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The vertical wall garden can be a beautiful focal point for your yard or garden. But what do you do if you have a wall or fence that you want to hide? Perhaps you just love the look of a vertical garden overflowing with foliage. What are the best cascading plants for a wall-garden that will take your vertical space from ho-hum to fantastic? As I am planning my own cascading garden to cover up an unsightly looking fence, I have been doing a lot of research and am happy to share my results with you.
There are a variety of cascading plants that will thrive in a wall-garden, depending on whether you are looking for plants that bear fruits or veggies, flowering plants, or tumbling greenery. The ideal plants will be lush and full as they cascade down their support creating a full-coverage effect. Below are some of my favorite options:
Fruits and Veggies:
- Cherry tomatoes
- Cascading blackberries or raspberries
- Vining cucumbers
- Runner beans
- Wave petunias
- Creeping Phlox
- Lobelia- cascade variety
- Cascading Roses
- Creeping Thyme
- Virginia Creeper
- Dichondria “Silver Falls”
- Golden Creeping Jenny
- Sweet Potato Vines
- English Ivy
Each of these types of plants has its own individual growing conditions and care requirements in order to make the most of their beauty. Keep reading to find out how to choose the plants that are right for your space!
Throughout this guide, we've linked directly to the products we mention on Amazon - including where I could find seeds and seedling for you to order.
- Cascading Fruits and Veggies For A Wall Garden
- Flowering plants
- Tumbling Greenery
- Plan, Plant, and Relax!
Cascading Fruits and Veggies For A Wall Garden
If you want to make your wall garden do double duty as a beautiful centerpiece while still growing plants that will fill your dinner table, these are the plants for you! Keep in mind that these plants all do the best where they will have six to eight hours or more of direct sunlight a day.
A favorite summer fruit, strawberries are shoo-ins for a wall-garden that gets plenty of sun. They have shallow root systems that can grow almost anywhere. They will spread all down your wall as the plants send out runners as they grow.
The vertical structure of a wall-garden is ideal for growing strawberries as it keeps the fruit off the ground as it ripens. This will result in healthy fruit that can sun ripen without having to worry about small rodents like rabbits or squirrels getting to your berries before you do.
Strawberries like well-drained, sandy soil, and regular fertilization with a good organic fertilizer. You will need to water for just a few days.
Indeterminate cherry tomatoes are a vining type of plant that will grow multiple vines to cover your garden wall. The vines will need to be trellised in some fashion in order to promote good airflow and to keep the vines orderly.
The root system can be planted at the top of your garden, and will need plenty of soil to keep it properly supported. Provide a good fertilizer and water thoroughly every other day as needed to keep the soil moist.
Just a couple of these plants will keep you overloaded with cherry tomatoes all summer until the first hard frost. Be prepared to share with friends and family as it will be next to impossible to use them all yourself!
Even if you're a beginner, this kit can help you grow beautiful cherry tomatoes -
Cascading Blackberries or Raspberries
These were a new discovery for me and I am super excited to try them out. Traditional blackberry and raspberry plants grow from tall thorny canes that will spread everywhere throughout your garden of not carefully pruned. Cascading blackberries produce compact, arching plants with thornless trailing stems that produce a mass of berries.
Blackberries like hot, sunny locations and plenty of water. These plants are extremely easy to grow so are perfect for beginners.
Cucumber plants have a sprawling habit which makes them ideal for a cascading garden. You can train the vines to grow up your wall. They will need to be trained to provide support for the fruit. Growing cucumbers on a trellis enhances airflow around the plant which helps to avoid fungus and disease.
Cucumbers are heavy feeders, so you will need to prepare the soil by incorporating decomposed manure and compost before you plant.
Scarlet Runner Beans
Like cucumbers, scarlet runner beans grow on vines and are very prolific climbers. A wall covered in these plants will provide plenty of green beans for your family throughout the summer. They bloom out in red flowers that are beautiful and the young beans can be eaten whole. If you leave them to grow, you can harvest the red beans from the pods for a different type of bean dish.
Plant them at the base of your wall and provide a little support. They will cover your wall before you know it!
Cascading plants that produce flowers are a great way to add color and excitement to your garden. You can use them to either create an entire wall of color, or mix them with non-flowering plants to build a carefully crafted work of art.
These beautiful trumpet-shaped flowers are available in a variety of bright and cheery colors. They will produce an ocean of color from early summer through fall. The wave variety of petunias will sweep down your garden wall enveloping in a few short weeks. All they need to thrive are water and periodic removal of the spent flowers, or deadheading.
Petunias are annuals so you will need to replant them each year. Wave petunias can be difficult to find sometimes, but are completely worth the search. Your best bet is to get bedding plants from a reputable nursery or garden center.
