A well-maintained living wall can look fantastic. They are the perfect way to transform dull and even the smallest of garden spaces. Here are the best plants for a living wall vertical garden.
If you’re thinking of creating your own living wall in your outdoor space, you will need to choose plants that will survive in this type of environment. We’ve got a great list of plant options, along with some additional points to consider before you tackle this project! This article will help you create a striking vertical garden that will thrive.
What are living walls / green walls / vertical gardens?
Various types of living walls range from simple plantings of wall shrubs and climbers to more complex engineered systems. Direct greening involves a self-attaching climber that uses the façade for support and nutrition. Indirect greening includes engineered solutions like trellises and wires, creating an insulating gap between the building and the plant. Living wall systems use planter boxes or felt and do not require climbing plants. These systems often need to be irrigated and plants for intensive green roofs are usually suitable for these systems. You can learn more here.
The benefits of living walls
- They deflect water away from walls during heavy rain.
- If used indoors, they can provide an extra insulation layer, even in modern, well-insulated homes, reducing energy loss and heating requirements.
- They can help keep homes cool in summer; green surfaces don’t store up the sun’s energy during the day and release it at night.
- They provide habitats for insects.
- They contribute to the improvement of urban air quality.
- They contribute to reduced noise pollution.
What to consider before buying plants for a living wall
When choosing plants for your living wall, consider more than just the plants themselves. The growing conditions are critical. Considering sunlight will help you determine the correct orientation for your plants. Good drainage and proper nutrition are also vital to ensuring that your plants thrive. If your wall receives less than half a day of sun during midsummer, choose shade-tolerant plants and water every day in hot weather, or at least every other day throughout the summer.
Creativity can also play a role in your living wall’s success. Consider adding wild species you come across while in nature to add some biodiversity and inspiration. Symmetry is also crucial in vertical gardening, so experiment with different plant combinations and lighting to enhance the aesthetic appeal. By promoting biodiversity in your urban environment, you can help to preserve nature. Adding wildflowers to your living wall can offer a natural habitat for bees, insects, and butterflies.
Ensure year round interest
For the most impressive living wall plantings, it’s ideal to consider foliage’s texture, shape, form, and colour just as much as flowers. To ensure year-round interest, you can opt for perennials or switch up your bedding with the seasons and consider using edibles for a fruitful harvest if you’re limited in space.
Best plants for a living wall vertical garden
Adding climbers and wall shrubs is an easy way to make your walls more interesting. You can find a climber that will work well for your wall, depending on whether it receives sun or shade. In living wall systems, you can plant various herbs, fruits, vegetables, grasses, and herbaceous perennials. For summer interest, annuals, patio, and bedding plants are excellent choices and can be easily found as plugs in the spring. If you prefer, you can also grow plants from seed. It’s always worth experimenting with different plants to find the ones that work best for your space.
Suitable vegetables and herbs
Plants that can thrive in shaded areas include Alpine strawberries, chard, chives, land cress, lambs lettuce, lettuce, parsley, rocket, and the delicious strawberry variety known as ‘Mara des Bois’. Here is an example of a green wall planting with lettuce, kale, and chard.
If you have a sunny spot in your garden, here are some great plants you can grow: Strawberries can be seed-raised everbearers such as ‘Aromel’ and ‘Mara des Bois’. With adequate irrigation, you can also grow oregano/marjoram, thyme, and shade-tolerant fruits and vegetables.
Plants perfect for summer interest
For shady areas, flowering bedding plants that tolerate shade include begonias and busy lizzies. If you’re looking for plants with attractive foliage, consider ipomoea ‘Sweet Caroline’ or tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’. Plants that can provide summer interest for areas with more sun include begonia ‘Million Kisses’, bidens ferulifolia, ivy-leaved pelargoniums, petunias, and verbena.
In addition to the shade-tolerant plants listed above, several perennials can thrive in sunny areas if they receive a good water supply. These include erigeron karvinskianus AGM, euphorbia, festuca glauca, helianthemum, and sedums.
Spring is the best time to plant because plants are coming into active growth and will establish quickly. When choosing the best plants for your living wall, consider light, moisture, and maintenance requirements. You can create an impressive living wall by selecting plants that thrive in your specific environment. Good luck!