I don’t know when, how or even why the tradition of planting succulents in nontraditional containers started. I’m sure you’ve seen them before – worn out old boots brimming with hens and chicks, or a rusted Radio Flyer wagon filled with colorful sedums and a wide variety of other succulents.
I have always viewed this practice as a bit odd, and dismissed it as something I would never want to do.
However, succulents themselves have always intrigued me. For starters, they are drought resistant and incredibly easy to maintain. For a gardening impaired person like myself, this makes them something to take a closer look at.
Secondly, succulents come in a variety of unique and attractive colors and shapes which can add interest and contrast to a flower bed.
So, finally, after years of admiring succulents from afar, I decided to buy some and create a modest succulent garden. But when I got them home I had to decide where to plant them. I have a fair amount of property, but the vast majority is forested, and much of what remains receives a limited amount of sunlight. After a bit of contemplation, I cast my eyes upon…
HERE IT COMES, a rusted old wheelbarrow that I had recently retired from service, but hadn’t gotten around to taking to the dump. What the heck. Why not. The previous year I had drilled some holes in the wheelbarrow, filled it with soil and planted a few tomato plants in it just because I didn’t have any extra planters lying around, and I was too cheap to buy one. The wheelbarrow had worked okay for the tomatoes – why not give succulents a try. So I did.
I had some unscented cat litter on hand that I was going to spread on top of the soil to give it a rocky look, but decided against it for now. Instead I placed some larger rocks in the empty spaces to complete the garden.
So, if you shun the idea of making a hen and chick planter out of a cowboy boot, don’t be surprised if, at some point in the not too distant future, you find yourself pulling a broken laundry hamper out of the garbage can and making a succulent planter out of it.
Note: Most of these photos were taken several months after planting. It is not necessary to cram your container full with plants. They will grow into the space soon enough, and fill in the gaps.