How to Make a Suspended String Garden


String gardens feature plants with soil-covered root balls seated firmly in nets and suspended from the ceiling by tension ropes. Invented in 2011 by Fedor, a Dutch botanist, these pot-free gardens offer an alternative to hanging plants. What's more, you don't have to choose a specific type of plant for a string garden. As your skills grow, string up balls of grass, orchids, daises or small trees. For your first few attempts, keep it simple and stick with smaller plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Electric hand drill
  • 1/4-inch diameter drill bit
  • Seedlings
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Screw-end ceiling hooks
  • Cotton netting
  • Scissors
  • Cotton twine
  • Water
  • Stepladder
  • Drill four holes into the ceiling for each plant you want to have in your string garden. The holes should form a square about half the size of the plant's root ball. For instance, if you want to plant a small ficus with a 6-inch root ball, the holes for its strings should form a square 3 inches wide. Screw a ceiling hook into each hole.

  • Cut a piece of cotton netting about twice as wide as each plant's root ball. In this example, the netting should be about 12 inches square. This is large enough that the netting wraps around the seedling's root ball snugly.

  • Cut four pieces of cotton twine twice as long as the plant is tall. For instance, if a bonsai is 8 inches tall, the twine should be about 16 inches long, at the shortest. If you want the plants lower to the ground, try 20 to 24 inches, in this case, or two and-a-half to three times the height of the plant. Tie one piece of cotton twine to each corner of the netting.

  • Water the seedling well and let it drain completely before releasing it from its pot. Gently place the plant's root ball in the center of the prepared netting.

  • Ask a friend to help you with this next part. Stand on a stepladder holding the ends of the twine while your friend holds the root ball in her hands. Loop the lower right piece of twine over the upper left hook and the lower left twine over the upper right hook. Loop the upper right twine over the lower left hook and the upper left twine over the lower left hook.

  • Hold the ends of the twine tightly and ask your friend to let go of the plant. If it threatens to tilt, gently tug on the twine until the plant is steady and balanced. Tie off the twine and cut away the excess.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plant the string garden over a moisture-resistant surface like sealed concrete, stone or linoleum. You may also place a small water garden beneath the garden. This adds to the ethereal look and catches drained water from suspended plants.
  • Water suspended plants frequently. Use a glass irrigation bulb for each or simply water them with a watering can.

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