Flowers are the easiest, most direct way to add color and visual interest to your garden. If you browse your local garden center, or plant websites, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer variety of plants available.
How can you narrow down all these options to choose the best flowers for your vertical garden? I have used my gardening experience along with research to compile a list of the most popular and easy to grow flowers to get you on your way to the vibrant garden of your dreams.
The 17 Best Flowers for a Vertical Garden are:
- Nasturtiums, regular or trailing
- Morning Glory
- Creeping Phlox
- Roses- Climbing or Miniature
Plants grown in a vertical garden need to be able to be planted directly at the base and grown up or down a wall or trellis, or in containers mounted on a vertical garden support system. The ideal plant will have a shallow root system since containers do not have a lot of space for the roots and a more compact, spreading habit unless it is a climbing plant. Below I have provided a more in-depth look at the flowers listed above to help you choose the right plants for your garden.
Annuals are the most typical choice for container gardening. Since they only live for a season, they do not have the same needs for root expansion as most perennials. They have the most variety of colors and blooms.
Perhaps one of the easiest and most rewarding flowers one can grow, petunias are available in a multitude of colors. They grow to about 12 inches or so in height and will spread and spill over the edges of any container.
Wave-type petunias will spread even more cascading down your vertical garden in a mass of colors. They are more difficult to find, so if you want a specific color, you will want to start the plants from seed. To do this plant the seeds in a seed starting soil mix 6-8 weeks before you want to plant them outside.
All you need to grow amazing petunias is full sun and periodic watering. They like fertile well-drained soil. To keep your plants blooming, you will need to remove the spent flowers.
Marigolds are the most versatile plants! Bushy 8 inch plants will explode in a riot of brilliant golden blooms that will continue well into fall. Marigolds are super low maintenance and will thrive under almost any conditions. Marigolds are available in traditional and French types.
Traditional marigolds have larger rounded flowers that are all one color and are available in yellows, oranges, and the beautiful French vanilla, which is a creamy white.
French marigolds do not have as many petals and are more open. They can be found in solid colors, but are known for their jaunty red stripes.
Wax begonias are perfect for container plantings. They can be found in a multitude of colors so you can create whatever color scheme that you desire. Begonias love full sun and well-drained soil.
They are incredibly low maintenance so you can just plant them, water periodically, and leave them to their own devices. Be careful not to over water, because keeping them too wet can cause the plants to rot at the base.
These plants are a favorite of home gardeners. They have variegated dark green leaves and rosy red or pink blooms. You should plant them in a soilless potting mix in an area that gets 6 or more hours of sun per day.
Geraniums can be overwintered indoors in a sunny window so keep that in mind when you are choosing the containers for your vertical garden.
Traditional geraniums have bushy tendencies, but can also be found in trailing varieties.
If you have your vertical garden in a shady corner of the yard and would like to add some color, impatiens are the flower for you! They can be found in a multitude of different shades. This shade-loving annual is fairly heat tolerant but prefers cooler shady areas.
Impatiens are very easy to grow. Give them water every couple of days and fertilize with a good quality fertilizer once a month and your plants will be a mass of riotous colors.
For sunny gardens, you can grow New Guinea Impatiens instead. These mounding plants have glossy, dark green or rusty foliage and blooms that are larger than the shade-loving variety of impatiens. The blooms on New Guinea Impatiens are usually found in red or orange, which is a perfect contrast to the leaves.
They are heat tolerant and require very little care other than watering.
Verbena is commonly used a ground cover due to its spreading habit. In a vertical garden, it can be either trailing vines from containers, or some varieties can grow up to six feet tall from the ground up. The beautiful purple blooms attract butterflies and smell lovely.
When grown in full sun and well-drained soil, verbena will thrive in your garden.
Nasturtiums, regular or trailing
Brilliantly colorful, nasturtiums grown in either compact bushy plants or have a vining tendency depending on the variety. They are loved for their gorgeous jewel-toned blooms that are edible. Brighten up your salad with a few of the peppery flavored blooms.
Nasturtiums grow best when they are somewhat neglected, needing only to be watered periodically.
