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Nowadays, it’s been harder and harder to get by a place with plenty of outdoor space. As areas become more urbanized, it is rather practical to invest in tinier homes, lofts, or condominiums. They are easier on the budget and often more accessible to the main districts.
Nevertheless, a smaller living space doesn’t necessarily make gardening a mere impossibility. Yup, gardening is still very possible even if you have limited square footage. So, this is where the concept of vertical gardening comes into significant play.
Vertical gardening is a technique used to grow plants on a panel laid upright against a wall or any vertical space. Thus, maximizing the height rather than consuming the floor area. Hence, despite having a small house, you are still free to fulfill your hobby of gardening.
Sounds pretty interesting, right?
In this article, let me teach you everything you need to know about vertical gardening. Get to know the benefits, the different types, and the fundamentals of vertical gardening. Plus, I would also gladly include the links on the best products you can use for this project.
Benefits of Vertical Gardening
Aside from the obvious fact that it saves you space, here are some other good reasons why you should do vertical gardening:
- Minimal water consumption
Vertical gardening optimizes the use of water. By virtue of gravity, the water you pour on the topmost layer flows freely downward. Thus, allowing the excess to pass down to succeeding layers.
Moreover, it oftentimes incorporates the use of hydroponic or aeroponic systems. Such systems enable you to recirculate and reuse the water. Hence, further minimizing wastage.
In fact, hydroponics can reduce water use by 70% to 90% compared to traditional soil gardening. Meanwhile, the aeroponic system can further increase water efficiency as high as 98%.
- Utilization of unconventional spaces
Vertical gardening allows you to utilize otherwise unused spaces. Examples of such at home are your walls, driveways, fences, balconies, or even rooftops. Any spot actually is possible as long there are light and enough room for your plants to grow into.
- Production of more crops
By taking advantage of the vertical spaces, you have greater chances to produce more crops without taking up too much floor area. For instance, a simple hanging planter with pockets can fill in as much as 72 seedlings. This takes up absolutely zero ground space as the fixture is rather hanged into a flat wall surface than on the ground.
- Controlled uptake
Vertical gardening gives you better control over the crop’s growing environment. It allows you to manage the amount of water and nutrients it absorbs on a daily basis. Such circumstance is far unlikely to happen with traditional soil gardening.
- Easier to maintain
Growing your plants in a vertical garden makes it less hassle to maintain. It takes your worries off of common soil-related issues like weeds, pests, and other soil-borne diseases.
- Promotes aesthetics & privacy.
Vertical gardens can actually be a great piece of decor in your home. Be it hanging plants or trailing vines, it can transform any bare space into a visual interest. Moreover, it can also provide you some level of privacy. The wall of greens or draping curtain-like vines acts as a division from a more intimate space.
Last but definitely not least benefit of vertical gardening is sustainability. This gardening system allows you to grow your own food. There are plenty of fruits, vegetables, and herbs you can grow in a vertical garden. So eventually, this gives you the means to be somehow self-sustaining when it comes to food resources.
Best plants to grow in Vertical Farming At Home
Here are some of the few common plants that can well grow in vertical gardening systems.
|Houseplants||Fruits & Vegetables|
Different types of Vertical Gardening Systems
You should know that there are plenty of types of vertical gardening systems. In this article, we categorized them into 2 basic groups:
System #1 – Vertical gardens with support structure system.
This type specifically uses any kind of structure or framework to which the plant can climb onto. It can be anything from a simple stake to a more complex trellis or arches. On this note, this system is best applicable for growing vines and other climbing plants.
Trellis probably is the most common among all types of structures. It comes in a wide array of sizes and shapes. Thus, you are sure to find one to best suit your vertical garden. It can either be a stand-alone latticework or a panel attached to the wall or fence.
Our top picks for trellises:
Arbors are latticeworks formed into a garden arch. So, this structure is perfect to place in your entrance gate or the path leading towards the garden. As the climbing vines cover the entire frame, it also provides a good spot for shade.
Our top picks for arbors:
Pergolas are very similar to arbors but on a larger scale. It is being used to create a small patio or deck area in your garden. The lattice is actually on the roof part of the structure. As the plant grows and fills the roof, it provides the space some shade.
Our top picks for pergolas:
The obelisk is actually a type of trellis that is often found in more formal gardens. The common obelisk has a pyramid-shaped structure with four sides. Although, you can also find ones with a circular or square framework too.
Our top picks for obelisk:
System #2 – Containerized vertical garden system.
This second major classification makes use of containers or planters. Yes, it is basically like traditional container gardening. But, what sets it apart is that it takes advantage of the vertical spaces. In short, this system is a combination of both container and vertical gardening.
