Hey friends! Today my bestie Lisa is sharing her project that she adapted from my Chicken Wire and Wire Hanger Heart Tutorial. Someone commented on my tutorial that it would make an excellent planter for succulents, and Lisa decided to try it! I’ve never grown succulents, but Lisa has been growing them for a while now, and as you can tell from this project, she is also a master at arranging them into something gorgeous!
Lisa is the owner, artist and photographer at Dapper Peacock Studio where she shares her gorgeous furniture makeovers. She is also one of the admins on my Facebook groups DIY Farmhouse Style and DIY Farmhouse Style Market.
Hello everyone! I’m Lisa and I’m guest posting here today! Spring is in the air and I really want to garden. Unfortunately we are still getting cold at night. So to help get me through this I made with soft succulents door heart.
Mountain Crest Gardens: http://mountaincrestgardens.com?aff=10
I purchase all my succulents from Mountain Crest Gardens. They have a wonderful healthy selection, amazing prices, and they ship (even with heat packs for cold/freezing months)! I’ve never had any issues shopping with them. They also offer bulk amounts for larger projects.
Other supplies found on Amazon:
- Espoma Organic Cactus soil: https://amzn.to/2uZcTDg
- Floracraft Floral Pins: https://amzn.to/2uZcTDg
- Mosser Sphagnum Moss: https://amzn.to/2uT9fuM
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience to help you find the supplies Lisa used to make this project. She will make a small commission if you order through these links, but it doesn’t cost you anything more! If you enjoy this post, please consider shopping through these links as a way of saying thank you to Lisa for sharing her project with us! 🙂
My heart is made with soft succulents. It MUST be brought in for freezing temperatures. Soft succulents need to receive at least four hours of morning sun. Summertime they need to be protected from hot afternoon sun. Colors on succulents change with sun stress. That means that they will arrive green and their colors well enhance with more sunlight. You MUST acclimated your succulents to sun. Most succulents you buy or order are greenhouse grown. If you put them into the sun right after you plant them they will burn and die. Bright or dappled shade for a couple of weeks works well for acclimation. If you want a heart that can survive colder temps I suggest using Sempervivum succulents AKA- Hens with Chicks or House Leeks.
Using succulent cuttings:
I used cuttings from my own collection as well for my heart. Please be sure if you use cutting to allow the cut ends to callous over before planting them. If you cut and plant them without allowing a callous to form they will rot. I allow them to dry for at least five days out of direct sun.
Some of my new pretties I put into my heart. I found out I needed more than I thought I would… but I made a very fat with soil heart as I wanted to keep my succulents in it for a while.
First step: Find a large bowl or clean bucket and fill with water. Open your bag of sphagnum moss and put it into the water. Make sure you break up any large chunks and let it soak while you make your heart planter. It’s going to absorb a lot of water so refill your bowl or bucket if needed.
Now onto making your heart.
If you have purchased a new roll of chicken wire SAVE the thin wire that holds the roll together!
I followed the directions for making the basic heart shape here:
I did a few modifications that I’ll show you below.
I kept my wire long. I needed it long to help keep the wire secure for holding the weight of soil and succulents. Trim wire so that you can take the long parts or the chicken wire and wrap them tight around the heart frame.
Once all the long parts of the chicken wire are wrapped tightly around the heart shape I trimmed them up and then started securing the chicken wire. This is where the wire saved from above comes into play.
I did this around the heart just for extra security. About every three inches. Twist tight and trim off excess. I kept small tails on them that were turned and hidden in the moss later on.
Here it is with its back wire now secure.
Now, lay your heart back on the chicken wire and cut a second heart… this one needs to be larger than the first one you cut. I suggest making it bigger than you think you need it and then trim it down. If you even have to. Take the long pieces of the chicken wire and just hook them to the heart shape all the way around. This part takes a bit of time and finesse because you need to keep your heart shape while making a “cage” with the top wire.
