Space is something of a luxury that many people just don’t have, particularly when they live in apartments and flats in busy cities. This can be especially frustrating for those who love to garden. However, there is a solution; vertical gardens! If you’ve got a wall, you can garden, meaning everyone has the opportunity to add some greenery to their home.
Vertical gardens are a great way to maximise your use of available space, and they can be scaled to create relatively small one metre units all the way up to large commercial setups. While they can be complicated if you want to get a little technological – such as when they run off a hydroponic or soilless system – vertical gardens are a great DIY task everyone can take on in the home.
What are the benefits of vertical gardens?
Vertical gardens are not only good for small spaces, as they can be implemented to suit large commercial spaces too. There are a number of reasons for having a vertical garden in the home:
The first and most obvious advantage of a vertical garden is they can be created in even the smallest of spaces. Walls and fences dictate the amount of space that the garden takes up, not the ground, and this means that even small apartments and other properties can be filled with the flowers of your choice.
Grow plants out of season
The great thing about vertical gardens is that many of them are portable, which allows you to move them around at your convenience. This is a wonderful way to save your plants from winter weather. You will also be able to grow plants out of season with an inside wall and a grow light. You could also move your garden to take advantage of seasonal sunlight.
They use less water
In most vertical garden setups, water is reused and recycled through the irrigation system, resulting in very little moisture loss. Water is used more effectively, and this, in turn, means that less water will be used overall in a vertical garden in comparison to their horizontal counterparts.
They need less work
Once you have your vertical garden up and ready to go, very little work is required with regards to upkeep. There is no ploughing or tilling needed, and generally very little weeding (especially if you choose a soilless system). The layout of a vertical garden also means need to bend over less when gardening, making it an option that’s much more back-friendly.
What kind of plants work well in a vertical garden?
First things first, you need to decide kind of vertical garden you want before you buy plants for it. Are you intending on growing an edible vertical garden? Or are you simply using it for aesthetic purposes? You also need to consider where it’s going to go, how much sunlight will the plants be exposed to, and the kind of climate it will be exposed to.
Edible vertical gardens
If you’re growing an edible vertical garden, there are heaps of options you can incorporate into your design. Arranged by their sunlight requirements, here are some of our favourites.
Shady: mint, basil, watercress, sorrel.
Partly shady: lettuce, rocket, radishes, basil, parsley.
Full sunlight: tomatoes, rocket, sage, thyme, spinach.
If you’re growing your vertical garden for aesthetic purposes, such as covering up an unsightly fence or wall or to simply make your house brighter, these plants which are most likely to flourish:
Lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus radicans)
These beautiful plants are a firm favourite for vertical gardens; their red flowers and green leaves brighten up any home. They are low maintenance, and while they prefer hot and humid conditions, they are perfectly fine in drier conditions. These plants can also grow both indoors and outdoors.
Sword fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
The Sword fern is a popular vertical garden plant because it’s lush and strikingly green, while also being extremely low maintenance. A cool spot with a lot of shade is perfect for this plant to thrive. Other ferns that do well in vertical gardens are Staghorn, Rabbit’s Foot and Bird’s Nest ferns.
Wax flower (Hoya carnosa)
The wax flower is a creeping vine that produces stunning flowers that give off an intense fragrance. They love sunlight and lots of water and are easily coaxed into growing in a certain direction too. The flower blooms over and over, meaning that your vertical garden is more than likely going to have beautiful flowers all year-round.
These are just some of the most popular varieties of plants for vertical gardens. Others include wedding vine, monstera, peace lilies and crotons. The plants that you use in your vertical garden will vary depending on what you are using the garden for and the kind of environment they’ll be in.