A Local Gardening Goddess Dishes 4 DIYs For The Plant Killer

If you have dreams of lush green gardens and plentiful windowsill arrangements, but cannot for the life of you stop killing your beloved plants, we totally feel your pain. But don’t break out your compost bin just yet. We've recruited the gorgeous and talented Katie Goldman Macdonald from S.F.'s own Botany Factory to show us four simple DIY gardening projects that'll have folks admiring your green thumb in no time.
From a delightful terrarium stuffed with self-sufficient succulents to a vertical garden you can assemble in five minutes, these step-by-step guides are about as foolproof as they come — and perfect for tiny-apartment dwellers. Suddenly budding with ambition? Click through and break out your gardening gloves.
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Miss Botany Factory herself, Katie Goldman Macdonald, sitting pretty in her bedroom next to one of her terrariums, featuring a hand-blown vase that she designed.

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DIY #1: Terrariums

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The Supplies: Various potted succulents and cacti, moss, glass container, perlite, charcoal, and organic soil.

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Step 1: Start by layering perlite at the bottom of any glass container. Katie suggests starting with a glass fish bowl or vase.

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Step 2: Add a layer of charcoal. Together, the perlite and charcoal create a self-sufficient drainage system.

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Step 3: Add a layer of mixed organic soil, sand, and rocks.

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Step 4: Pat down the soil and raise one side to create a scaled landscape.

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Step 5: Take your potted succulents out of their containers and lightly massage the soil around the roots to free them up.

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Step 6: Lay all of your un-potted plants on the table to see what you're working with. Katie used a Crassula, Coppertone Sedum, Euphorbia Trigona, and Variegated Necklace Vine.

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Step 7: Choose where you want to place the plants and indent the area with a spoon. Then, place the plant into the designated area. Arrange them any way you'd like.

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Step 8: Garnish your terrarium with moss or other pretty greeneries. Miniature gnomes are optional.

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Ta-da! A gorgeous terrarium that requires little attention! Just place it near sunlight, and spritz it with water once a week.

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DIY #2: The Vertical Garden


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The Supplies: A hammer, nails, air plants.

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Step 1: Create a lattice of nails on your wall.

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Step 2: Position the plants vertically on the wall and between the nails for support.

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Step 3: Add enough plants to cover the nails.

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Vióla! An eye-catching vertical garden that took less than 5 minutes! Just spritz the air plants with a little water once a week and you're golden.

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DIY #3: Hanging Wall Art


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Step 1: Wrap long pieces of twine around the base of each gathered plant. Katie used a puffy cotton version and some other found pieces, including a piece from a curb-side Christmas tree!

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Step 2: Insert a nail for each hanging arrangment into the ledge of your molding.

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Step 3: Securely tie the end of the twine around the nail.

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And there you go! Super-easy wall décor that adds a botanical vibe to any space.

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DIY #4: Plated Arrangements

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Step 1: These arrangements are two-fold: They are both pretty and serve to propagate the plants to be used in other arrangements. First cut the end of the plant at an angle to expose the most surface area.

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Step 2: Lay the exposed membrane flat against sterile sand. A single little nubby end of a succulent can even be used to propagate. Just cut it and stick it into the sand as well.

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The end result: Pleasant little plated plants! After about a week you'll notice tiny roots starting to grow, at which time you can transplant into a terrarium.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
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