Now your heart should look puffy. I took more jute rope and wrapped it around the bottom and top wire. Repeat the jute rope wrapping like when you first wrapped the wire hanger. Wrap and glue just ONE SIDE and NOT the entire side. You just want to wrap it enough to hold the top chicken wire on the heart but allows you to open the other side of the chicken wire for adding moss and soil.
Here it is completed with the second wrap of jute rope.
The red highlighted part is the section I wrapped.
Now it’s time to start filling the heart. I suggest laying plastic down if you’re doing this indoors as it becomes rather messy. I just used a trash bag. Grab your heart, floral pins, soil, moss, and a screwdriver.
Unhook the one side of your heart so that you can start laying moss down on the backside of the heart. I squeezed out some of the excess water from my moss but not all of it.
Working on my layer of moss.
I kept the layer pretty thick. I don’t want to lose dirt so you definitely do not want holes in your moss.
Now it’s time to add soil! This is where you steal your daughter’s Crested geckos spray bottle. Because I didn’t squeeze out all the water from my moss I only wanted to heavily mist my soil so that you can keep it shaped better.
Add soil into a heart-shaped mound. Use more water on it if it doesn’t hold its shape.
Here it is mounded… sorry a bit blurry. Now you’re going to add another layer of your moss over the top of the soil. Once again, keep the moss thick to hold in the soil!
You’re really going to want to stuff the moss into your heart. So don’t be afraid to use a lot of moss! Pack it into holes/empty spaces and pack it over the top of the soil.
This is how packed my heart was. The open side no longer would reach the heart frame. But…
With some tugging and pulling I was able to start hooking the top back onto the heart frame.
The top of my heart is open… I really wasn’t sure how else to do it. If you have a way to keep the chicken wire there… you’re amazing 😁
Now that the heart is closed spend some time pushing around on it. Find any soft spots and holes in your heart and fill them with chunks of moss.
Once you’re done filling those your heart should be full looking and mine was heavy! Thanks to all the water I left in the moss.
Now you need to lock the top wire opening closed. Using more of that handy leftover wire cut some short lengths of it and start wrapping the bottom and top chicken wire together around the heart frame.
Take the ends and tuck them into the moss to hide them.
Time to start planting! I happened to have a helper on this part. This is Theodore who eyes match my succulents.
Take your little cuties out of their pots and knock off as much dirt as possible on them. Try to not touch the leaves on your succulents. Most have a natural “dust” on them. It’s suppose to be there! The function of this material is to provide shade and protection. If you knock/wipe some of it off don’t worry, it will grow back… but it takes them a season or two to regain their natural sunblock.
Most of the 2” pots you receive from Mountain Crest Gardens will have small root systems making them ideal for this project! Also, you can see even I accidentally remove the dust from the leaves.
Take your screw driver and bore out a hole for your succulent.
Gently push your succulent into the hole and secure it with floral pins. Notice the leaves on the plastic? It happens! Don’t stress some are so delicate they are going to lose leaves! Don’t stress though. I’ll tell you below what to do with them.
Continue planting your succulents until you fill in your heart.
What to do with all those leaves that fell off?
Collect them all up! Find an old pan, put a layer of soil down in the pan, mist the soil and then sprinkle your leaves on top of the soil. Keep them out of direct sun but in bright light. Mist them when the soil looks dry. Only properly broken leaves will propagate. All the ones in my photo are good leaves. If they snapped in half toss them. If you don’t know if they are a good break or not go ahead and toss them in your pan with the rest. Doesn’t hurt to try propagating them 🙂
Within two to three weeks you should start noticing some new tiny succulents growing! (FYI: Not all will grow a new succulent.)
Thank you for checking out my project today! And thank you Michelle for inviting me to share my project with your lovely readers! 🙂
I hope you all enjoyed Lisa’s post! I think it was a very nice change of pace here 🙂 Let her know what you think of her awesome project in the comments section below!