Violas are the sweetest flowers! The diminutive purple and yellow flowers are deceptively easy to grow. They are primarily cool-season bloomers, so you will want to plant them with other plants that bloom later in the season.
They do best when planted in rich well-drained soil with lots of organic matter that includes a slow release fertilizer. They like the sun, but not the heat. Plant violas where they can be shaded in the afternoon.
Morning Glories are usually grown as a vine, but can also be used as a dense ground cover. Train the vines up a trellis and when the sun shines on them, they will reward you with tons of bright trumpet-shaped blossoms. They can be found in a lot of different colors, and single or double flowers. They are available in several colors including red, blue, purple, and white. Try a variety of different colors for increase visual interest.
Direct sow the seeds in the soil as soon as it is warm enough to work, fertilize and watch them take over your vertical garden structure.
Lobelia is a sweet dainty flower that is available in white and true blue. Trailing varieties will spill over walls or containers in a mass of tiny blooms.
They prefer full sun but will tolerate some partial shade and well-drained soil. While it is possible to start from seed, you will have color sooner if you just purchase plants from your local nursery or garden center.
Vinca, also known as periwinkle, produces star-shaped lavender flowers on it trailing vines. It can be invasive, which makes it ideal for container planting where it can be contained. It will grow long vines that can attach and root outside of the containers, so you will want to keep them pruned.
Vinca grows in both sun and shade, preferring the moist soil under other plants.
The delightful flowering ground cover is perfect in a vertical garden due to its compact height and spreading tendencies. Creeping phlox grows between 6 to 8 inches in height and will spread up to two feet. Also referred to as “Moss Pink”, this plant is covered in small star-shaped flowers of pink, white, light purple, and dark purple.
For best results, plant creeping phlox in full sun and well-drained soil.
Dianthus, or pinks, is frequently grown in containers. It grows tall and upright, between 6 and 8 inches, and will spread out about 12 inches in diameter. There are multitudes of color and flower type varieties. Their fragrance is delightful and can be smelled throughout the garden.
These flowers are available in either single or double petal blooms. Double dianthus are also known as clove pinks or carnations.
Sun-loving with a mounding habit, they make excellent container plants that require very little care other than watering, an occasional dose of fertilizer and removal of the spent flowers.
Lavender is a Mediterranean plant, so it needs lots of sun and warmth. Plant it in soil that is mixed with sandy soil that drains well. Add about an inch of small stones in the bottom of the pot for faster drainage. Water it whenever the soil gets dry. While it is pretty drought tolerant, it will do better with regular watering.
Primroses, also known as “Cowslips”, are an early blooming perennial that will double in size each year. They will produce flowers that range in color from white, yellow, red, and orange through throughout the summer. They can also be found in blue and purple.
They are very easy to grow as they are very hardy plants. They are shady place plants, and will not do well in any sun. They like woodland-like conditions in rich, fertile soil. Be careful not to overwater as they may rot with too much moisture.
Roses- Climbing or Miniature
Roses are always a wonderful addition to any garden. Climbing roses can be either grown up a trellis or grown down to create a cascading mass of color. There are multiple kinds and colors. A few of my favorites are Red Cascade, The Don Juan, and White Eden. Since they are larger plants, they can’t really be planted in a container if you have a vertical garden that has planters supported by a frame or shelving.
In this instance, you should plant miniature roses. They have all the beauty of a traditional rose bush without the size. Miniature roses are tiny versions of traditional tea roses. You can find them in a wide variety of colors. Plant them in rich fertile soil in a sunny location for the best results.
Clematis is a rapid growing perennial vine that produces large star-shaped flowers. The vines will climb a trellis and cover it in blooms all season long. Plant them in full sun, and make sure that they have plenty of water and fertilize them once a month.
You can find multitudes of options to add vibrancy to your vertical garden. Some beautiful varieties that you can choose from are the Ernest Markham Magenta Clematis, the Henry Pure White Clematis, and the Niobe Clematis, which is a dark blood red.
Enjoy Your Colorful New Garden
If you design your vertical flower garden and use the easy to grow plants listed above, you will have a vibrant and beautiful space that will add joy to your garden and your life.