Vertical gardens are great indoors or out. They can help you make the most of a small yard and provide a garden feature that requires virtually no weeding. Indoors your plants will help detoxify the air you breathe and boost your mood.
In the dead of winter, enough plants will increase the humidity making it much easier to keep your skin soft and your hair frizz free. (Unless of course, you happen to be one of the lucky ones living in one of the residences at Legacy place.) Of all the things, sunny West Palm Beach does not have a humidity problem.
No matter what your reasons are, these four tips will have you well on your way to creating the vertical gardens you’ve been daydreaming about.
Choose the Right Plants
The first thing you have to decide is what to grow. You could pick plants that add a decorative element, those that are best at filtering the air, the best culinary herbs, or a few medicinal plants. Outdoors you have an even greater selection- should you mix herbs and vegetables? What about petunias and strawberries?
Then, once you have a theme, you’ll have to narrow it down to plants that like the same conditions- sun or shade; lots of water or a dry spot. If you are looking to save space, then you should consider plants with shallow roots, too. Any plant that grows a taproot will not be happy in small pocket containers.
These restrictions are what makes growing herbs vertically and indoors so attractive. (Common, low-care house plants are another idea.) They fit very well into small spaces, provide an excellent aroma, love the indirect sun, and have dynamic, adaptable root systems. If you do choose to start with herbs, try selecting compact varieties. That means going with “Globe Basil” rather than “Genovese Basil” and “Mini Blue Lavender” rather than “Munstead Lavender.” Compact varieties will get you the best yield for the time you put in and cut down on how often you need to trim your plants.
When planting outdoors, do mix your plants. Companion planting will get you better yields and bigger plants overall. Not only that but it allows you to get creative. You don’t have to put just one plant per box or trough. Mixed plants are often much happier.
Choose the Right Container
Vertical gardens come with a lot of possibilities. Will you put your plants in little pockets along the walls? Hang them from the ceiling in pots or nets? Create a pyramid of stacked crates?
You’ll want to choose a container that will fit the size of plant you want to grow without letting it become dangerously root bound or needing to be re-potted (and ruining your careful design.) Of course, if you are set on a particular container, it’s more about choosing a plant to fit. As mentioned above, plenty of mini varieties are available and make the task of choosing the perfect container much easier.
Plan and Protect
The thing is, plants need water. Houses don’t always respond well to water- especially if it wicks into the walls or carpet. Make sure to protect any surface that touches your plants. If you are mounting them on a wall, you may want to tile behind them. If you are hanging them from the ceiling, consider the type of floor that is under them or put down a rug when it’s time to water.
Speaking of watering, you wouldn’t want all of your hard work to go to waste. Read up on what kind of watering situation your plants need (misting or soaking) and stick to a schedule. For most plants, that means watering once or twice a week in most seasons- up to three times during a dry winter.
Choose the Right Location
Now that you know what kind of plants and containers you want, what part of your house or yard suits your project? Is there enough sun? Will the moisture affect any of the surfaces? If the whole time you’ve been thinking about an empty spot in the kitchen for your new vertical herb garden but then realize that for one reason or another it won’t suit- don’t despair. There is always another option.
For instance, many people overlook the best room in the house for plants- the bathroom. Most herb and medicinal plants are natural deodorizers, and antibacterial. As a bonus, they’ll appreciate the humidity produced from a nice hot shower and helped it dissipate more quickly.
Feed Your Plants
You don’t need magic plant food from a garden center to keep your plants looking healthy. In fact, leftover coffee or tea can do the trick. The same can be said for plenty of things you might throw out of flush down the drain. Pasta or potato cooking water? Pour it on your plants. Banana peels and eggshells? Blend them up and lightly dig them into the soil. Feeding your plants with leftovers and scraps once a week should keep them jubilant for a long time.