Can’t find a place to grow your favorite flowering plants in your cramped apartment? Finding an empty wall boring in your house? Either way, a vertical garden can be the ideal solution for you.
It’s easy to use vertical spaces, like empty walls, by hanging mount palettes or planters and creating your vertical gardening there.
The options are endless with a vertical garden. You can grow flowers, fruits, veggies, perennials, annual, seasonal, etc. Any plant that can hold up vertically should be your ideal choice. For some, it is a fruit, and for others, it is an ornamental flower.
Though there are a lot of vertical garden types, there is at least one for every budget. You can spend a few hours of your time and some old pieces from your garage, or thousands of dollars in an already-made mount palette. The vertical garden outcome is limited only by your creativity.
If you are a first-timer looking for pre-fab vertical gardening supplies, you can get one for less than $20, like the Meiwo Pocket Vertical Garden.
But before that, here is the outline of the whole process in 6 easy steps for you to follow and start designing your vertical garden.
1. Settle on a spot
Find a place where you want to set up your first vertical garden. You will need to consider the sunlight availability and load-bearing capacity of the wall. These two factors will influence your decision the most when it comes to choosing the plants and types of vertical gardens.
For outdoor walls, there are not many constraints you need to be worried about. Indoor vertical gardening is trickier, and you will have to look after every essential factor of plant growth – water, sunlight, and airflow.
In our opinion, sunlight should be the deciding factor if you have more than one wall available for a vertical garden, as having mild sunlight is the ideal condition for most plants.
2. Choose your plants
Based on the availability of sunlight, now you can pick plants of your choice. Let’s narrow down choices first.
Vertical living walls can be classified into two – ornamental walls (decorative purposes consisting of flowers, succulents, and leafy plants) and purposeful gardening (that yields consumables like fruits and vegetables).
Now choose the type of plant – succulents, air plants, herbs, vegetables, etc. It is very important to choose plants that require the same habitat, as it is challenging to micromanage plants individually after setting up your vertical garden.
By now, you would have left only a handful to choose from. Next, you must consider the type of vertical garden when selecting your plants.
3. Type of vertical garden
The options start from simple prefabricated six-pocket hanging stands to DIY pocketed cloth vertical gardens.
Based on the type of plant, you might be limited with choices.
We recommend going for hang planters if you are trying to grow your own veggies. They are easy to maintain and can be changed easily. Hanging baskets also make micromanaging possible.
The pocketed cloth-based wall garden best suits ornamental vertical gardens, where you need to grow a lot of plants.
Prefabricated trays are best for beginners as they are easy to handle.
Other types include wood pallets, and you can even make your own when recycling old cabinets.
4. Irrigation and fertilizer system
Some of the small-scale vertical gardens can skip this section altogether. But in most cases, when you are looking for longevity and easy maintenance, you have to put in the money and effort during the setup process.
Drip irrigation is the most recommended irrigation system for living walls. The biggest drawback of indoor vertical gardening remains to be the quick drying of water.
Due to constant airflow, less or no sand, and vertical positioning of the garden, water is dried off sooner than traditional gardens.
To counterbalance that, you will need to have a drip irrigation system.
Running small pipes throughout the vertical landscape will make sure water reaches every part of the living wall.
There are hanger pots available online with an automatic dripping system. Our favorite is Worth Garden Self-Watering Vertical Wall. The system provides enough water for days, and it’s connected to your tap.
If you are doing large walls that are not readily accessible, you should also consider fertilizer injector pipes. The setup is similar to a drip irrigation system, but liquified fertilizers and natural pesticides are sent into the soil.
Another way around is developing a complete ecosystem of plants, with microorganisms that support it, and nutrients to favor it. This way, the vertical garden is self-sustaining without any need for fertilizer. But keep in mind, it is not an easy task to pull off.
5. Planting crops
Once you have everything set up, it’s time to think about what you want to plant. It is ideal to start with seedlings instead of seeds, so the risk of losing the plant is lower.
If you are using a pocketed vertical garden, you might want to grow the seedlings horizontally for a few weeks to ensure proper rooting.
While inserting them in the soil, make sure to have enough sand around the roots or use coco peat soil.
Coco peat soil retains water for a more extended period than sand, helping with irrigation.
Don’t get upset if you see some of the crops decay in the first few weeks. It is hard to hit 100% in your first vertical garden. Keep a few other plants available to fill in the dead spots.
6. Maintain and grow
A well-maintained vertical garden can live untouched up to 4 years, depending on the crop type. Once you pass the first month, you are left with periodic maintenance, i.e., pruning and manuring.
The ideal watering cycle for a vertical garden is 10 to 15 seconds of watering for 3 to 6 times a day. To avoid the hustle of timing for watering every day, look for an automatic system.
Important maintenance activities are
- Pruning of decaying, dying plants, and leaves.
- Making sure the soil has enough nutrients for the particular plant. Make sure to fertilize them periodically.
- Preventing insects, cobwebs, and your pets.
Reap the benefits of a perfect wall garden
If you have followed all the above steps, you are guaranteed to have the best vertical garden. Be it flowers that decorate the wall or tomatoes that will be part of your kitchen, you will succeed.
And remember one thing: never stop growing your greeneries. Once you harvest the benefits, rinse and repeat the whole process.