If the structure system is best for climbing vines, the containerized vertical garden is suitable for any type of plant. Moreover, this concept is also very versatile. You can make use of just about any material out there. From repurposing old cabinets to specifically designed tower planters, the possibilities are endless.
- Hanging Garden.
As basic as hanging a few pots in your ceiling, shelving, patio, or fence is good enough to create a vertical garden. You can use commercial hanging planters or go DIY with macrame planter hangers.
Single-pot hanging planters are also great for highlighting the beauty of trailing plants. This lets the vines freely drape down from the container to create a dramatic statement. This is great for filling in a tall yet bare space both indoors and outdoors.
Our top picks for the hanging gardens:
- Freestanding Vertical Garden.
The freestanding vertical garden is any container structure that allows plants to grow off of the ground. Neither is it attached too to any wall or supporting structure. This system often comes in multiple tiers. The more levels there are, the more plants you can grow. Then again, without the expense of consuming a massive floor area.
Our top picks for the freestanding vertical gardens:
- Tower Garden.
You can actually consider a tower garden as a freestanding garden too. Nevertheless, this system particularly features stackable layers of plant containers. It can be a small stack for growing edible herbs on your kitchen counter. Or, a tall one for your balcony.
Our top picks for tower gardens:
- Living Wall System.
In this system, you are literally turning a black parallel space into a wall of living plants. It can be as small as a 24×30 picture frame. Or, as extensive as the entire wall. Now, that is one heck of a vertical garden!
For the living wall, you have to affix lattice structures against the wall to be able to attach the containers. It can be anything from a simple wire mesh, wall pockets made from fabric, or wooden frameworks.
Our top picks for living wall systems:
Vertical gardening basic guide
- Growing medium
Choosing the right growing medium basically depends on the type of plants you wish to grow. You can opt to stick with traditional soil gardening. Or, go soilless by incorporating the hydroponic or aeroponic systems.
Plants grown in vertical gardens tend to dry up more quickly than those grown in the ground. Thus, it would help to mist regularly to provide plants consistent moisture. If you find it hard to commit, though, it is better to choose species with minimal water requirements.
Different plants require different levels of sunlight. Thus, you should consider your choices of plants before setting up your vertical garden. The spot should be able to provide your plant the amount of lighting it needs. Otherwise, it is best to provide them with artificial lighting to supplement the lack thereof.
Again, plants have varying needs for fertilizers. Some houseplants can get by with general-purpose and balanced plant foods. While most flower and fruit-bearing species tend to have special fertilizer requirements to help them bloom.
Pruning your vertical garden once in a while helps to maintain a favorable shape and size. It is also a good chance for you to trim off unhealthy parts. When pruning, make sure to use sharp and sterile garden shears. This will prevent the cross-contamination of diseases from one plant to another.
Tips for growing a successful vertical garden
Tip #1 – Choose the right type of plants.
There are so many considerations when choosing plants for your vertical garden. Of course, it best to consider which types do you need or do you want most to grow. Like if you love to cook, then it might be ideal for you to grow herbs and veggies. Or, if you want to add some pop of color into your living space, then grow some colorful ornamental plants.
Tip #2 – Group plants with the same habit.
You can actually grow two or more varieties of plants together in a single vertical garden. Just make sure though these plants have similar needs. That way, you can care for them in the same manner without any issues.
Tip #3 – Start small and keep it simple.
Setting up a vertical garden for the first time can be quite overwhelming for some people. Thus, I would highly suggest starting small and keep the system plain and simple. Initially, try to grow a few plants and see how well can you manage them. If you already feel more confident, then that’s the time to add more plants into your vertical garden.
Tip #4 – Do not forget to protect your furniture, wall, and flooring.
Yup, vertical gardens can be set up on tabletops, as a freestanding floor fixture, or attached to the wall. Either way, do not forget to provide protection on any surface it comes into contact. The system involves watering the plants. Thus, it is likely to cause some spills and dirt from time to time. So, it is best to prevent any water damage before it even starts.
Tip #5 – Vertical gardens don’t have to expensive.
To continue to pursue sustainability, you should know that setting up a vertical garden doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Why buy when you can build, right? For instance, why not use an old wooden pallet as a wall hanging fixture. Or, transform plastic soda bottles into planters. There are so many materials you can repurpose for this project. You just have to be extra creative!
Vertical gardening is one great solution for optimizing a limited home environment. Growing more for lesser space is definitely a cool idea. So, I hope that this article helped you understand what vertical gardening is all about. Moreso, I hope it inspired you too to create your own in the near future.
Lastly, let me share one more piece of advise – don’t be afraid to try! You see, the best way to learn still is to just do it and let your hands get dirty!