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Vertical Gardening And Green Walls

Updated on February 7, 2016

A Vertical Garden


A vertical garden or a green wall grows either up a wall, a structure attached to the wall, or on a self-supporting structure or a trellis.

Invented by Professor Stanley Hart Whate, and modernized by the botanist Patric Blanc, vertical gardening offers loads of benefits, such as it shrinks the amount of floor space required, focusses on climbing plants and creepers that are less prone to insects, diseases, and animal pests. You can easily monitor the plant growth, harvesting is easier, and a better visibility of the produce ensures less wastage of overripe fruits usually hidden under lush growth. Vertical gardens are also more accessible to gardeners with disabilities.

Whenever you wish to develop a vertical garden, keep in mind to situate the trellis along the north side of your garden to prevent it from shading other plants. Anchor your trellises to protect them from the wind and to handle the weight of the plants, by sinking the trellis posts 20 inches deep.

Plants that can be grown in a vertical garden:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peas
  • Cucumbers
  • Pole beans
  • Melons
  • Squash.

The Concept Of Green Walls Is Suited For Urban Households And Buildings

A green wall or a living wall is a vertical garden, that has vegetation growing on or against vertical surfaces, that includes the growing medium, such as soil. It can be developed from building facades or as boundary demarcation or even as a free standing structure.

Benefits of Green Walls:

  • Help regulate temperature. Foliage on or around a building acts as an insulating jacket, which keeps it warm in winter and cool in the summer season, reducing carbon emissions and saves on heating and air-conditioning costs.
  • Combat air pollution by trapping particles on leaves.
  • Reduce local flooding by absorbing rainwater, both at the root level and/or by holding it into the canopy of foliage.
  • Improve mental health and reduced stress.
  • Save on space

Variations In A Green Wall

  1. Conventional Green Facades: These are made of climbing plants growing on a wall, either with no additional infrastructure or with the use of stainless steel or wooden trellis, meshwork or cabling as plant support. It is quite similar to growing a vertical herb garden. Though an inexpensive option, it takes time for the plants to establish. Plants such as Camelia sp., Fuschia sp., Magnolia grandifolia, Scorpion vetch, and Pyracanthus sp., are used to develop green facades.
  2. Living Walls: These involve fixing continuous or modular planted up units to a frame that is separated from the building with an air gap. Continuous living walls can be made of felt layers or be a block of concrete using flower pots filled with growing medium. Modular panels involve cages of crushed bricks, which are seeded or planted up with tiny plugs. This creates a more naturalistic effect, quite similar to the wild flora of mosses and ferns that appear around a broken downpipe. Plants are rooted directly into the felt layers or in growth medium beforehand and then added to the structure. The growing media can be an organic material such as coconut coir, peat, tree bark or an inorganic material such as clay pebbles, mineral soil or sand.
  3. Intermediate Green Walls: Green screens are made of a climbing plant pregrown on a free standing galvanized steel framework and established as an instant hedge. Live curtains combine features of green facades and living walls. The system is made of plants climbing on a structure but rooted off the ground in small plantar boxes.

Urban hedges and stone walls are other variations in green walls.

An Indoor Green Wall


Plants For Indoor Green Walls

  1. Pothos: A vining plant that is easy to care for, and can be coaxed to climb or hang from its resting space.
  2. Sword fern: An evergreen fern with dark green fronds that grows in well-drained acidic soil.
  3. Cretan brake fern (Pteris cretica): A species of the evergreen fern family with pale and pinnate fronds, this plant has no tolerance for dry soil, so the base should be close to a water source.
  4. Wedding vine: A vining evergreen plant with large white tubular flowers that can be grown over 20 feet tall.
  5. Crotons: These are colorful shrubs with leathery leaves, that get a deeply pigmented hue in the bright light.
  6. Philodendron: This plant thrives in moist soil high in organic matter. It has large and imposing leaves that are often lobed and deeply cut. It has juvenile and adult leaves that differ from each other.

Water Supply And Irrigation Systems For Green Walls

Most green walls have one of the two basic types of irrigation systems - recirculating and direct irrigation.

  • Recirculating irrigation system: This is best suited for small indoor green walls. The source of water is an irrigation tank, which is either remote controlled or directly underneath the green wall. It is filled manually on a regular basis. Water is pumped from the tank into the green wall and is distributed to the plants. Excess drainage water collects at the bottom of the wall and is fed back to the tank.
  • Direct irrigation system: This is used for larger green walls. The water comes directly from an external source. It is channeled to the green wall and distributed to the plants of the wall. As the water percolates through the wall, it gradually trickles down under the influence of gravity. Any excess is collected and sent to a sewer drain.


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    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 

      3 years ago from India

      Excellent tips on vertical gardening

      I was thinking whether I can do it on my balcony wall

      But there won't be enough sunlight I feel

      Thanks for sharing this wonderful hub

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      3 years ago

      Very cool! The indoor green wall thing is gorgeous. Interesting hub, thanks for sharing. I always think of vertical gardening as something for a more practical purpose with herb and veggie gardening space, but clearly it can be used for a beautiful garden (or wall) as well.


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