Vertical gardens are an innovative approach for gardeners who are short on space, want to add more greenery to their home, or try out something fun!
City dwellers will genuinely appreciate the versatility and beauty of vertical gardening. Outdoor gardens are a luxury that only a few of us are lucky enough to have. Compact urban houses even allow limited space for containers. The simplest option, and probably the only one for most, is to take their garden up the walls! Even a single wall can include lots of planters and barely take up any of your living space.
Vertical gardens may seem like something only the professionals can pull off. But, they are as simple to build and maintain as a good, old horizontal garden. In most cases, they're even simpler to maintain since pests and weeds won't bother your plants at that height.
The Steps To Create A Vertical Garden
Although vertical gardening is pretty straightforward, it takes a little bit of planning to get started. Whether you want to set up an extensive green wall or a simple one adorned with a bunch of hanging pots, follow these steps to make the job more straightforward for you.
1. Pick A Wall
Start your vertical garden by choosing a suitable wall. The wall you pick will be the home for the several plants you grow, so choose wisely. There are a few things you need to keep in mind when doing so:
- Is there a large, ugly wall you can beautify with plants?
- Does it get plenty of sunlight? Most plants thrive in ample light, so either switch to a different wall if the one you are considering doesn’t get enough sun or make do with shade-tolerant plants.
- Is the wall sturdy enough to support what you’re planting? Wall strength isn’t much of a concern for low-profile vertical gardens. Unless you plan an extensive vertical garden with large planters, most walls are strong enough to support it.
Indoor vertical gardens work perfectly, as long as you choose the right plants. Bringing nature indoors creates a sight for sore eyes and also purifies your indoor air. But, try to pick a wall that's facing a sunny window, preferably a south-facing one, so your plants aren't short of light.
If you’re planning a vertical garden on an indoor wall, a succulent garden is an ideal option since it thrives in half as much light exposure as full sun.
2. Choose The Type Of Vertical Garden
There are tons of vertical gardens you can choose from. So, that’s why we’ve put together some interesting DIY ideas for you later in the post. It’s best to start with an easy one while you’re still new to vertical gardening.
The simplest option is a container-style garden. Just think of it as your regular horizontal container garden taken up a wall! You can arrange the potted plants in rows or any unique style that appeals to you.
Pocket wall hangings made from canvas or felt also make great planters. Just hang it from a rod or a hook, depending on the size, and add pots into the pockets. This cute pocket garden is the perfect way to fill up an empty wall.
You can also buy specialized wall planters and cut down most of your time and efforts. You’ll also find systems that come complete with planters and a stress-free irrigation system. They’ll keep your plants well-watered, especially on hot days, without bothering you.
3. Pick Your Plants
There are a couple of things you should keep in mind when selecting the plants for your vertical garden.
- Choose varieties that grow flexible stems and adapt well to limited growing space. Instead of sticking out of the wall, they should mold their growth in the space available. The idea of a vertical garden is to create compact greenery that won’t invade your living space, and woody plants that sprawl out of the wall won’t cover that. Ferns, flowers, and herbs serve this purpose best since they’ll droop over while creating a beautiful, flexible effect.
- Select plants that have similar needs, especially in terms of lighting. If you picked a sunny wall, choose sun-loving plants for your vertical garden. For example, vegetables and herbs are great picks for bright walls. If you have a shady indoor wall, succulents, ferns, or other shade-tolerant varieties are the ones to go for. Other than lighting, you want plants with the same growth rates. Fast-growing species will quickly invade the area, shading out the slow-growing plants, so don’t plant them close by.
4. What Plants Grow Best In A Vertical Garden?
- Leafy Greens
- Bird’s Nest Fern
- Make Preparations
When you grow vertically, the plant roots and foliage have to deal with gravity. The better option is to start them horizontally in pots and wait a couple of weeks to develop a healthy root system. Once the root system has been established, the plant won't mind if it's sitting in a vertical planter.
Once your plants are ready to go in the vertical garden, it’s time to set up their new home. Unlike ground plantations, the plants will be growing in limited soil in a vertical garden.
Unless you use good quality organic potting mix, your plants will have difficulties getting the nutrients they need to grow. Also, since vertical gardens drain out much quicker than ground gardens, potting soil helps hold some of that moisture so your plants won’t need frequent waterings.
The correct placement of plants in your vertical garden is paramount. Since most vertical gardens are arranged in rows stacked in parallel, you’ll be watering each row. Remember to choose moisture-loving plants for the lower rows. They’ll be receiving all the water dripping from the higher rows and will be easily damaged if they’re sensitive to excess moisture.
When your plants grow in a vertical garden, they’ll have limited space and, thus, shallow roots. Also, the little soil surrounding them won’t hold water for too long. That’s why they’ll need frequent watering to compensate for the continuous loss of moisture.
Save yourself the trouble and consider installing a drip irrigation system. The system is quite popular nowadays for watering wall planters and ranges from the most sophisticated designs to more straightforward options.
You can find drip irrigation systems at garden centers or order one online. Most of them include a timer and a hose for watering on a customized schedule. This is what takes much of the trouble out of the task.
Some Unique DIY Ideas For Your Vertical Garden
When you start thinking, there are tons of options you’ll find. Here are some simple, unique ideas to get you started:
1. Hanging Planter Garden
Get lots of hanging planters in light pastel colors, and hang them artistically on an empty wall. You can even use simple plastic cups, paint them, drill holes in them, string them with a rope, and voila! You have yourself a homemade bunch of hanging planters to decorate your wall.
If you want to know some great plants to place in those hanging baskets, read our post – The 10 Best Indoor Hanging Plants To Have In Your Home.
2. Succulent Picture Frame
Get a vertical wooden planter, or make one and turn it into something out of the box, literally! Fill the planter with good quality potting mix, fix the mesh in place, and plant succulents in them. It will make a phenomenal decorative item standing vertically on a mantel or hanging from a wall.
3. Shoe Organizer Garden
Have a dingy, old shoe organizer lying around? Wash it and reuse it as a planter! Shoe organizer gardens will have plenty of pockets, each for a different plant. Since there’s limited vertical space to grow with pockets stacked on top of one another, choose plants with soft foliage, like ferns, herbs, and flowers.
You don’t necessarily need a shoe organizer for a pocket garden. Sew one with canvas cloth if you don’t have it in your house. The task is simple. You need a rectangular canvas background backed with a plastic sheet on the side that will face the wall. The plastic sheet will prevent damage to your wall from soil and water. Next, sew in canvas pockets onto the base, and that’s it!
4. Cedar Wall Planter
You can buy ready-made cedar wall planters from garden centers or online. These wooden structures can easily be fixed on a wall and include pockets or shelves for your plants.
If you want, you can even build one yourself if you have the knack for it. All you need are some cedar boards, nails, a drill, a saw, a tape measure, and a pencil. Best of all, it will only take you a couple of hours to set up your cedar wall planter.
Vertical gardening is a space-saving way to grow plants, especially if you have a small home. With the technique at your fingertips and some creative ideas to get you started, you have everything you need to build yourself a living wall.
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