Christmas guests will be amazed when they see this beautiful succulent ball suspended from a tree or pergola, or taking centrestage in a courtyard.
It’s easy to make, just buy two wire-framed hanging baskets, remove the liner and replace with moss, then plant the basket from the outside with a selection of succulents.
You can use cuttings in the ball but leave them in a brightly lit spot for three days to form a callus before planting. Or divide echeverias and sempervirens to use the small rosettes.
Once it is hung, water the ball well, then at least once a week, and feed every couple of months with a soluble complete plant food.
Keep in mind the ball is alive and growing, so after about a year you’ll have to rejuvenate it by replacing plants that have outgrown it.
If you have enough succulents, make a second ball to give as a gift.
Take cuttings and remove the lower leaves for a stem of 50-80mm. Line each basket with a generous amount of wet sphagnum moss. Starting from the base, make holes in the moss with a chopstick, inserting the plants. TIP Secure any loose cuttings and rosettes with bobby pins.
When the sides of the baskets are planted, fill them with a good-quality cacti and succulent potting mix. Position a flat board over each basket to keep the moss and compost in place, then invert them. Stand the baskets for six weeks in a sunny spot until roots form. Water once a week.
Invert a basket and position it on top of a plastic bucket or have a friend hold it. Position the other board on top, aligning one basket directly on top of the other. Slide out the board and hold the baskets together. TIP To test that roots have formed, gently tug on a cutting or rosette.
Cut 100mm long pieces of wire to join the baskets. Slip the wire behind the frame of each basket where they meet, twisting it around both. Wire the frame at 50mm intervals. Attach an S-hook to the basket frame at the top of the ball, then add a chain to hang the ball in a sunny spot.