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3 Ways To Build An Epic Vertical Garden Anywhere
Follow these tips to create a Pinterest-worthy living wall of herbs, flowers, succulents, and more.
by Molly Marquand
If you’ve mastered the art of keeping your succulent alive, then you’re ready for the next trendy plant challenge: the vertical garden.
Not only are these mini living walls an awesome space saver, they’re downright gorgeous pieces of décor for your kitchen, living room, or front porch that will have all your friends asking, how the heck did you do that?
Turns out, there are quit a few ways to build a hanging vertical garden. Here, we cover 3 of the easiest, plus tips on selecting the right plants for your particular space and needs.
Hanging pocket garden
Pocket gardens from brands like Woolly Pocket are your easiest option for going vertical. They’re available in a number of sizes and can be used indoors and outdoors. Pocket gardens are also the best for retaining a little extra moisture if you’re working in a hot, sunny space. Plus, the fiber is generally made from recycled material that is simultaneously breathable and leak-proof, ensuring safe walls and furniture. Pockets can accommodate flowers, vegetables, herbs, tropicals, and succulents.
Picture frame garden
Wood frame gardens generally keep the soil together (and not on the floor) better than any other design. This can be good if you’re looking to use larger plants, or ones that don’t have extensive roots, like succulents.
Build it: Nail together a shallow box frame no more than a few inches deep; then nail a piece of plyboard to the back. Fill your frame with soil and moss. Spread a layer of chicken wire over the soil/moss mix, attaching it to the edges of the frame with a staple gun. Place your succulent cuttings into the soil/moss mix (here’s how to propogate succulents in 4 simple steps.) You’ll have to keep the box horizontal for a few days before hanging so the succulents have time to take root.
Vertical pallet garden
Pallets can accomodate a number of plants, from flowers to herbs to vegetables, but they’re generally best for outdoor use (think: leaned up against an outdoor wall, or on the front porch), as they have the potential to be messy indoors.
Build it: First, find a pallet that has “HT” stamped on the side of the pallet. HT means the pallet was heat-treated and or kiln-dried as opposed to chemically treated (CT). Next, cover the back of the pallet with landscape fabric, securing it with a staple gun. Lay the pallet flat on the ground, fill it evenly with organic potting soil, then add your plants between the slats. If you can’t be sure that your pallet isn’t chemically treated, stick to decorative plants.
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How to pick the right plants and location
First, consider your environment. To ensure your vertical garden flourishes, choose a site that will match what you want to grow (or vice versa). Unless you are planting in a controlled environment indoors, wall gardens are generally better for super tough, heat loving tropical plants or succulents. And remember, the soil inside your vertical garden will dry out much faster than it would in the ground, so be diligent about watering and use an organic potting soil, which is the best for retaining moisture.
Then, think about what you actually want to plant. Many successful vertical gardens use tried and true tropicals to create that verdant rainforest look. These vines and ferns are tenacious, with lots of sinewy roots and strong tendrils for gripping onto planting surfaces.
Plants like pothos, maiden hair fern, English ivy, and wandering jew are all easy to care for choices that will grow well without a ton of sunshine—in fact, they’re virtually bullet proof.
For the gardener working with plenty of sunshine, there are two popular ways to go: a small herb and veggie garden, or a succulent garden. Believe it or not, tomatoes and cucumbers are a shoo-in for wall gardens. Not only are they excellent danglers (when left to their own devices, tomatoes become long and leggy trailing vines), but they both like warm soil. Add some heat-loving herbs like basil and thyme to the mix and you’ve got a (vertical) gazpacho garden!
For succulents, Echeverias, Crassulas (including jade), Aloes, and Aeoniums all work well. In fact, if you already grow succulents at home, pinch off the pups (the technical word for succulent off-shoots) and stick them in your homemade mesh vertical garden. Within 3 weeks, their roots will be strong enough to literally hang tough.
source: Rodales Organic Life