I never quite got the whole terrarium craze, or made a mini-garden–even though they look like a lot of fun–but these string plants are beckoning me. They’ve been popping up all over the trend-obsessed Web recently. At first I thought, oh brother, just another bizarre place to grow plants. Vertical walls, moss lettering, Woolly pockets. Geesh! As a wannabe gardener, I can barely maintain my die-hard succulents in regular old pots. But to me, these have potential.
As I clicked through a slide show on the Web site, StringGardens.com, where I found these images, I realized the main attraction: the orb. That simple round form gives these dangling plants their appeal; they are sculptural. Even though the Web site wasn’t clear, my understanding is these are the babies of a Dutchman named Fedor van der Valk. (I have a video at the end of this post that explains how to make a string plant like this.)
The idea that you can grow just about any plants–from fruit trees to ferns–in these suspended root balls just adds to the fun. It also helps that they are mainly intended as indoor plants. (StringGardens is also on Facebook.)
As floating, living art pieces, these plants can either look amazing or just plain dumb. So there’s another challenge. They need to have a certain balance of scale, color and texture, just like any art work.
But when you get it right, they can be delightful. Think about all the plants that love to drape, and how high you could start these plants. Pulley systems might be in order.
Notice how they wrapped different colored string around this orb. Love that! Even though it’s cool to use thin line that you barely see, it might be fun to experiment with some thicker types of twine or cords. Time for a macrame comeback? Endless, creative possibilities here.
Like a lot of plants, the impact of mass plantings works for these as well.
This is a little mini masterpiece, with the sprouting round ball, the maroon stem, and the contrasting silver, teal and green leaves bursting from the top.
What about a floating herb garden? Can you smell the various mints? If you can’t wait to get started on your own, Design Sponge featured a simple tutorial on how to make string plants, saying they were inspired by Kokedama, or Japanese moss balls, and Bonsai techniques.
I’ve always wanted one of these staghorn ferns, but never found the right, shady wall outside. The option to hang one indoors is exciting.
The string plant people recommend staying away at first from annual and perennials, since they require more maintenance. Hanging orchids, apparently, are are great place to start. But after that, there are no rules!
Although the idea of these is to hang them indoors, I can’t help but think about them outdoors. You could create a type of screen by hanging these off a porch or arbor. Or drop a trio of small plants off a favorite tree. I haven’t seen many succulents, but those can be crazy when allowed to cascade.
Here’s a super nice couple who can tell you step-by-step how to make a string plant: