All Posts   Posted:   August 24, 2016 by Jennifer Williams

Succulents are in their element as the weather heats up August, and they can go almost anywhere (probably a good idea to keep them out of the pond though). With a limitless amount of varieties to choose from, you’ll never get bored either. Thirty years ago gardeners were delighted with simple Hens-n-Chicks (sempervivum tectorum) but this was only the beginning, now there are cute rosettes of Hens-n-Chicks in every color of the rainbow: red, orange, green, blue, purple, and black.

You’re probably thinking ‘where does the drifter part come in?’ Driftwood! My new favorite way to add personality and character to plantings is with driftwood, not as an accent but as the container. That may sound strange but with a little ingenuity it’s quite simple. Take materials for making kokedama, also known as string gardens, and instead of hanging the finished moss ball alone you can attach it to a piece of driftwood with discrete clear filament (aka fishing line).

Materials needed:

  • Driftwood
  • Soil Mix (2qt. peat moss, 2qt. bonsai soil, 1cup bentonite clay)
  • Moss (forest sheet, preserved sheet, spanish)
  • Succulents
  • Fishing line (or twine)
  • Carpet tacks (optional)

 

Step #1 Select your driftwood

Choose something with an interesting shape that’s fairly solid. Since driftwood is by nature weathered some pieces are more brittle or crumbly, avoid these ones. Keep in mind what type and how many plants you intend to use and make sure your piece is big enough to accommodate them. Look for any natural flat spots,  divots or curves that would work to nestle plants into.*Tip: if using ocean driftwood it’s a good idea to soak it first to leach out any salt residues it may have.

 

Step #2 Select you plants

Pick partners that will be happy together by making sure they have the same water and sun requirements (you want varieties that prefer to be dry between waterings, hello sedums).

It’s also a good idea to avoid plants that are too top or bottom heavy because these will be harder to work with. Easy to use rooted cuttings are another benefit of succulents in this application.

 

Step #3 Soil Prep

Mix up your soil & moisten thoroughly until it’s nice and pliable (almost like clay) and sticks together. Then bare root your plant(s) by removing it from the pot and gently shaking away the soil. If the root system is dense and fibrous you may need actually remove part of the root system to reduce the overall bulk. Then surround it with the soil mix and position it on your driftwood, using bits of the soil to help adhere the roots

 

Step #4 Cover with moss

Put a solid layer of moss (green sheet, Spanish . . .) around the soil ball so that it completely covers the soil. *Tip: you may want to put a layer of moss between the driftwood and the soil ball also, to give it a cushier spot.

 

Step #5 Attach to wood

Using the filament wrap around moss covered  root ball(s) and driftwood several times at various angles until it doesn’t wiggle when help upside down. Depending on the shape of your wood you may want to attach a few carpet tacks around the edge of the moss to attach the filament to, instead of wrapping around the entire piece of wood.

 

Step #6 Caring for your new creation

Place in a position with ½ a day of sun, preferably not hot afternoon sun. Hose down regularly (every few days in summer or every day if in a hotter location). Pinch back tips of plants to control growth.

 

Our favorite varieties:

  • Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’ ‘Fulda Glow’ ‘Moonshine’
  • Sedum reflexum ‘Blue Spruce’ ‘Angelina’
  • Sedum album ‘Coral Carpet’
  • Sedum confusum
  • Sedum makinoi ‘Ogon’
  • Sempervivum sp. ‘Cobweb’ ‘Jade Rose’ ‘Ruby Hearts’ ‘Emerald Empress’ ‘Pluto’ ‘Lavender and Lace’

Succulents are in their element as the weather heats up August, and they can go almost anywhere (probably a good idea to keep them out of the pond though). With a limitless amount of varieties to choose from, you’ll never get bored either. Thirty years ago gardeners were delighted with simple Hens-n-Chicks (sempervivum tectorum) but this was only the beginning, now there are cute rosettes of Hens-n-Chicks in every color of the rainbow: red, orange, green, blue, purple, and black.

You’re probably thinking ‘where does the drifter part come in?’ Driftwood! My new favorite way to add personality and character to plantings is with driftwood, not as an accent but as the container. That may sound strange but with a little ingenuity it’s quite simple. Take materials for making kokedama, also known as string gardens, and instead of hanging the finished moss ball alone you can attach it to a piece of driftwood with discrete clear filament (aka fishing line).

Materials needed:

  • Driftwood
  • Soil Mix (2qt. peat moss, 2qt. bonsai soil, 1cup bentonite clay)
  • Moss (forest sheet, preserved sheet, spanish)
  • Succulents
  • Fishing line (or twine)
  • Carpet tacks (optional)

 

Step #1 Select your driftwood

Choose something with an interesting shape that’s fairly solid. Since driftwood is by nature weathered some pieces are more brittle or crumbly, avoid these ones. Keep in mind what type and how many plants you intend to use and make sure your piece is big enough to accommodate them. Look for any natural flat spots,  divots or curves that would work to nestle plants into.*Tip: if using ocean driftwood it’s a good idea to soak it first to leach out any salt residues it may have.

 

Step #2 Select you plants

Pick partners that will be happy together by making sure they have the same water and sun requirements (you want varieties that prefer to be dry between waterings, hello sedums).

It’s also a good idea to avoid plants that are too top or bottom heavy because these will be harder to work with. Easy to use rooted cuttings are another benefit of succulents in this application.

 

Step #3 Soil Prep

Mix up your soil & moisten thoroughly until it’s nice and pliable (almost like clay) and sticks together. Then bare root your plant(s) by removing it from the pot and gently shaking away the soil. If the root system is dense and fibrous you may need actually remove part of the root system to reduce the overall bulk. Then surround it with the soil mix and position it on your driftwood, using bits of the soil to help adhere the roots

 

Step #4 Cover with moss

Put a solid layer of moss (green sheet, Spanish . . .) around the soil ball so that it completely covers the soil. *Tip: you may want to put a layer of moss between the driftwood and the soil ball also, to give it a cushier spot.

 

Step #5 Attach to wood

Using the filament wrap around moss covered  root ball(s) and driftwood several times at various angles until it doesn’t wiggle when help upside down. Depending on the shape of your wood you may want to attach a few carpet tacks around the edge of the moss to attach the filament to, instead of wrapping around the entire piece of wood.

 

Step #6 Caring for your new creation

Place in a position with ½ a day of sun, preferably not hot afternoon sun. Hose down regularly (every few days in summer or every day if in a hotter location). Pinch back tips of plants to control growth.

 

Our favorite varieties:

  • Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’ ‘Fulda Glow’ ‘Moonshine’
  • Sedum reflexum ‘Blue Spruce’ ‘Angelina’
  • Sedum album ‘Coral Carpet’
  • Sedum confusum
  • Sedum makinoi ‘Ogon’
  • Sempervivum sp. ‘Cobweb’ ‘Jade Rose’ ‘Ruby Hearts’ ‘Emerald Empress’ ‘Pluto’ ‘Lavender and Lace’