This was a fun project to create: a vertical succulent garden for an interior space. I’m always getting asked about succulent vertical gardens for indoors, and most of what you can find out in the world that’s ready-made isn’t really suited for indoors. Not to mention, there are also limitations about succulents that work indoors. The solution? Build it from scratch!
Generally speaking, the succulents that work indoors are typically ones that would tolerate shade when outdoors. Sansevieria (snake tongue) is a no-brainer, and can tolerate very low light. Similarly, haworthia species will also do well, as will a few trailing plants like Senecio ‘Fish Hooks’. For a bushier “spiller,” the genus Rhipsalis works great. It’s actually in the cactus family. There are others as well, but this project combines specifically all of these mentioned.
As with some of my other custom vertical gardens (like the one in Mission Creek and this one that was added to another client after initial installation), these cute little boxes were built from scratch with plywood backing, 1×4 framing, and custom-sewn fabric pockets in which to arrange the plants. Patrick Lannan at Flora Grubb Gardens connected me with this client, specifying the plants and overall dimensions and layout of where the boxes were to be mounted, and the rest was up to my own devices.
UNlike the other ones I’d made from scratch, these were to be mounted indoors. That meant I had to come up with a way to contain water. In my previous pockets, I sewed black fabric into little pockets and then attached them into the boxes with screws and washers. I did the same here, but I also made matching pockets out of vinyl, and inserted them into the fabric pockets. I then sewed the two together to keep the vinyl from slipping out. The other big difference here is the fine finish work compared to the outdoor ones. I cut all the framing with a miter saw so that I could have nice clean edges. The real star of the finish work, though, was Tony. He sanded and painted and nailed and filled and sanded and painted again, and the quality of the finished detail work came out far superior to anything I’d made myself before. I know I’ll most certainly be utilizing his finish skills again on an upcoming interior moss wall project for Facebook’s offices.
The last challenge was the wall itself. Patrick mentioned the wall was tile, so I got a couple of different good drill bits for tile. I even practiced drilling tiles with them so that I wouldn’t have an amateur moment and crack her wall. That’s the last thing I wanted to happen! When I showed up, though, it turns out the tiles were actually marble, and my fancy drill bits were absolutely ineffective. I ran out to get a proper diamond-tipped circular saw tip bit, and it was “like buttah” with the right equipment. A little wet-towel cleanup when the drilling was done, and all was good.
The end result came out great! The client was restraining herself from watching as I hung the boxes, but I kept hearing little squeals of joy and “ohmigoshes” coming from the other side of the room. She was absolutely thrilled with the end result, as am I.
Here’s the full set on Flickr.