Punctuate your Garden with a Succulent Sphere

Make your own three dimensional garden art with this diy tutorial

I get asked a lot how to make a succulent sphere for displaying in the garden. There is something about the shape that appeals to us. 

Whether they're made from metal, hypertufa or wire, garden spheres add definition, like a punctuation mark in the garden. 

They certainly make us come to a complete stop to gaze at them!

How to Make a Fabulous, Unique Succulent Sphere
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Buy your Canadian Succulents online...

I usually use the cheaper wire hanging baskets with the shaped coir liner, as these are easier to plant into than the better quality coco fiber type.

Sometimes, cheaper is better.

I found these at a dollar store, but I've also seen them priced economically at larger box stores, in their seasonal department during the summer, or wait until they sell them at a deep discount in the fall; these are fine to make in the autumn, and the plants will overwinter in them rooting happily (hardy succulents, anyway).

Succulent Sphere planted with Sempervivum
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For this project, buy two wire hanging baskets the same size. The ones shown here are just under 30cm (12 inches) across - there are many sizes available, and many shapes.

Find the dome shaped ones - any other shape won't make a globe.

I have used bigger ones, but they are accordingly heavier to display and move, so they can only be placed on a sturdy frame or terracotta pot to show them off.

Succulent Sphere in August

Hanging them requires extremely strong wire or chain, as well as a sturdy hook to hang them on, as well as a safe place to hang them.

As these get so heavy when wet I choose to display them in a large planter or pot so they look like a topiary.

Succulent Sphere hanging with strong chains

The smaller sized ones can be hung from chains, or wired to support the weight of the filled sphere from underneath.

I’ve also seen smaller ones yet with a pole stuck into the bottom of them which look like topiary trees.

How to Make a Succulent Sphere: A Tutorial:

Two coir lined wire hanging basketsChoose 2 identical coir lined wire baskets...
fill the wire baskets with Sunshine mix #4...fill with potting soil - note the plywood...
a piece of plywood holds the soil in place...which will hold the soil when you join the two baskets together

So, you have your two wire baskets. I fill them with Sunshine mix #4, which has extra aggregate in it for drainage.

Keep in mind that this will eventually break down, and hold too much water, but for a season or two, your succulent sphere will be gorgeous.

Pack the soilless potting mix tightly, so it fills the space entirely - leaving pockets of air makes the liner sag eventually as the coir fiber softens.

Click to Tweet: Make your own gorgeous Succulent Sphere...

Tweet: Make your own gorgeous Succulent Sphere; http://ctt.ec/t7laf+

Place a piece of plywood or a thin metal plate over top of one of the baskets, then flip it over onto the top of the other one.

Carefully draw out the plywood or metal, so the soil stays in place.

Wire the two baskets together at their rims in at least four places.

Match up the pattern of the wire baskets...Match up the pattern on the wire baskets...
...wire the brims of the baskets together...wire them together with several short pieces of tie wire
Succulent Sphere plantedPlant with Sempervivum chicks - voila!

Collect enough Sempervivum chicks with a short piece of stolon still attached to hold the chick in place until it roots.

Make a small hole in the center between where the wire basket pieces cross over. Squeeze the Sempervivum chick stolon into the small hole.

Eventually, you will have to replace chicks or guide new chicks to take root in any blank spots.

Use many different kinds of Sempervivum for a mosaic appearance, or only two or three for more impact.

If you have chicks with no roots or stolons, pin them in place with a toothpick or piece of wire bent in half like a hair pin.

Late July is the best time to make your Sempervivum sphere, as there are lots of chicks forming at that time of year; as well, there is time for the chicks to root before winter.

Succulent Crafts E-Course - coming soon!

Still wanting more about Succulent Spheres? 

The Succulent Crafts E-Course is a series of diy rustic crafts tutorials...

If you're crazy about succulent plants and love to find creative ways to display them this is for you...click on the picture to find out more and enroll:

Want to make your own Succulent Sphere?  Buy the forms here;

How to Make a Succulent Sphere
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To over winter your succulent sphere, if you’ve used Sempervivum as I recommend, the winter care is easy.

Take the sphere down if it’s hanging and place it in a corner of the garden where it won’t get disturbed, and cover it with leaves; if you get some snow, even better.

This protects the plants from temperature swings - to prevent damage to the plants, it's important to eliminate the possibility of freezing and thawing.

Overwintering Succulent SpheresOverwintering Sempervivum spheres in a perennial bed
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Once the coldest part of the season is passed, inspect the succulents and replace as needed, fertilize with water soluble fertilizer or compost tea a couple of times per growing season.

Your three dimensional succulent sphere will only get better with age, and eventually you won’t be able to see the wire baskets as they become covered completely by the happy Sempervivum.

What kinds of plants should you use?  How about some tender succulents from my affiliate?

Just so you know: Sempervivum are a hardy perennial, and MUST have a dormant period. Therefore, they won't survive inside your house.

Other tender succulents that will work just as well are Echeveria, Graptopetalum, some of the smaller Crassula, Senecio rowleyanus and many more miscellaneous succulent plants.

The best types of succulents to use for crafts are low growing species and those that form clustering rosettes.

This way, they can cover the surface of the mosaic, sphere or topiary and hide the moss or coir that contains the soil.

More pictures of the Sempervivum Spheres here (yes, you can use other succulents!)

They are looking good, just coming out of dormancy; just wait...A group of Sempervivum Spheres just coming out of dormancy; just wait a while...
Sempervivum Sphere in May 2013The glorious result in May 2013
The sphere in the fall - almost time for bed...The colors are always changing - here they are in the fall
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This tutorial was featured on The Whoot!

Check out the Facebook post about this project too;

Sempervivum Globe - if it's round, plant it with hens and chicks http://buff.ly/1G3qIzw

Posted by Drought Smart Plants on Friday, June 5, 2015

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