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Need some tips for your vertical garden? Starting a vertical garden may seem daunting, and at times it may be difficult to know where to start.
If you already have a vertical garden, you may be looking for ways to improve your garden. We went over all of our vertical gardening posts to bring you a concise curated collection of practical vertical gardening tips.
23 Vertical Garden Tips
The goal of this list is to help both those who are just starting out on the vertical garden journey and those who have been utilizing this form of gardening for some time.
Tip #1: Find the best location for your vertical garden
This tip refers to vertical garden structures that are both inside and outside. When outside, you want to make sure your garden is in a place where it’s not going to be in your way. If you have hanging planters, be sure to place them at a level where you can easily see them and you’re not going to hit your head on them. If you have large planters on the ground, be sure to place them in an area where you aren’t going to trip over or bump into them.
This also applies to gardens that are indoors. Hanging plants should be at a height where you can safely water them, and they won’t be in your way. Larger planters shouldn’t be placed in a manner where you trip over them when you’re rounding a corner. Walls are a great place for indoor vertical gardens, as you can place them at a level where they can be watered and they won’t be in your way.
Tip #2: Consider the Types of Plants vs. The Location
Keep in mind the kinds of plants in your gardens. If you have an indoor garden, be wary of plants that tend to overgrow and take over space, like vines. Bear in mind how high each plant will grow. Inside, there may be less room for certain plants to grow, while outside may be a better option since there’s more room.
Tip #3: Make the most of your existing
After all, this is what vertical gardening is all about. Get creative and take a good look at your vertical surfaces - both indoors and outside. Indoors, you can use walls, shelves, and dressers to create your gardens. Outside, you have plenty of fence and yard space at your disposal! There are many options for your gardens, and should take advantage of what you have!
Tip #4: Consider creating a mobile vertical garden
You may be in a living situation where you don’t own your home; maybe you’re renting, or simply living with family. If this is the case, you don’t want the structure of your vertical garden to be one that is difficult to move.
A good tip is to make your structure from lightweight materials that can be taken apart or easily moved around.
Tip #5: Make Sure Your Planters Are Not in Motion!
Depending on the type of vertical garden you have, your planter might have wheels. If the area your planter is in is at an angle, this can lead to your planter rolling away.
If the planter’s wheels don’t have a locking mechanism, simply place something in front of the wheels, such as a brick, or move the planter onto a flatter surface.
Tip #6: Make sure your structure can support the weight of the plans
A thing to keep in mind is how heavy your planter is going to become. If you have indoor planters on walls, heavy plants might cause your planter to fall down. Opt for lighter plants, or make sure the planter is tightly secured to the wall. If you have hanging planters, heavy plants could cause the planter to break and make a mess. Lighter plants are more ideal for these types of vertical gardens.
If you have a vertical garden outside, keep in mind your situation. Is your living situation permanent, or are you a renter who could possibly move? If you’re in a more permanent situation, a heavier planter should be fine, as there isn’t much reason to move it. If there is the possibility of moving, a lighter planter will be much easier to move to and from locations.
Tip #7: Don't start from seeds (at least not necessarily)
If you’re starting a vertical garden, a good tip is to allow the plants to grow horizontally for a few weeks. This allows the roots to settle themselves in the soil and helps with holding the soil in place.
In other words, you may want to start your vertical garden from seedlings rather than from seeds. You don't have to cover the initial phase yourself - getting your plants from a nursery works too.
Worried about your walls? Read this too: Can vertical gardens damage walls?
Tip #8: Support your plants as needed
Some plants, like tomatoes and cucumbers, need support to grow vertically. Utilize stakes, clips, trellis, and wire fencing to help with upward plant growth. Plant supports also help with weather, anchoring plants in place.
Read more: How to grow tomatoes in a vertical garden
Tip #9: Prune Regularly
It’s important to prune your vertical gardens regularly. If your plants are growing too close to each other, you can remedy this. Regular pruning of plants also allows you to notice issues with your plants, such as too much sun, or a lack of watering.
Tip #10: Protect Your Floors and Walls
Whether your vertical gardens are inside or outside, think of the potential water damage your garden can have to the floor and walls. If your vertical garden isn't too large, a tray underneath an inside vertical garden should be sufficient enough to catch any drainage.
