While many gardeners don’t often think about fall as project time, there are many projects that can be completed this time of year, and not all of them must involve winterizing the garden or building a cold frame. At just about any time of the year, there’s no group of plants more fun to “play with” in the garden than succulents. Hardy succulents, such as hens and chicks and sedums, can be used to create some really unique fall succulent projects, including these four ideas.
1. Build a Succulent Frame
Fall is a great time to start planning ahead for the holiday season and what makes a better gift than a succulent-filled photo frame to hang on the wall? To make a succulent photo frame, purchase an old wooden frame from a thrift store. Try to find one that’s not too large or it will be too heavy to hang without falling apart.
Put the frame face side down on a flat surface. Use a staple gun to attach a piece of metal hardware cloth to the back of the frame, leaving a little extra slack in the hardware cloth so it “bubbles out” into the frame’s opening. Then, soak some sheet moss in water and line the chicken wire with the moss.
Put a light layer of 2 inches of cacti-specific potting soil into the back of the frame and on top of the layer of sheet moss. Then, staple a piece of landscape fabric to the back of the frame to hold the soil in place. Once the fabric is in place, attach another rectangle of hardware cloth flush to the back of the frame.
Once your base is built, flip the frame over and plant small succulents through the hardware cloth and into the moss. Keep the frame flat for a month or two, until the plants are established. Then you can hang the planted frame on the wall.
2. Create a Green-roof Birdhouse With Succulents
One of my favorite fall succulent projects is to convert a “regular” wooden birdhouse into an eco-friendly one by amending the roof to accommodate sedum and other succulents.
An easy project to complete in just a few hours, simply build a wood frame onto the roof of an existing birdhouse, fill it with cacti-specific growing mix and plant it with sedums, hens and chicks, and other succulents. If you use only winter hardy varieties, the birdhouse can stay outdoors all year long.
3. Plant a Colander of Succulents for a Friend
This is one of those fall succulent projects that can be as big or as small as you’d like. You can use a small colander and plant it with just one or two succulents, or use a large metal colander and include a dozen or more plants.
For a fun touch, use an antique colander or an enameled type that comes in a bold color. If you’d like, you can even hang the colander by chains or ribbons attached to its handles. It makes a lovely little hanging succulent basket to hang in the window all winter long.
4. Make a Succulent-filled Mini Pumpkin Placeholder
And one final favorite fall succulent project is to hollow out mini pumpkins, fill them with cactus soil mix and then plant them with an overflowing mix of succulents. Since this project is so small, you can even use small offsets of succulent plants, rather than using fully grown ones. I like to use these succulent mini pumpkins as place setting holders at the Thanksgiving table. If you’d like, once the pumpkin begins to rot, transplant the succulents over to a metal julep cup or small terra cotta pot that can be used on the Christmas table for the same purpose.
Let your creativity be your guide and I’m sure you can come up with even more fall succulent projects to exercise your green thumb.