Sustaining

How to Build A Living Plant Wall

There’s just something about plants that adds new life and vibrancy to a space. A vertical garden almost acts as an art installation, while taking up much less space than a sculpture. In fact, it’s a great way to utilize empty or sparse looking walls in a condo, house, or apartment. Think of it as a piece of “living art” that you tend to with love and respect.

This might be trending in the 21st century, but the age-old vertical plant trend has been around since the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. A living plant wall improves the air quality of your home (goodbye, expensive air purifiers), and improves sound absorption, which can help with noise pollution.

Space and location

Before the style or aesthetic, the needs of the plants come first. Always. Choose a wall that gets enough light. Natural sunlight is preferable, so think somewhere near a large window or a skylight. If you don’t have that light, the plants can’t produce chlorophyll, so add in light fixtures if your place doesn’t get much sunlight. For outdoor spaces, research plants that might work based on the climate zone you’re in and how much shade or sun they require.

Construction

Building your own frame is a viable option for those who enjoy building and tackling DIY projects. You can also choose to invest in a pre-made frame from eco-friendly materials or a metal frame with fabric pockets to add support.

Selecting plants

For low light areas, go with a snake plant, Brazil philodendron, or peace lily. Moderate light allows for options like English ivy or maidenhair. Ferns are also usually successful. We suggest experimenting with veggies or herbs that will lessen your grocery trips and increase your organic intake.

Maintaining the plants

Watering your plants will always be the toughest process, but is key. Self-watering systems are the most low maintenance;  if any plants remain in nursery pots, remove them once in a while to clean out any bugs with water and a small amount of soap.

Design and spacing

Your wall has a life of its own, and you need to remember that when engineering the space. Overpacking planters is the number one mistake that novice gardeners make when building their living wall. After six months, they’ll look very different than they did to start with. The philodendron, which we previously suggested, has a trailing effect that can cover up the appearance of planters. Additionally, you can transplant small plants rather than starting straight from the seed. This lets you get a better sense of what the final result will look like and tweak it if you want. Create a plan beforehand, including how different sizes, textures, and colors will look together.

There’s no rule that says you have to make your own living wall. Doing a DIY version definitely takes a green thumb and some practice. If your budget allows for it, you can opt for a living wall “kit” or a company that specializes in building them. Suite Plants is a smart green wall company that’s a master of all things artificial and living. A company like Grow Edible Walls offers various kits with automatic watering features.

Happy Indoor Gardening!

-Naima Karp

Photo: Pexels.com

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2 comments on “How to Build A Living Plant Wall

  1. arinaolenberg

    Wow what an awesome idea! I had no idea this was possible. Definitely gonna try it out at my next apartment.
    Thanks for sharing this 🙂
    – Arina

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