Vertical gardening is one of the hottest trends in gardening right now. It’s a fun way to brighten a Garden or inside space by bringing plants to eye level. It’s also a great way for urban dwellers to garden in small spaces, such as an apartment or balcony. Because vertical gardens are upright, they’re easier on your back and legs!
The term may be new, but vertical gardening is an old concept, in which plants grow on upright structures. A classic example is vines growing on a trellis, fence or wall. So how do you create your own stunning vertical garden? The options are endless, and you’re limited only by your imagination.
Like many gardening projects, vertical gardens can range from very simple to very complex. You first need to decide what you want to grow and where you’re going to grow it. Are you interested in an edible garden or do you want a wall of vibrant color? Do you want a permanent structure or do you want to be able to move it inside during the colder months? Keep in mind that what you grow depends on the amount of sunlight available in the area you’ve chosen. A vertical garden on the sunniest side of your home may actually keep your home cooler by absorbing the sun before it hits your house.
You can use almost any kind of container in a vertical garden, including pots, hanging planters, and old plastic soda bottles. Another popular option is a vertical gardening tray available at many garden shops or home improvement stores. Popular options for the frame include ladders, shutters, crates, pallets, or the time-honored trellis or fence.
Irrigation is another important factor. Your plants will need water, so you’ll need a good water delivery system. Hand watering is always an option (make sure you can reach the plants at the top!). A drip irrigation system is another popular choice, especially for bigger vertical gardens. This system can be as simple as evenly placed holes in your containers or frame to allow water to drip onto the plants. More sophisticated systems with hoses and timers regulate the amount of water delivered to the plants.
Once you’re ready to start planting, use potting soil to fill your containers. If your frame is also your container (such as a pallet), let it grow horizontally for a few weeks. This will help the roots get established and keep the soil in place. Place the plants needing less water at the top of your structure. These plants will get the most sun, and the soil will dry out sooner.
Grasses, succulents, annual flowers, perennial vines, ferns, and herbs do very well in vertical gardens. Vegetables including peppers, pole beans, salad greens, radishes, vining cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes will also thrive. Basically, any plant with shallow roots would be an excellent addition to your vertical garden.
The possibilities for vertical gardens are endless. They add visual interest and height to outdoor gardens and bring natural beauty to indoor spaces. Vertical gardens are a fun way to combine your creativity and your green thumb to take your gardening to an entirely different level.