If you are not sure that you will be able to get them, or if you want a specific color, you may want to start some from seed, like these Color Mix Petunias, Tidal Red Wave Petunias, or Purple Wave Petunias [Amazon links]. If you are starting with seed, you should start them inside in a warm, sunny windowsill about 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. This will ensure that you get to enjoy the entire season with your flowers.
This spreading mass of spring flowers will cover up to two feet in diameter in a dense carpet of green and tiny red, blue, pink, purple or striped flowers. Creeping phlox is a favorite ground cover because of its dense growing habit. Butterflies are attracted to it, but deer are not, so it is a good choice if you live in an area where deer are an issue.
They are cold hardy up to garden zone 9, so are a great low maintenance option that will come back year after year.
Traditionally used as a climber, when clematis does not have something to climb up, they will grow out and down. These vine produce large colorful flowers all summer long and the plants will grow lush and full without much assistance whatsoever.
They are perennials, so you can use them as a foundation planting for your wall garden. Plant them in a sunny spot, give them water once a week and watch them cover your wall with color.
Lobelia- Cascade Variety
Lobelia is a sweet dainty flower that is available in white and true blue. They prefer full sun, but will tolerate some partial shade. It is a tender perennial through zones 9 and 10 and annuals everywhere else. Trailing varieties such as Light Blue Basket and Trailing Sapphire will spread over your garden walls and provide a layer of cool color to your landscape.
Your best option is to
purchase plants at a local nursery or garden center, but you can also start them from seeds six to eight weeks before you want to plant them outdoors. In areas where they are perennial, you can direct sow the seeds the fall before for a spring start.
Vinca is a trailing vine that produces star-shaped lavender flowers. It can be invasive, as I have found out the hard way. Make sure you plant it where you want it, and keep it pruned back as it will take over your whole garden if you let it go long enough. It is very hardy, and almost impossible to kill, so if you are looking for a great low maintenance plant, vinca may be a great choice for you.
One of my favorites is the cascading rose. It is technically a climbing rose and will grow and bloom all summer long. It will provide months of sweeping color. Red Cascade is a perfect example of this type of rose.
Roses need full sun and plenty of water, as well as periodic deadheading to encourage new blooms. Depending on the type you choose, they can bloom on either new or old-growth, so you will need to keep that in mind when you are pruning them in the early spring while they are still dormant.
Creeping thyme is a perennial herb that grows in a low creeping mat covered with tiny white, pink, or lavender flowers. Thyme will grow and creep down a rock wall and cover it in sweet fragrance.
It likes dry conditions and well-drained garden soil. Too much water can cause it to rot. Thyme prefers full sun, but there are a few types that can tolerate partial shade.
Plants that are lush and leafy are perfect for creating the base planting for your wall garden, or to transform any area into a cool and inviting sanctuary.
This massive perennial can cover up to 50 feet with a 5 to10 foot spread. It is lush and green through the summer months, but in the fall turns a bright crimson color. It is definitely thick and great if you want to cover an ugly fence or wall.
This plant will grow anywhere and everywhere, so beware. It puts out suckers that will cling to anything and the roots will grow all over.
Dichondria “Silver Falls”
This plant is a true cascading plant with beautiful silver foliage that will spill over the edges of your wall garden. It will spread two to four feet wide very quickly.
Silver Falls is easy to grow in sunny, well-drained soil. It is an evergreen and hardy to 40 degrees. You will need to water it weekly, and keep weeded until it fills in.
Golden Creeping Jenny
This plant is easy to grow in full to partial shade and needs to be kept well-watered. It has round yellowish leaves that turn purple-red in the fall. It can grow up to 30 feet wide very quickly so is a good choice if you want to cover a wall quickly.
This heat-tolerant plant is a fairly new genus made by crossing Coral Bells and Foamflower to create a cascading plant with colored foliage and unusually cut leaves with dark centers. They are shade-loving ground covering plants.
Heucherellas are tolerant of hotter temperatures and some sun but prefer afternoon shade. They are good for dry conditions but will need to be watered occasionally in the summer.
Sweet Potato Vines
Sweet Potato vines are very versatile easy to grow plants and can be found almost anywhere plants are sold. It has chartreuse, copper, black, or purple leaves, depending on the variety that you choose.
It grows best in moist, well-drained soil, in full sun to partial shade. They can grow quite large over the course of the season, but can be pruned without fear of damaging the plant.
This vine is known for its dark green leaves and lush foliage that will grow thick and cover a wall in no time. The deep color of English Ivy makes a perfect foil for flowering plants, and it is almost impossible to kill so it’s great for beginning gardeners.
Spray the plants with water weekly to keep spider mites at bay, and fertilize it monthly with 20-20-20 fertilizer to get the best results.
Plan, Plant, and Relax!
Once you have reviewed the plant information above, you should be able to plant the perfect wall garden. This will add beauty and value to your garden.