Have you ever walked around a flea market or a yard sale and spotted a metal chair with no seat? I Iove looking for unusual pieces that can be turned into planters. Here is an idea for upcycling an old chair into a beautiful piece of garden art: a succulent chair planter.
A succulent chair planter is part garden and part sculptural art that adds interest as a focal point in the garden. I love that this project can fit into an expansive space or a small patio with ease. No matter what size your garden, a succulent chair planter will fit right in. See how to make this planter using an old metal chair, chicken wire, moss, and a variety of succulents.
- Chair with an open seat that will be able to handle the outside elements, metal works well
- Chicken wire with 1″ openings
- Cable ties
- Sheet moss
- Cactus and succulent soil mix
- Wire cutters
- Needle nose pliers
- Garden twine (optional)
It’s easy to build a basket into a chair for planting all sorts of plants. I like to use succulents because once these plants have become established in the basket, they are easy to maintain. Of course, you can plant hanging basket plants, annuals, or even herbs and edibles in the basket if you wish. This project will show you how to make the chair into a planter, and you can add the plants you like.
Cut a section of chicken wire that will be large enough to fit inside the chair to form the basket and extend over the chair edge. Gently push the wire down into the seat and spend a few minutes forming a nice basket shape. The basket depth will depend on the size of the chair. Succulents do not require as much soil as other plants. The basket for this succulent chair planter is 8 inches deep.
When you are happy with the shape of the basket, bend the excess wire over the edge of the chair. If there is too much excess wire, cut away some of the wire but make sure to leave enough to secure the basket to the chair.
Begin securing the basket to the chair. Surround the seat with cable ties. Nine wire ties were used for this project. Trim away any excess chicken wire. Needle-nose pliers can be used to tuck the chicken wire ends under the metal seat. Trim back the tails of the cable ties.
Now it’s time to line the basket with the sheet moss. Lay a large piece of moss, good side down, into the basket. If you are using multiple pieces, overlap them slightly. You do not want to see through the moss. Line the whole inside of the basket and up over the seat edge.
Take 2 to 3 sheets of newspaper and lay it down inside the basket on top of the moss. Any excess newspaper will be cut away later.
Fill the basket with soil. Cut away the excess newspaper approximately 2″ above the chair. After planting, any extra newspaper will be trimmed away.
Now you are ready to plant. Consider which succulents will look best in the back, middle and front of the chair. I like to have something tall in the back that can grow up the chair and include succulents growing over and down the chair. Mix it up with different colors and different shapes and textures to create an interesting arrangement. If tall succulents seem a bit floppy, tie them loosely with garden twine to the back of the chair for additional support.
After planting is complete and you are happy with how the succulent chair planter looks, cut back any newspaper that is showing. If the wire ties are showing, now is a good time to tuck some small pieces of moss over them. Gently water the plants, but do not overwater. Succulents do not like soggy soil. Water your chair regularly and allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. For more on succulent care, see this post.
Place your succulent chair somewhere where it can be seen and enjoyed.
About the Author
Marie Meiklejohn is the owner of Marie’s Garden, a seasonal greenhouse located in Pennsylvania. She grows unusual annuals for butterfly and cut flower gardens, is crazy about growing succulents, and specializes in designing custom seasonal containers for her customers. Workshops are held in the greenhouse throughout the year. Marie has studied horticulture at Temple University, Delaware Valley University, and Longwood Gardens. She has received a Certificate of Merit in Ornamental Horticulture from Longwood Gardens and a Certificate in Horticultural Therapy from Delaware Valley University.
Where do I get the variations of colors & plants. Live in the middle of Florida. After this winter & temps getting in the middle 20’s I
would have to take them in. Can you imagine taking them in when you live in Florida!
The weather can sure be crazy. While succulents don’t mind cold temps you’re correct that if your temps dip into the 30’s, those succulents need to come inside. Have you tried planting with Sempervivums also called ‘Chicks and Hens’ or Sedums? Both of these groups of plants come in many different colors and shapes and most can handle cold temperatures. As far as finding succulents of different shapes and colors, I would think living in Florida that you should have no trouble finding these very popular plants. First try one of your local independent garden centers where you can ask questions to find the best plants for you. There are also some good on line stores that sell succulents. Just don’t forget that you will be paying shipping charges when you order on-line. Have fun searching!
Are any succulent varieties a perennial? I live in Northern Ontario canada, the wi ters are very cold and most definitely snow covered. I would like to turn an existing 5 inch deep fountain base into a succulent fairy garden that can be left outdoors year round. Do you think this would be a successful project?
Thank you for your input.
Hi Sharon, yes absolutely! Look for cold hardy varieties like Sempervivum and Sedum. They can handle the cold. Go visit your local garden center and ask for cold hardy varieties. I leave many in my garden year round. But the special ones that aren’t cold hardy, are also easy to overwinter: https://gardentherapy.ca/overwinter-succulents/
Hi Sharon, I agree with Stephanie, Sempervivums (Chicks and Hens) and Sedums are great plants. Most Sedums grow pretty fast and spread nicely in containers. There are so many different colors and texture. A few of my favorites are Sedum ‘Angelina’, ‘John Creech’, ‘Voodoo’, ‘Blue Spruce’ and ‘Blue Carpet’. If they start to take over, just gently pull pieces off and replant somewhere else. Sempervivums also come in many different colors. I’m not sure what gardening zone North Ontario is in, but the Sedums I mentioned are quite winter hardy.
My only other suggestion is, does your fountain base have holes in it for drainage? If not, you will have much better plant success if you can make drainage holes. Neither of these groups of plants will be happy in wet soil that can not drain.
Good luck! Marie
Thank you for the metal chair planter recipe. Somewhen, I picked up four metal chairs similar to the blue one you used in your project. Mine have an x shape across the seat area and so I will be adapting the ‘form the basket’ technique to these.
I am delighted to read that you are a horticultural therapist. For many years, I was a professional gardener . Currently, I am a mental health clinician specializing in Expressive Arts Therapy. Thank you for your work using gardening in therapy. YOU GO GIRL!!
This is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! I have the exact same chair, old and rusted. What color of paint did you use?
Hi saw your chair for succulents I was wondering instead of the chicken wire to form a basket could I use one of those cocoa fiber liner?
yes, absolutely! Just add some wire to hold it in place.