a bag of the dirt, so that’s a wash to me.
The coconut liner was a little big for the basket, so I snipped a few “darts” into it with my garden cutters. Fold the edges into each other much like you would do to add a dart into a dress pattern.
Here is where you make your first decision. If you want just a regular basket, add a plastic lid from a bakery cake (we always have plenty of those around our house!) with holes punched in inside your liner. This helps hold the water from splooguing all over when you water.
Remember: cacti need good drainage, so the soil for them is not as dense as regular potting soil. Water does not hold in cactus soil as well as other soils.
I had another idea in mind for mine, so instead of the liner at the bottom, I used the plastic pot from one of the cacti in the center, adding dirt all around it, and put the cake lid on top (don’t forget to punch holes in it). Like this:
The pot holds the plastic lid up off the dirt and supports the weight of what is coming next.
<<<<<<Look! A kitty!! Finnian likes to keep me company when I am crafting.
So at this point, you’ve noticed I connected my two baskets. Remember those chains we removed and set aside? I used 6 links from them to wire the baskets together around the rims. It takes a little smooshing around to get them to sit together tightly enough to clamp the links on, so be patient and have good pliers.
There’s a hole in my basket, isn’t there? YEP! Using a garden poky tool that came with my hand shovels and rake, I poked holes in the coconut fiber around the perimeter of my piece. Using my finger, I stretched the fiber out gently, enough to make a pocket.
Start adding plants and decor as you please. The clay pot adds some interest and an opportunity.
I planted a few small sprigs into the pot. Adding a few well-placed rocks in front of it will hold the dirt in.
Those holes I poked? They get stuffed with small sprigs of cacti and a few Kalanchoe bits which will re-root themselves and add colour. THIS is why I put dirt underneath the cake lid. The roots from the plants here go into that soil.
VOILA!!! See those pretty yellow Kalanchoe flowers? They are *so* easy to re-root. Just stick them into some water or right into dirt.
And here we are only 1 month later (and with the addition of the stones I couldn’t find the day I did the project, which later turned up in the garage).
The bulges in the coconut liner are where the plant-filled pockets are. I want to find some simple vine-y plant to cover more of the outside of the coconut, too. But only because I am impatient to wait a few more months for the cacti I used to grow more.
This basket has been in full Southern-California sun daily from about noon until sunset for the past 27 days and the plants, as you can see, are thriving with just 1 watering a week.
And a few Kalanchoe re-rooted from trimmed pieces I just stuck into these pots over the past couple of months, to show you how easy they really are.
The wine bottle? Oh! I use that as a gravity water-er for the potted-plants here on my little balcony-garden. They’re pretty, they work, and they keep Finnian from sitting in the palm tree and chewing on the fronds. *sigh*