Friday, July 4, 2014

The Gutter Planter Redux - Succulent Style!

Last year, I enlisted the help of my husband and friend Julie to create a gutter planter for my monthly project as a Lowe's Creative Ideas Garden Team member.  Once it was constructed, I planted it up with an assortment of annuals and perennials and just for fun, threw in a few glass watering balls that had gotten their bottoms broken off.

Angled gutter planter - Summer 2013

As the summer wore on, the planter, which was located on the hot south side of our house, demanded that I pay pretty close attention to keeping it watered.  Because there's not a whole lot of room for potting soil, there isn't a lot of leeway or forgiveness on the watering issue.

So this year, I decided to try something else. What kind of plants do well in hot, sunny locations that take a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to watering? SUCCULENTS!  So, with the help of Costa Farms, North America's largest houseplant grower and wholesaler, who sent an assortment to me, I planted that baby up with a bunch of cool succulents.

I added in some hens and chicks (Sempervivum spp.) that I already had in my garden, that I'd received from Forever and Ever Plants two years ago. One is 'Red Heart' (seen on the lower right in the photo above) and I've lost the tag for the orangey one.

I also used some of the succulents from Costa Farms in the ground, below the planter, as a tie-in.  Since there are some hardy mums growing here too, I've made sure that the soil drains well, because mums won't survive our cold, wet winters here if I don't amend the native clay soil.  Succulents should do just fine.

It's been a couple of weeks now and we've had a few heavy rains, but the drainage holes in the bottom of the planters allow for excess water to drain away and everything looks just as good or better than it did the day I planted it.  I think this planter will be filled with succulents every year now.  When the danger of frost arrives later this year, I'll pot up the tender succulents and put them in the greenhouse for the winter.

 I just love how this looks!

You can find out how we constructed the planter in my original post, "A Different Angle on Vertical Gardening."

Thank you to Garden Media Group for arranging to have the succulents sent from Costa Farms.  Thank you, Costa Farms, for your generosity and help with this project!


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Succulents being all the rage right now make this a great project. I love all of those succulents. It is nice that you have a source for them.

Jenny said...

I love this planter - so creative!

I had to do the same thing this year. Last year for Mother's Day my son made a flower tower for me & filled it with impatiens. It was so beautiful last year but it cost almost $50 in impatiens to fill it. so this year I've filled the sides with a creeping sedum that's winter hardy in my area. It's filling the sides beautifully. I planted the top with just a few impatiens & caladium. It looks beautiful & is a great focal point at the end of my flower bed under a redbud tree. I'll only need to replant the top next year.

Colleen said...

Love that. It's gorgeous and gives a lovely vocal point.
I would dearly love to do something like that but I know for certain that all the neighborhood cats would be in it.

RobinL said...

Good thinking! Succulents to the rescue. Full sun, very little soil, now you just know it's going to dry out. I would think the soil would wash out in the rain?

Kylee Baumle said...

Lisa ~ I've worked with Costa Farms on several occasions before and they've been a great help. Succulents are so easy that it's no wonder they're so popular!

Jenny ~ I'll bet that's gorgeous! Ooooh...caladiums are one of my very favorite plants.

Colleen ~ Did you know that we have six outside cats? They've never shown the least bit of interest in the planter. My biggest problem with the cats is that they dig in the mulch. I'm always having to straighten it up.

RobinL ~ We didn't have any problems with the soil washing out last summer and I think it's planted full enough that the roots will form a network and keep the soil together. We had an horrendous 3.5" rain over the course of an hour and a half yesterday and it was coming down HARD. I think maybe the location may give it a little protection, but not a thing was lost out of it, so I think we're good. ;-)

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