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How to Make a Vertical Succulent Garden

published on April 6, 2012

Succulents are an ideal choice for Texas gardeners, as they are native plants that take drought and excessive sunshine in stride. They also root easily from clippings, and make ideal candidates for a vertical garden hung inside or outdoors, whether on a balcony or sun drenched deck like those overlooking the hill country in River Place. Frames for a vertical succulent garden can come preassembled, from a regular frame store, or can be salvaged from your own closet or a thrift store. Below are the instructions to make your own framed succulent garden that will look beautiful in any home in Austin, from Senna Hills to Eanes ISD:


Empty picture frame

Shadow box made of redwood or cedar, sized or cut to fit the back of the frame




Wire Cutters

1/2-inch hardware cloth or chicken wire, cut to fit the dimensions of the frame

Staple gun


Plywood backing, cut to fit the back of the shadow box

Spanish Moss

Paint or varnish

Clean cloth

All-purpose potting soil

Succulent cuttings



Paint or varnish the picture frame. Let dry completely before moving on.

With the frame lying face down, press a large piece hardware cloth or chicken wire into the frame’s opening, making sure it is flush with the front of the frame. Staple the wire into place on the back side of the frame, and cut away excess wires.

Next, screw the shadowbox frame into the back of the picture frame. The depth provided by the shadow box is important for giving the succulents room for root growth.

Prevent the soil from falling through the wire by lining it with Spanish moss.

Once the wire is covered with moss, fill the frame with potting soil.

Secure the plywood backing to the shadowbox frame.

Turn the frame right side up. You may want to slip a piece of wood under the front of the frame to prevent dirt from falling out. Alternatively, dirt could be added through the wire after flipping over the frame instead of before.

Use chopsticks to poke holes in the dirt through the mesh wire and plant the succulent clippings. The roots will form on their own, but leave the picture flat and out of direct sunlight for a week or two as the plants take hold. Water sparingly, especially during the first two weeks.

Once well rooted, the frame can be turned upright. It can be anchored into a wall, or propped on a secure surface and leaned against a wall. Hanging gardens can get very heavy depending on how large the filled frame is, so be sure the wall can support the weight if you plan to hang it. An Austin Realtor can assist with choosing an Austin home for sale that would be ideal for hanging your vertical garden.

Photos courtesy of Luna-See and

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