Living wall installations are easily the most cutting-edge, modern garden trend of the year, and filling them with edible plants makes them that much more impressive. Plant walls add energy and vibrancy to indoor and outdoor spaces, without taking up too much surface area. Plus, the added benefits of growing edible plants make them a highly coveted addition to any balcony, garden, or patio. If you’re interested in growing an edible living wall in Fort Lauderdale, check out this guide to the basics of vertical garden planters.
Installing Your Edible Living Wall Planter
For quite a while, folks have taken to creating their own DIY living wall planters using upcycled wood pallets and shelving units. With the trend’s recent surge in popularity, many companies have released living wall kits with all the essentials you need for easy installation at home. Many of the commercially available kits have modular systems with adjustable sizes so that you can adapt it to your space. The walls are full of embedded containers that hold the individual root balls of your plants, which allows the plant foliage to spill out and downward or upward, creating a canopy of greenery.
Depending on the size and durability of your living wall planter, you may fill your containers with standard potting soil. All those soil-filled containers can get pretty heavy when stacked on top of each other, so if you’re unsure of what your chosen model can handle, it’s a good idea to consult with one of our experts first. That way, we can help you find the most appropriate growing system.
You’ll want to make sure your plant wall gets plenty of direct sunlight, or else the plants near the bottom of the wall may get shaded by those above it. After installation, if you still find some of the bottom rows are more shaded than the top, you can always try planting some more shade-tolerant plants like kale, lettuce greens, or cilantro.
Most vegetable plants will need considerable sunlight and are best if grown outdoors. However, if you truly have your heart set on building an indoor edible living wall, you can get away with growing herbs or leafy greens inside, provided you’ve got lots of natural light coming in from the windows.
Irrigation Systems for Your Vertical Wall Planter
The key to ensuring your edible living wall is successful is a top-notch irrigation system. Since the containers that hold onto your plants’ root balls are a bit on the small side, deep watering can lead to too much moisture collecting in the reservoirs or rapid reduction in soil nutrients because they’re getting flushed out so thoroughly.
Frequent, light watering helps deliver a steady stream of hydration to your plants, without oversaturating your growing medium and weighing down your containers. You’ll definitely want to invest in an automated system that can regulate the frequency and duration of watering — it’s much easier than trying to manage all that watering yourself.
There are two types of irrigation systems that work for living plant walls: direct irrigation systems and recirculating systems. Direct irrigation systems hook up to your home water line and don’t require a pump, because they work off of the water pressure from your home’s plumbing. Some direct irrigation systems have a built-in valve that delivers trace amounts of fertilizer into the water, to combat nutrient depletion and keep your plants well-fed.
Recirculating irrigation systems are a great option if you’re concerned about water conservation. Instead of a constant stream of moisture coming from your pipes, you simply fill up your irrigation tank, and a pump sends it through each container. Once that water drains and runs off from your planters, it returns to the tank for recirculation. You’ll need to replace the water in the tank every so often, but overall, it will use much less water.
The Best Edible Living Wall Plants
Living walls are an excellent solution for small-space edible gardening, but “space-saving” doesn’t always mean “lightweight”! Naturally, if your plants are going to be hanging down from a wall, you won’t want them to be excessively large or heavy, or they won’t hold up well. Several lightweight edible plants can be grown in your vertical garden, with root balls that are small enough to be easily contained. Our favorite edible green wall plants include:
- Dwarf Peppers
- Lettuce Greens
- Beets (for the greens)
- Swiss Chard
- Dwarf Tomatoes
- Asian greens, like Pak Choi
We recommend staggering your planting schedule so you can continually harvest fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs from your wall over several months, instead of having one or two massive harvests. Generally, you’re going to want to try and use plants that are around the same size and have the same watering needs. This will make your irrigation setup much simpler.
If you do have some size variance in your chosen plants, try to place bigger, heavier plants near the bottom of the wall, and the lighter, smaller ones up top.
A lush, green, edible living wall never fails to leave us swooning! You’ll love how impactful and stylish it is when integrated into your landscape decor. If you plan to build your own from scratch, or you’d like to purchase a kit to assemble one yourself, don’t hesitate to visit us at Living Color! We’ll get you set up with all the seeds, starters, and supplies you need to create your gorgeous vertical food garden.