Trays can also work for outside gardens, but you can also place your garden in a position where the water will drain away instead of collecting around the garden.
Tip #11: Invest in quality soil
The type of soil you use can make or break your new vertical garden. You need to choose the right type of soil which will be light enough for your planters to carry, yet nutritious enough for your plants.
Read here about how to choose the best soil for your vertical garden
Tip #12: Get yourself a great watering system
Some gardeners have watering systems and timers set up for their outside vertical gardens. These can be very helpful, but it’s important to make sure every plant is receiving the amount of water it needs. Sprinklers are great for covering large areas of plants, but the water mainly hits the leaves of the plants, which can cause black spots and pest issues.
Drip irrigation systems bypass these issues by delivering water straight to the roots, but each plant receives the same amount of water, which may not be enough for parts of your garden. A good tip is to do some research into how much water each plant needs. Plants with similar water needs should be placed together.
Read this to learn more: Watering systems for vertical gardens
Tip #13: Anything Can be a Planter
If you don’t want to put out the money for planters, don’t worry! Anything can be a planter: mason jars, old dressers, pallets, old drinking mugs, and wooden crates. Using items you already have is not only incredibly creative, but it’s also zero waste!
Need inspiration? Check out our post about 15 ideas for recycled planters
Tip#14: Pay Attention to Light
How much light your plants are receiving is very important to know. Some plants may be absorbing too much, and others not enough. A good tip is to regularly check on your plants and, if necessary move them around. If you see that the plants are going limp, or wilting, that spot might be more ideal for plants that require a lot of sun.
Of course, planning ahead is always the best idea. Learn more about grow lights for vertical gardens.
Tip #15 Grow food in your vertical garden
When you mention vertical gardens, some people think about aesthetics only. While these green walls are possibly the most well-known application for vertical gardenings (see some examples of office green walls here), they can be far more practical!
Vertical gardens provide us with a fantastic way to grow a variety of vegetables! A vertical herb garden is easy to put together, but you can also easily grow tomatoes and even squash!
Growing squash in a vertical garden (yes! Squash!)
Tip #16 Consider cascading plants for fast results
Cascading plants such as Wave Petunias or Creeping Phlox give you a shortcut to a gorgeous living wall. They will soon enough cover the spaces between your planters, creating a stunning effect that you're going to love and your guests will admire.
Read more: Best cascading plants for a living wall
Tip #17 Don't neglect perennials
Mixing at least some perennials into your vertical garden plant selection is a great idea. Not only will it save you some work come springtime, but it'll also make sure your garden always has at least some living plant coverage.
Read more: Best perennials for vertical gardens
Tip #18 Start small
Unless you already have some experience with gardening, start small. While vertical gardening isn't too difficult for green-thumbed people, if this is your first attempt at growing plants, there will be a learning curve. And there will probably be mistakes too.
It's easier to fix mistakes, or just start afresh, with a smaller garden. This holds true for vertical ones as well.
Tip #19 Keep good records
Whether you're new to gardening, or an expert, keeping track of your garden is crucial. Get a log book like this one and meticulously record what you do. It will help you figure out what works and what doesn't - plus, it's fun!
Tip #20 Gradually invest in quality equipment
Be it shears or gardening gloves, if you're serious about your new hobby, you're going to need serious gear. You don't have to get everything right away but do budget ahead for future purchases.
Tip #21 Find a "garden sitter" ahead of time
Depending on the systems you have in place, your budding vertical garden may need regular timely attention on a weekly - or possibly daily - basis. It's best to get a neighbor or a friend acquainted with your setup ahead of time. That way, should you need to leave in an emergency, you'll have a "garden sitter" ready to take over.
Tip #22: Research Your Garden in advance
It’s a good idea to know as much as possible about your plants, especially if you are a busy individual. Some plants require more attention than others. A good tip is to ask yourself if you’ll have the time to give each plant the attention it needs, or if they’ll simply die away.
Tip #23: Just do it!
Yes, that's actually a tip. Don't be bogged down by too much research. Start small but do start! Getting your feet wet - or your fingers covered in dirt - is the best way to get a great vertical garden going!
By following these tips, you can make sure your vertical garden is both thriving and efficient!