What Is an Indoor Vertical Garden


You can grow indoor gardens in a myriad of ways, such as on your windowsill or even vertically on a wall. You may have seen pictures of these vertical gardens in interior decorating magazines, which has you wondering, could you grow one yourself? How exactly does an indoor vertical garden even work? We did a lot of research to provide you the answer.

What is an indoor vertical garden? It’s simply an indoor garden bound to a vertical object with plants arranged on it to grow vertically. Plants can thrive in vertical gardens in many ways: inside planter pockets, a vertical pot arrangement, using soil, using water in hydroponic systems, or even soilless growing.

If you’re interested in the idea of an indoor vertical garden and starting your own, then this is the article for you. In it, we will describe these gardens in-depth, explaining their benefits, the plants you should choose, and steps for growing your own indoor vertical garden.  

Indoor Vertical Gardens & a Few of Their Benefits.

You often see vertical gardens outdoors, but you can grow them inside as well. To do so, most people use a suspended panel in which the plants can attach and grow. You can place that panel anywhere inside your home or apartment. For instance, maybe you decide to affix it to a blank wall. You can even drape the panel against a wall and the plants should thrive.

Some people refer to vertical gardens as moss walls or live walls and sometimes even living green walls. All these names fit quite well for these visually appealing plants.

Vertical gardens often grow via hydroponics. With this, you don’t use any soil for your plants. As an alternative, the plants grow in a water solvent liquid, gravel, or sand. You must still provide nutrients for your indoor plant so it survives.

Hydroponics work the following way: your plant gets oxygen and a direct source of a nutrient solution. Thus, it becomes green and healthy. Now, what does the plant’s root system attach to? With hydroponics, the roots will hold onto a medium. This may be vermiculite, peat moss, clay pellets, rockwool, or perlite.

In some instances, growing plants using hydroponics can lead to a higher growth rate. You may also notice the plant is fuller (by 30 percent) and grows more quickly (by 25 percent) compared to a non-hydroponic plant of the same type. That’s due to the way the nutrients come straight to the indoor plant.

Now that you understand a bit more about indoor vertical gardens and how they grow, let’s talk about the advantages or benefits of these gardens.  

Take up Less Room

If you live in a small apartment, you probably don’t have a lot of room in which to grow your plants. Yes, there’s your windowsill, but you can’t help but feel like that area’s a bit cramped. You don’t want to stop growing plants indoors, but you’re not sure where to keep them, either.

An indoor vertical garden makes for the perfect solution. This goes on or near your wall, thus freeing up your windowsill.

Can Accommodate a Wild Green Thumb

If you’ve really gotten into gardening in the past few months, then you may have plants everywhere the eye can see. On tables, windowsills, desks, and any other available surface. Now you’re not sure where else in your home you can grow plants. Perhaps it’s time to move outside?

Not so fast. With an indoor vertical garden, you have wall space you can dedicate to growing your plants. How fun!

Available in Many Sizes

Whether you only have a bit of wall space free or a lot, you can get a vertical garden panel to accommodate you. These panels come in smaller sizes not much larger than a picture frame for those who aren’t sure if they’re ready to commit to an indoor vertical garden. If you want to jump right in with both feet first, then you can get panels up to 60 feet.

Add to Your Home’s Aesthetics

Artwork looks great, sure, but nothing beats live plants sprouting on your wall. It’s just such a wondrous sight to see. You can be sure that when friends or family come to visit that they’ll certainly have a lot to say about your beautiful garden. It’s always a conversation starter!

Aerate Your Home

Besides its undeniable beauty, an indoor vertical garden benefits your health as well. The plants may rid the air of indoor chemicals, keeping us safe and healthy. Also, if you live on a particularly busy street, you may have less noise pollution once you plant your indoor vertical garden.

Which Plants Should You Choose for an Indoor Vertical Garden?

You’re certainly intrigued by the idea of an indoor vertical garden. That said, you have more questions. For instance, which plants would you grow in such a garden? We’re glad you asked. Here’s an overview of a few of the more popular indoor vertical garden plants.

