What is Vertical Gardening?
What do you do when you love gardening, have that itch to get outdoors with a shovel and have a mindful of creative ideas to experiment with but have to sit back because of limited space available in your outdoors? Well, vertical gardening is the answer to all your quests. Vertical gardening, you ask? Yes, they look amazing, but are they not meant to grow up on the walls of huge multi-story buildings?
Well, yes, that’s where you probably first saw them, but technically, vertical gardens can be grown anywhere from a small outer wall in your garden to your balcony wall, or even a vertical garden indoors at a suitable place. Moreover, you do not always need a wall to have a vertical garden. Various other options like vertical pot placing and stacking on stands, or ones using a garden trellis, etc. can be used. There is a big list of plants to choose for a vertical garden. From evergreens and beautiful flowering varieties to even a potted vertical herb garden can be explored.
With the green spaces getting taken over by concrete jungles in most urban scenes and even big home lawns getting changed into small apartment balconies, vertical garden systems have evolved as a wonderful alternative to add that much-needed greenery to the setting.
Importance of vertical gardening
With the limitation in spaces being the biggest issue faced by the world, especially in populated countries like India, gardening spaces are a distant dream. Since the availability of horizontal gardening spaces is limited, countries like India are now warming up to the concept of using vertical spaces for gardening.
Bengaluru already got their first public vertical garden. It started with vertical gardens along the walls of flyovers, or big corporate buildings and the concept was loved by the residents and appreciated by landscapers across the country with more cities like Delhi getting ready to explore the concept. In India, vertical gardening has become a much-loved concept in the last few years.The advantages of vertical gardening far outweigh the efforts needed to erect it. Following are some key advantages offered by vertical gardens:
Outdoor vertical garden advantages:
• Create more green spaces which increase visual appeal.
• Reduce global warming effect as a result of reduced heat.
• Reduce the effects of pollution and dust on roads.
• Create insulating effect on buildings by creating a green envelope on the walls.
• Increase biodiversity by attracting more birds and pollinators
• Decrease sound pollution by creating an insulating effect.
Indoor vertical garden advantages:
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• Increase the visual aesthetics of an indoor wall
• Serve as decoration or statement pieces within a house
• A vertical gardening concept can be used to create small herb gardens on the balcony.
• Make your indoor spaces fresher because of constant oxygen release.
How To Choose Plants For Vertical Gardening
Choosing the best plants for vertical gardens follows the basic gardening principles.
However, one of the important factor to consider when choosing your plants is to understand the spacing of your vertical garden. Whether you want an outdoor or an indoor vertical garden, the choice of plants will have to be made accordingly. The role of sun and shade, as well as the wind direction (for outdoors) needs to be carefully considered.
As a general rule, soft-stemmed varieties like climbers, herbaceous flowers, small vining flowers, soft perennials, ferns, etc. are more suited to vertical gardening since they have soft stems and are more flexible to adjust in vertical spaces. Their woody counterparts like shrubs etc. get destroyed or shunted in their growth when stacked vertically.
Another good tip is to choose the plants which are roughly similar in their growth patterns. It will make your vertical garden look even without having any bald patches.
Vegetables or herbs are also an excellent idea to be taken up in vertical gardening.
We will try to list out a few plants best suite for vertical gardening purposes, separating them roughly into two varieties, indoor use, and outdoor use.
Ideal Indoor Plants For Vertical Gardening-
These are the plants which thrive well in shaded areas without the need for exposure to sunlight. They are mostly very soft-stemmed varieties of herbaceous or climber type plants and prefer non-windy, secure shady places like indoors. Some typical ones to be used for indoor purposes are:
• Various varieties of money plants
• Various varieties of Syngonium
• Song of India
• Varieties of Rhoeo
• Some varieties of Cryptanthus
• Peace Lillies
• Spider Plant
Ideal Outdoor plants For Vertical Gardening:
These are the varieties which flourish well only with proper and sufficient exposure to the sun and will hence need an outdoor wall for placement. If you have a semi-shaded porch which received fairly enough sunny hours during the day, you may choose some of these as well. Following is the list of plants that you may choose from when considering sunny spaces:
• Varieties of Alternanthera
• Golden Ipomoea
• Curtain Creeper
Points to consider before you get a Vertical Garden
Whether indoors or outdoors, vertical gardening needs to follow and obey the rules of gravity. Since gravity will pull the water in the soil at a faster speed due to the height factor, the best way is to have the plants which need less water in the uppermost layers. It is also a good idea to start the plants on a horizontal surface before transporting them to vertical planters.
Make sure your soil quality is rich with sufficient organic matter or compost.Watering the plants in a vertical system is not as easy as on a horizontal surface. For low height and small vertical gardens, you can water them manually.
However, that’s not a possibility as you increase the height of your vertical garden. Drip irrigation system with small outlets positioned at each planter and also operated on automated timers is an excellent option. This will not just ensure optimal watering for your plants but will eventually lead to water conservation and reduction in those water bills as well.
Vertical gardens are not just a new option that everyone is looking at or possibly considering but might soon become a necessity with the increasing global heat scenarios.
Vertical gardening in India is a growing trend that is catching the eye of big corporate sectors, government offices as well as small households as a way of living or even as a way of doing their interiors.
Overall, having a live green wall in the form of a vertical garden will not only efficiently solve the space issues but will give an eye-catching ambiance to your interiors as well.
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