If you are someone who wants to try a new form of gardening or you are limited on space, then you have probably considered building a vertical garden. While setting up a vertical garden is a fun and relatively straight-forward process, you may still be wondering about the pros and cons. As a new gardener, I was also curious about what a vertical garden entailed, so I did some research, and hopefully, my findings should help you make a decision.
All in all, vertical gardening is an exciting hobby with the benefits well outweighing the disadvantages. Vertical gardens save space, allow you extra mobility, give you many planting options, and improve your home, among other advantages. The possible disadvantages include additional maintenance and potential expenses. Still, planting a vertical garden is a worthwhile endeavor.
You may still be on the fence, so I have broken down the pros and cons of vertical gardening so you can make an informed decision.
Pros of Vertical Gardening
There are numerous benefits of vertical gardening that may help you to commit to this new venture.
Beautiful Space Savers
The whole idea behind a vertical garden is to be able to grow the plants that you love within a constricted space. These gardens are perfect for smaller homes or those with only a balcony or small yard to work with. You can even build gardens inside of your home. Plus, many vertical gardens are highly customizable, letting you display the plants however you want while they remain out of the way.
Protect Your Back and Knees
One of the drawbacks of a traditional garden is that a lot of bending and crouching is necessary to provide proper care. With a vertical garden, you are essentially bringing the plants up to your level. You can get up close and personal with your plants, carefully tending to them, often while standing up completely straight. This makes vertical gardens great for older individuals or those who suffer from arthritis and are less able to do a lot of knee bending or heavy lifting.
When you have a traditional garden with plants rooted in the ground, moving the plants from place to place can become a very time-consuming task. With a vertical garden, you have better opportunities to move your plants wherever you please. Moving from one room to another can be as simple as picking up the plants and walking to your desired destination. Even better, if you are not thrilled with the location of certain plants, you don’t have to spend time digging them up, as you can simply rearrange the plants however you like with little fuss.
Many people like to build vertical gardens in their kitchens, which is especially neat if you plant fruits and vegetables. Imagine picking a ripe tomato for your salad right there in the kitchen!
You Can Garden at Any Time
If you set up a vertical garden in a secure area, such as inside or outside under a covered patio, then you are opening up the time that you can spend gardening because you won’t have to garden in cold or rainy weather. In addition, avoiding that inclement weather means that a severe storm won’t damage your plants.
Different Designs and Setups
As opposed to a standard outdoor garden, choosing to go vertical gives you more design options. You can grow one just about anywhere including in your living room, on a retaining wall, or even on a wooden pallet! Your design can consist of the standard shelving system, hanging pots, stackable planters and more.
Improve Indoor Air Quality
Not only will a vertical garden beautify your home but the plants within it could actually improve the air quality. As plants live, they absorb carbon dioxide and then release oxygen into the air, and of course, we thrive on oxygen. There have also been NASA studies that show that some plants not only give out more oxygen but also remove harmful chemicals including benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from the air.
Some of the most effective air purifying plants include English and devil’s Ivy, chrysanthemums, lady palms, and weeping figs, amongst others. When your air is cleaner, you breathe easier, and clean air can often eliminate problems with allergies and asthma. All in all, your respiratory system will be thanking you.
Add Beauty to a Less Beautiful Area
A well-executed vertical garden will inject a natural beauty wherever you decide to place it. If you have a vertical garden indoors, you will add an extra decorative layer that will beautify any room. A vertical garden will also add style to your backyard, and as an added benefit, you can often use it to disguise less attractive parts of your exterior including over the electric meter or covering the place that you store your garbage cans. If you have a plain wall that needs that something extra, a vertical garden can be the perfect cover.
Cons of Vertical Gardening
Although it certainly has its many virtues, vertical gardening may not be for everyone. Here are a few downsides.
In many cases, a vertical garden could lead to increased maintenance, particularly if it is placed inside. A traditional outdoor garden is aided by the elements, especially rainwater. If you have an indoor vertical garden, then you will have to spend more time sufficiently watering the plants.
You also have to be careful when watering or pruning the plants to avoid leaking water or falling debris. Not only can excess water become a mess, but the leaks could eventually lead to water and mold damage, especially for indoor gardens.
If you do not keep a watchful eye on your garden, there is also a chance that it could attract bugs and germs. Sometimes, water-borne pathogens can flow from higher plants down to lower foliage, spreading these pathogens. Bugs could also be attracted to this mixture. Proper maintenance can avoid this situation.
Limited Plant Sizes
Although customizable vertical gardens provide a lot of wiggle room for what you can plant, the layout of this type of garden can still limit the types of plants that you can include. If you have a smaller garden with plants that are in close proximity, then you are limiting the space for the roots to grow. This won’t hurt your plants, but it will mean planting smaller items.
Also, unless you have an especially heavy duty structure, heavier plants will not have the support they need. Of course, you always have the option of placing these larger objects at the bottom.
Can Be Expensive
Since a vertical garden often takes more work than growing plants in the ground, they a be more expensive than a traditional garden. Pre-made vertical gardens will usually start at $100 and up. Then, you will have to add in the cost of soil, plants, and an optional drip watering system. All in all, it is said that installing a fully functioning vertical garden could cost you $195 - $265 per sq ft.
For Vertical Gardening, the Pros Trump the Cons
A vertical garden is a great way to add an extra layer of style to your house while providing a worthwhile hobby. While there are some downsides, the good far outweighs the bad. Take the time to research different styles and approaches and grow a vertical garden that is perfectly matched to your home.