Make your own living succulent art

We've all gone wild for those dramatic "living walls" of succulents. Here, grower Robin Stockwell shows you how you can make your own

Succulent frames

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Plant a living picture

Instead of framing a picture, why not a whole garden? Here, cuttings of assorted succulents knit together to create colorful, textural living tapestries.

Click ahead for more photos and directions for this DIY vertical garden.

Vertial garden frame

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Buy a preassembled frame

Build the vertical garden frame assembly yourself or purchase one.

We got ours from Robin Stockwell’s Succulent Gardens in Castroville, California (831/632-0482).

Cost: From $35 for a 6- by 12-inch frame.


Succulent cutting

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Gather cuttings

Break the small “pups” from succulents you already have growing in your garden (the stems should be at least 1/4 inch long).

Set the cuttings aside in a cool area for a few days to allow their stem ends to dry and callus over. (You’ll want about 60 for a 6- by 12-inch frame.)

Add soil to frame

Thomas J. Story

Add soil

Set the frame mesh side up on a flat surface; fill it with moist cactus mix, working the mix through the mesh with your fingers. The mesh and a wood backing holds the soil in place.

Planting succulent cuttings

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Plant cuttings

Poke the cuttings’ stem ends through the mesh and into the soil. Leave the frame lying flat in a cool, bright location while plants take root, about 7 to 10 days after planting, then begin watering.

Once plants are securely rooted―this takes between 4 and 12 weeks―display the frames upright in an area that gets morning or filtered sun. 

Water as soil approaches dryness, about every 7 to 10 days. To water, remove frame from the wall, lay flat, water lightly, and let soil drain before hanging up again.

Succulent frames

Photo by Thomas J. Story

How to make your own succulent frame

1. For a 1-foot-square frame, cut four 12-inch lengths of 2x2 lumber. Nail the corners together for a frame 2 inches deep.

2. Staple or nail ½-inch hardware wire mesh to one side of the open frame. If desired, add trim on top of the mesh to hide it. (If you’re a skilled woodworker, you can also cut a channel into the wood and slide the mesh into the channel, hiding the mesh's cut edges.)

3. Staple or nail a 1-foot square of plywood onto the open back of the frame. Stockwell uses exterior plywood or 1x12-inch redwood.

succulent wall

Photo by E. Spencer Toy

All-in-one succulent garden kit

Don't have any succulents growing in your garden? Buy a kit that includes a frame assembly, cactus mix, and succulent cuttings (from $65 for 6 by 12 inches; or 831/632-0482).

Completed succulent “paintings” are also available (from $95 for 6 by 12 inches).

modern cottage

 E. Spencer Toy

A little more inspiration

A vertical wall of succulents by Flora Grubb Gardens was on display at the on our Modern Cottage showhome.

See more about that idea house

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