Grow a Green Living Wall Garden

green wall
Photo by Mark Hogan

What is a green living wall garden?

Well, it’s a vertical garden you grow along a wall — makes sense, huh? A living wall garden can be grown a variety of ways. You can use a normal wall as your starting point. You can place frames against the wall with grow bags where you can hang a variety of plants, and slowly work your way down. You can also use a variety of stilts, posts, wire, and just about anything that can hold plants! There are also different ready-to-build living wall systems, that are easy to install. We wanted to show you today how to grow your living wall of plants. There are many ways to grow a living wall, but here is the basic layout.

Building a living wall

First off, start off safe. Getting a living wall garden to take root and grow easily takes a lot of time. The best time to get a head start is to start growing plants after the last frost. If you want an even bigger head start, plants indoors first. Plants do take the time to grow, so starting off early inside where it’s nice and warm will give you an extra edge.

This video shows a simple way to make a green living wall:

Make a detailed plan

Don’t leap right into your wall garden. The best way to grow a successful wall garden is to plan it out how you want it to look. This will cut down on the stress on how to know where to place each plant.

Start off with a row of vines at the top. You’ll want to go with small leaf vines, so they don’t choke out your other plants. Vines are perfect to give your garden wall a cascading effect. Not only do they look lovely, but you have a huge variety of vines you can choose from. You can go with vines with broad green leaves, or the flowering types if you want a sweet scent to permeate your garden. Vines will also fill in any gaps between other plants to hide the structure you’re using to hold your living wall garden up. Go with vines that have trailing vines like rosary ivy.

Air plants or epiphytes are another excellent way to go. These plants require little to no soil, and you can place them right on your wall! Just use a waterproof adhesive to keep them in place. Arrange the tillandsias (the most commonly used air plants) on the wall to your heart’s content. They are another perfect plant to hide any trellis or other items to reveal what is holding up your living garden wall.

The bottom part is the best part!

You can now choose flowering plants, herbs, or anything else to arrange along the bottom of your wall, or on it! The best way to do this is to have elevated pots, trellis, or anything else you have to make your garden vertical. Arrange different kinds of flowering plants around your wall as needed. You can even make a small “basket” of sorts with just some moss, soil, and a bit of bird netting. Attach it to the wall by stapling it to some oak bark or grape wood bark. Not only will it look nice, but your living garden wall will maintain it’s appearance of being a living wall of plant life!

The best plant choices for your vertical garden

Are you thinking about putting together a vertical garden in your backyard? If so, there is a whole range of plants you’re definitely going to want to keep in mind for this project. Check out some of them below:

air plantsAir Plants (Epiphytes)

Air plants do not need soil or very little soil to grow.Their leaves can take in moisture and nutrients. They attach themselves with their roots to other plants. This makes them perfect for growing on vertical green living wall gardens. Tillandsias, Aechmea, Vriesea are a few examples.

Cranesbill GeraniumCranesbill Geraniums

If you want to liven up your garden with some color and texture, we suggest planting cranesbill geraniums in your vertical garden. With its delicate leaves and flowers, this type of plant will make any vertical garden a standout.

Ferns

fernsWhether you choose the clumping, trailing or an epiphytic variety of the fern, this kind of plant is great for those who plan on creating their vertical garden in a shaded space. In particular, we recommend the hart’s tongue fern because that one is not only robust but clump-forming too.

 

Bromeliads

BromeliadsWhen it comes to the vertical walls of your garden, you should use bromeliads. That’s because they require only a little bit of soil to grow in. In fact, they even come in three different types, which include the Guzmania, Billbergia, and Aechmea. Besides this, bromeliads also have colorful leaves, so they’ll really make your garden stand out. Plus, they’re long-lasting too, meaning you won’t have to keep replacing your plants over and over again.

Hostas

hosta_and_fernsFor those that live in a cool, shaded environment, the hosta plant will make a great addition to your vertical garden. That’s because their plants die down over winter. That’s not the only reason, though, why they should be part of your garden. Hosta plants also have lush, colorful leaves, which include stunning white summer flowers.

Hoyas

HoyaWhile the hoya plant may not be a variety you can find all over the globe, since they are a native species, they bring a special touch to whatever vertical garden they’re included in. Typically, hoyas grow and develop best in an indoors or shaded spot outside, with their glossy leaves. They also have waxy flowers that come in either white or pink, allowing the hoya to brighten up whatever location it’s put in. Like bromeliads, they’re long-lasting, so you won’t need to replenish your vertical garden often with new plants.

BegoniasBegonias

If your living wall is situated in a sunny spot then it would be a good idea to grow begonias. They’re not frost resistant and should be taken inside during the cold winter months.

 

Lipstick PlantLipstick Plant

Growing a lipstick plant is easy. It is an epiphyte and doesn’t require much soil to grow so it can thrive on a vertical wall. You can also grow it indoors or in a hanging basket on the balcony.

succulent wallSucculents

Succulents are the far most used greens for vertical living wall gardens because they have the ability to adapt easily to extreme environments and changes in temperatures. The succulent family is extensive and some of the most popular plants for wall gardens are the string of pearls, the echeveria, the larger crassula, and sedum.

vinesVines

Vines are fast growing climbers. They are very low maintenance plants that come in many different varieties. There are vines that flower and vines that grow best in the shade. The ideal plant to use for your vertical living wall.