After this years series of stressful news and events, I really wanted to bring you guys a fun and whimsical planter idea for your garden or home. A Garden Jellyfish! I am not entirely sure how I came up with the idea; however, the finished product turned out way better than I anticipated so I decided to share with you how to create your own. It truly takes the idea of a hanging basket and turns it on its head!
This is a longer tutorial, so I am going to jump right in.
- 14" Metal Hanging Basket with matching Coco liner
- ProMix Potting Soil (I used about 20 litres)
- Paddle wire or floral wire (same thing, some just refer to it as one or the other)
- 3 Dichondria 'Silver Falls' or Lysimachia 'Creeping Jenny' - choose ones with lots of length
- 5-8 4" pots of Hens & Chicks OR 18 2" Echeveria succulents
Pause! Here is where this needs some explanation in the shopping list. When I created this planter, I used pots of Echeveria with multiple pups aka baby plants with a mother plant in one pot. I then separated them from one another and sorted them by size and viable roots. Meaning, when I pulled the plant apart, was there a 1" -2" long stem for roots to grow from. If it didn't I set them aside for a different project. This would be the method which you would do with the Hens & Chicks. However if you did not want to have this added step, the 2" succulents will fill this purpose 100% and with half as much effort. The cost is just different in the end.
- 1 Bag of Moss or 1 Block of Sphagnum Moss
- 1 4" Trailing plant - we used white Torentia
- 6 Zip ties *
- Scissors or serrated knife
- 1 bowl that is large enough for your basket to sit in.
So, this project was all about preparation. Make sure you have a stable surface to work on and that you have all your supplies on hand because once you get rolling, its a bit difficult to stop. The last shopping list item is a bowl and is something I didn't use, but should have. Working with a round basket on a flat surface led to a lot of rolling and tipping over. So I recommend that you get a large bowl in which your planter can sit in to stabilize it. You are also going to need somewhere to hang it while you work on the planting of the succulents. I used a large S hook and hung it from a hook in the ceiling. You can use your existing hanging basket bracket with a long S hook or even rope to have it within reaching distance.
This is important to get setup when your planter is empty, because it would be exceptionally difficult to manage when your planter is full. You need to flip your planters hanging chains to hang the opposite way they are normally. 2 of mine just easily flipped upside down while the other had to be un-clipped and then clipped the right way again. This is because your basket is actually going to hang upside down. You also want to shift them so they don't interfere with the metal cage of the planter. Once they are all hanging properly, gently place them in the bowl and then put your planter on top of it to keep the chains from becoming tangled.
* Now, my Coco liner was already zip tied to the basket. However, if yours is not, or is only attached in a couple places, you will want to secure it evenly all around to ensure it doesn't fall out.
Fill basket with ProMix potting soil entirely and then plus some. Compact it down and then fill a little more. This is because when you go to flip the basket over, gravity is going to pull the soil down and you don't want some of the plants at the top of the planter to not have soil.
Take your Dichondria or Lysmachia and plant them in a triangle formation in the planter. Also, this is a good time to untangle some of their vines so they will hang evenly when upside down.
I used sheet moss (green moss that we sell in large bags) because it is exactly how it sounds, it comes in sheets. If you can't find any, Sphagnum moss will work just as well. I filled the entire exposed soil surface with a thick layer of moss and focused on the areas around the plants too. This is because your moss and wire are going to be the only thing that keeps your soil from falling out. So no gaps!
This step is a little time consuming and needs a little finesse, but I have faith in you guys!
Take your paddle wire and secure it to the edge of your metal basket. You are going to wire the moss down to create a soil barrier for the soil. To do this, work methodically in a back and forth pattern from one metal rib to its partner across the planter and back to the next metal rib. Pull the wire tight as possible to maintain tension and prevent sagging. Do this in one direction all the way across. Once you get to end of the planter, cut your wire and secure the end to the metal frame by twisting back on itself. Then repeat this process but in the opposite direction to create a full grid of wire. When you get to the plants, pull the long vines up and out of the way making sure you are securing the base of the plant in, but not pinching down the vines. It doesn't have to look pretty as the moss will cover it for the most part.
Create a grid pattern with your metal wire in one direction and then double up in the other direction.
Now, this is the moment of truth - it is time to flip your Jellyfish over! You will need somewhere to hang it and yet still be able to work on it. I recommend a long S hook and then hanging it from the bracket you would hang it from. If neither of these options are available, gently gather the plant vines and place them in your bowl and put your basket on top of the bowl.
To flip your basket over pick up your basket from the bowl, balance it on one hand, place one hand on top of the moss and flip like a cake out of a pan, then supporting the basket from the bottom (moss side) grab the chain hook and fully extend it. It might be easier to do this with two people, but I managed on my own. Then hang it from your work space hook.
Plan out where you want your succulents to go. I chose every second gap for my first row and then the alternate gap for the second row about 3" above the first row. Take the largest plants from your stash and plant to use those first. The second row you can use the smaller plants. If your plants are all the same size, then just go with that!
It's planting time! Cutting the Coco liner is tougher than you think and I recommend wearing gloves for this part. A serrated knife would work; however, I had success with using scissors by poking a hole and then cutting a .5" - 1.5" slit in the fibre. If you are using the pups method you will want to cut only a .5" slit because you do not want to have the pups stem fall out. If you are using the 2" succulent method, take the plant out of the pot and gently work the soil away from its root system. Then gently insert the root ball and stem into the 1.5" slit. If your plants want to fall out, you can tuck a couple of their leaves into the wire ribs to hold it in temporarily. Once the plant establishes roots inside the basket you don't need to do this. Work your way around the basket and then do the second row above the first alternating the placement.
Next using your knife or scissors cut a hole large enough to just fit your 4" Torentia in the top of your planter. The basket has about a 5" diameter ring/hole at its top (what was previously the bottom) and that's where you want to cut this hole. I took the Torentia out of its pot and removed any excess soil around its root system, then I estimated the size of hole I could fit it in and then cut the opening.
This is the last step! Take you Jellyfish and hang it where you would like to display it. Gently untangle its vines aka tentacles to get as much length from them as possible. Water deeply from the top and then you are all done!
Hang your Jellyfish in a sunny spot in your garden and water it once or twice a week. The nice thing about the arrangement of the plants is that when you water it from the top at the Torentia, the water will run past the succulents but then absorb into the moss, providing your Dichondria tentacles with plenty of water without over watering your succulents.
We would love to see your creations if you take this project on! Share with us on our social media platforms Facebook and Instagram!
If you have any questions about this project, feel free to message me on Facebook or Instagram and I would be happy to help!
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