Vertical gardens are increasingly popular in homes of all sizes and styles. They are attractive, interesting, and help to create healthier indoor air.
Creating your own vertical garden isn’t as difficult as it may seem at first, and it’s an incredible way to make your home look and feel better.
Here’s how to make a vertical garden indoors.
Choose the Right Plants for Your Wall, or the Right Wall for Your Plants
Perhaps the most important part of creating a vertical garden indoors is choosing plants that will thrive together, in the available light in your home. Different plants have different light, space, and water requirements, so you want to choose plants that have similar needs and can grow well on the same wall.
If you want to grow a vertical garden on a specific place in your home, it’s important to choose plants that will do well there. Or if you want to grow a particular kind of vertical garden, like an herb garden, then it needs to be placed in an area with adequate light. Here are some tips to help you decide.
How to Determine the Amount of Light Available
If you have a sunny area with windows that face south or west, and gets direct sunlight for five or more hours a day, then you have bright light conditions.
If you have an area with windows that face south or west, but the sun beams don’t land directly on the wall, you have indirect lighting.
If you have an area with windows that face east or north, or windows that are in the shade, then you have low light conditions.
If you have a room with only small shaded windows or no windows at all, you have no light.
Believe it or not, you can find houseplants that will thrive in any of these lighting conditions, even if you choose not to add artificial light. But an indoor vertical garden shouldn’t mix plant species that like different lighting conditions.
Plants for Your Lighting
These are just some examples of plants that live well indoors in different lighting conditions. Knowing that you have so many plant varieties to choose from may help inspire you to get creative and make your vertical garden more diverse.
Bright Light Plants
- Crotons or variegated laurel
- Aloe vera
- Jade plant
- Snake plant
- String of pearls
- A wide variety of herbs, palms, and cacti
Indirect Light Plants
- Spider plants
- Prayer plants
- Air Plants
- A wide variety of ferns
Low and No-Light Plants
- Calathea (Peacock Plant)
- Peace lily
Choose Your Vertical Plant System
For many DIYers, starting a vertical garden may be as simple as hanging shelves, brackets, or a framework, hanging containers, and it’s done!
However, for in indoor vertical garden, it is important to consider how you will manage plant care. Plants in a vertical garden have less soil available, and need regular care and maintenance.
Will you be using a stepladder to water your plants? How will you prevent water and moisture from reaching (and potentially damaging) interior walls?
For that reason, most vertical plant systems designed for use indoors have more sophisticated water management systems, using hydroponics or drip irrigation and waterproof linings to maintain the plants and manage moisture.
These systems cost more than DIY solutions, but it’s an easy way to manage a vertical garden indoors without moisture problems. Most of these systems are modular, so you can expand your vertical garden as much as you like.
Most Common Vertical Garden Problems
When choosing your plant system, it’s good to know what the most common vertical garden problems are, so you can avoid them.
The fact is, most indoor vertical gardens don’t do well, and many of the plants die, for these common reasons:
Depending on how they are planted and how they grow, some light-loving plants may end up shaded beneath their neighbors. Vertical gardens are humid, and become more humid the larger they get, and not all plants enjoy a damp environment.
Uneven Water Distribution
Early, gravity-fed vertical wall systems allowed water to drip down from the top plants. That means that the plants on top of the vertical garden get well-watered, but the plants on the bottom may die of thirst.
Because there is so little soil, most vertical gardens are fed with water-soluble plant food. But, again, if water is unevenly distributed, then so are the nutrients.
Whatever vertical garden system you choose, and however you decide to resolve issues of water, nutrients, and plant maintenance, those are important factors to keep in mind.
Designing Your Vertical Garden
When designing your vertical garden, it’s important to consider not just what your plants look like now, but what they will look like over time as they grow.
If your plants are likely to grow tall or aggressively, consider how high you will need to reach to prune and maintain them.
If you add plants that spread aggressively, like ivies that grow tendrils, you will need to manage them carefully to protect your walls and surrounding plants.
Because vertical gardens have less room for soil and because very large or invasive plants are a potential problem, these are some of the best plants for an indoor vertical garden:
Ferns are easy to grow, beautiful to look at, and highly adaptive. They are also light in weight, have small root systems for the amount of foliage, and quickly grow to fill in a garden. There are a huge variety of `for lots of interest and texture in a garden.
Bromeliads have shallow roots and don’t require much space, so they are ideal for a vertical garden. They have vivid, long-lasting flowers and colorful leaves that add a dynamic quality to a vertical garden.
Pothos is one of the most forgiving indoor plants, tolerant of a wide range of light, water, and soil conditions.
Different varieties have different colors and patterns on their attractive leaves, and their trailing habit helps to spread and fill in gaps in a vertical garden.
The gorgeous lipstick plant both climbs upwards and trails downward, with gorgeous foliage and vibrant red flowers. It blooms sporadically all year long, and will grow well indoors with bright light and warm temperatures.
Cacti and Succulents
Succulents and Cacti plants are notoriously low-maintenance and adaptable, and come in every kind of color, shape, and size. They are a great way to round out a vertical garden.
Crotons are another plant with incredible foliage and a compact root system. The intense color of the leaves requires bright light, but the plant is drought-resistant and easy to care for.
The tiny, delicate leaves of this little ground cover are irresistible in a vertical garden. The plant requires bright light and is a great way to fill in small spaces.
Whether you want your garden to provide gorgeous greens or vivid color, grow up to the ceiling or trail down to the floor, there are plants that will do well in your environment and make a stunning living wall.
Vertical gardens are an incredible way to green up your indoors, improve your indoor air quality, create a more attractive home, and maximize your living space. With some planning and foresight, you can have a thriving garden wall in no time.