Friday, July 20, 2012

Going To Plan B

You might have noticed on my new blog header a succulent picture. 
Here is another project I completed a couple weeks ago. 
This project is really a redo from a past project that didn't work out.

Back in November of 2011, I blogged about my experiment of making a vertical garden out of a pallet. I hung it inside my house and hoped it would thrive.

The experiment didn't turn out as I hoped. 
There were several issues that I knew might become a problem when I made this. 
Some came up that I didn't think of.

1)  Watering was a huge issue.  I tried to not water very much.  Lack of watering caused the soil to dry out.  When I did water, streams would funnel into channels and pour all over the floor.  The good news is the pond liner I used on the back of the pallet kept the drywall completely protected and dry.  I have concrete floors under this pallet, but still it was a problem.  I had to place towels on the floor to sop up the water every time I watered, slightly inconvenient for my busy lifestyle.

2)  Not enough sunlight.  I hung the pallet on an East facing wall.  The indirect light was too low for my plant choices.  All of the succulents I planted grew long and spindly searching for the sunlight.  The roots rotted and eventually most of them died.  I used succulents so I didn't have to water much, but it created another problem.

3)  Gnats, need I say more?  The pallet changed from a succulent garden to a gnat farm, yuck!  The gnats were feeding on the rotting plant material.  Every time anyone poured a glass of wine or juice the "swarm" would find the glass and take a swim.  I know, gross right?  I tried non-toxic soap, but had to go with the harsh stuff because the organic wasn't working at all.  Still the gnats would come back even with poison.  My girls were totally grossed out when I told them gnats were good protein.

Plan B

If you are a do it yourselfer, there ALWAYS has to be a backup plan B.

My Plan B was to Go Faux

Here is my new pallet using floral foam, moss and plastic succulents.  Some of the plastic succulents I already had.  I purchased a few more at Shinodas.  Shinodas is a floral supply here in San Diego. 
I still need a few more to fill in.

No watering, no rotting succulents, and best of all, no gnats.
Yay, I don't have to drink wine from a sippy cup anymore!

My other pallet has been moved outside where it will hopefully recover and thrive.
I hung it from my eaves with heavy duty hooks and chain.

Here is my sad little vertical garden. 
 I added more succulent cuttings and hopefully they will root and fill in.
I'll show you how it progresses. 
I'm not totally giving up on the idea, just adjusting my expectations.

Ahh, pretty and no maintenance.
Perfect for summer time.

Have any experiments that didn't turn out?

I'm off to go workout at the beach playing some volleyball.
Hope you are out enjoying summer too.

Thanks for checking it out.


  1. Sometimes plan B is turns out for the best. Love the new pallet and now you have one for outside too!

  2. great job! I looks awesome and it's very low maintenance now :)

  3. Oh, I love how your plan B turned out! Even though your plants are plastic, they look so fresh and pretty. I've been wanting to do a project with a number of live succulents but thought it might be too complicated and expensive. Thanks for sharing the more permanent method!

  4. what's wrong with drinking wine from a sippy cup? ha. love plan b, shan. you are always coming up with something cool, fun, inventive and always beautiful.

    trudge on, friend.

  5. It's beautiful!! I'm all about fake plants indoors. My track record with the real stuff is a sad one. My fingers are crossed that your first pallet garden will grow well outside. I love vertical gardens; they are so beautiful. They're like living art for your wall (even if they aren't actually "living" :)

  6. Some things are better in theory! I sometimes wonder how the people who came up with the idea first figured it all out... REally loved the candle fixture you used! So, what's wrong with horizontal gardening? ;-)


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