Vertical Gardening Ideas to Save Space | Almanac.com

Vertical Gardening Ideas to Save Space

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Beautiful vertical garden in city around office building
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7th Son Studio/Shutterstock

Plans for Living Walls, Cascading Strawberries, and More

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Vertical gardening has become increasingly popular in recent years. This is partly because gardens are generally smaller now, but also because of our desire for more opportunities to grow plants. You can create your own living wall by following our how-to guide, which involves securing pots and tubs to walls and fences. You can also make a stunning cascading strawberry planter to show off your gardening skills.

Creating a vertical garden can provide ideal growing conditions! During the day, sunny walls absorb heat which is then released at night, creating a warm and comfortable microclimate perfect for nurturing delicate crops like tomatoes and peppers. White walls reflect light back onto your plants, enhancing the quality of sunlight for plants that thrive in the sun.

Check that your wall or fence is strong enough for its living cloak. Plants and wet potting mix are a weighty combination! If unsure, build your vertical garden from the ground up so that its weight rests predominantly on the ground rather than the wall.

Photo credit: Growing Interactive

Here are some ideas:

  • Bag it up: Give tired sacks a new lease on life. Plant directly into them or drop them in plastic pots of produce. 
  • Tin can alley: Use old tin cans for herbs and trailing flowers such as nasturtium. Drill drainage holes in their bottoms.
  • Off the hook: Hang sleek, stylish planters from S-shape hooks on a trellis or horizontal battens. 
  • Spare pallets on hand? Grow a never-ending supply of herbs.
  • Got a weak wall? Grow climbing vegetables such as beans, which simply cover the wall rather than lean heavily on it.
  • Homespun hanging gardens: Think outside the box and repurpose old items into handy hanging homes for your wall-dwelling plants. 
a living wall with strawberries
Photo credit: Growing Interactive

How to Make a Living Wall

This quick-to-set-up project turns a standard trellis panel into a thing of immense beauty! Use any combination of containers, which can be reconfigured as often as the mood strikes you. Plant the containers with a combination of vegetables, herbs, and flowers suitable for the space available. We’re using salad leaves, radishes, kale, basil, and pea shoots, teamed with a splash of color from marigolds and dainty violas.

vertical gardening a living wall with a trellis and terra cotta ports with kale, marigolds, and lettuce
Photo credit: Kim Lightbody 

Raising pots off the ground makes them prone to drying out more quickly. Water regularly, or consider setting up a simple drip irrigation system.

You Will Need … 

  • trellis panelwood stain or paint (optional)
  • drill and masonry drill bitwall anchors
  • L-shape screw-in hooks
  • 10-to 12-inch pots
  • potting mix
  • selection of plants and seeds
  • strong jute twine or wire

1. Leave your trellis panel as it is, or spruce it up with a coat of stain or paint suitable for outdoor use.

painting a trellis for a living wall
Photo credit: Growing Interactive

2. Drill holes in the wall with the masonry drill bit. Line them with wall anchors, then screw in L-shape hooks, ensuring they are level.

hanging a red hook on a cement wall
Photo credit: Growing Interactive

3. Fill the pots with potting mix, then sow or plant. Our selection includes herbs, flowers, salad leaves, and leafy greens—a feast for eyes and bellies!

filling a terracotta pot with kale and potting mix
Photo credit: Kim Lightbody

4. Hang up the trellis panel. Now secure the pots to the trellis using the twine (Wrap the twine around both the pot and trellis at least twice to spread the strain and minimize the risk of the twine snapping). Cut off any excess. Keep plants watered and harvest often.

hanging lettuce on a vertical garden
Photo credit: Kim Lightbody 

Cascade Your Strawberries

Strawberry cascades have head-turning appeal, especially in flowers or fruit. Terra-cotta pots look wonderful but, owing to their porous properties, will need watering more often than plastic pots.

This cascade (below) is made up of three pots. Position your cascade in the sun and water with a liquid fertilizer high in potassium throughout the growing season.

cascading strawberries in terracotta pots
Photo credit: Growing Interactive

Buy strawberries as potted plants from spring onward or as bare-root runners to plant in early spring or autumn.

You Will Need … 

  • 3 terra-cotta pots: 6, 10, and 14 inches in diameter
  • potting mix
  • short bamboo cane
  • 10 strawberry plants
  • liquid fertilizer

1. Fill the largest pot with potting mix, then push the bamboo cane down through the middle so that it stands perfectly straight.

2. Thread the medium pot onto the cane through its central drainage hole, then fill it with potting mix. Repeat for the small pot.

3. Plant four or five strawberry plants into the large bottom pot. Tamp down and water them well to settle.

4. Plant three or four strawberries into the middle pot, then two at the top, in the smallest pot. Water and feed with a liquid fertilizer. Make sure that you plant at the right depth: too shallow, and the exposed crown (leaves and stems) will be prone to drying out; too deep, and the crown could rot. All of the roots should be completely covered.

Purchase a Vertical Garden

If you’re not interested in creating your own vertical planting system, many ready-to-use vertical planters are available. These pre-made solutions come in various forms, such as woolly planting pockets, rigid plastic panels that fit together, and columnar planters with built-in watering systems. Most of them also include the necessary fasteners and wall anchors for installation. Another option is to choose stackable planters that begin at ground level and can be built up as desired. You can also learn how to make a vertical lettuce garden!

tubular belles vertical gardening system
Tubular Belles: Cool, Calm, and Columnar
Photo credit: Michelle Arconti/Dreamstime

We hope we have inspired you to start “growing up” and take a stab at vertical gardening! Never has it been easier to provide your plants with optimal growing conditions in such a space-saving manner.

Are you starting a vertical garden? We would love to hear about your personal experiences! What has worked for you?

About The Author

Benedict Vanheems

Benedict Vanheems is the author of GrowVeg and a lifelong gardener with a BSc and an RHS General Certificate in horticulture. Read More from Benedict Vanheems

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