Calathea

Calathea often grows in pots, but you can just as easily plant them in your indoor vertical garden. As part of the Marantaceae family, calatheas call the tropical Americas their home. These plants sometimes have inflorescences or flowers depending on the species you get. Otherwise, the calathea has long leaves in a vivid dark green and light green alternating pattern throughout.

Indoor varieties of the calathea include the Calathea makoyana, the Calathea orbifoli, the Calathaea ornata, and the Calathea lancifolia.

Pilea

Another type of plant you might add to your indoor vertical garden is the pilea. More than 700 species exist, giving you plenty of variety. These green plants, also known as the Pilea rotundifolia, have long leaves and a stunning deep, rich green color. Some can even sprout flowers.

Growing in warm, subtropic, or tropic environments, pileas include shrubs, herbs, and succulents. Some species names are:

  • Pilea repens or black-leaf panamiga
  • Pilea pumila or Canadian clearweed
  • Pilea peperomioides or Chinese money plant
  • Pilea mollis or Moon Valley plant
  • Pilea microphylla or artillery plant
  • Pilea involucrate or friendship plant
  • Pilea glauca or silver sprinkles

Ficus

If you want to add some ficuses to your vertical garden, make sure it’s the Ficus pumila. This indoor plant can climb well and adds both volume and color to your indoor vertical garden. It’s no wonder the Ficus pumila also goes by the name the climbing fig or the creeping fig.

Natively grown in Vietnam, Japan, and China, Ficus pumila translates to “ficus dwarf.” It has that name because the leaves are particularly tiny, especially when compared to the other indoor plants we’ve talked about thus far.

Fern

A type of vascular plant, ferns have existed in some form for more than 360 million years. Thus, they make a fantastic addition to any indoor vertical garden. Particularly, look for species like the bird’s nest fern, the blue star fern, or the sword fern. These are pretty simple to care for, so even beginners can grow an indoor vertical garden successfully.

Do keep in mind that ferns will grow facing down, so make sure they don’t hog up your garden. This plant can handle humidity changes and is quite resilient. They also get big and full in little time, so your vertical garden will look great very fast.

Pothos

In the Araceae family, you’ve got pothos. This plant will sometimes flower, adding to its appeal. Many gardeners favor the devil’s ivy or golden pothos variety of this plant, as the neon leaves look almost bright yellow. Otherwise, other varieties of the pothos plant have dark green teardrop-shaped leaves.

Pothos was originally grown in islands around the Indian and Pacific Oceans as well as Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Australia, and the Indian Subcontinent. Today, you can plant your own in a myriad of lighting and watering conditions and it should still survive.

Succulents

You might opt to get some succulents in your indoor vertical garden as well. These hardy plants can handle very infrequent watering, a main trait of theirs. They tend to thus have fleshy and thick stems and leaves in which to retain water.

You can choose from more than 25 families of plants featuring succulents, among them the Crassulaceae, the Cactaceae, and the Aizoaceae. The distinct look of a succulent makes it stand out from the other plants you’re adding to your indoor vertical garden.

How to Grow an Indoor Vertical Garden Step-by-Step

Are you ready to begin growing your own indoor vertical garden? Then you’ll want to follow these steps.

Step #1: Choose the Plants for Your Garden

You might use the plants we listed above or some other indoor favorites that you think would suit your vertical garden well. Have fun with this planning stage, as it’s one of the best parts of the process. You may even draw what you want your ideal indoor vertical garden to look like so you have a blueprint to work from.

Step #2: Plan Your Garden Type

While many gardeners use the abovementioned panels to grow the plants in their indoor vertical garden, you have a few other options. For instance, you could connect several pots vertically and attach them to the wall. Just watch the weight, as you don’t want the setup so unstable that it falls. It might also be difficult to reach the topmost plants for watering.

Some gardeners even opt for a pocket garden. With this, you buy or make a long sheet of canvas or felt. The sheet has several rows of pockets. You put the plants in each pocket and then attach the whole thing to a long rod and hang it.

Step #3: Choose Where Your Vertical Garden Will Go

Okay, so you’ve decided between the traditional panel vertical garden or another type. Now you’ve got to figure out where in your home or apartment your garden will go. If you didn’t already measure the size of your future vertical garden, now would be the time to do so. You need to know exactly how much wall space to allocate.

Besides wall space, you also have to take into consideration how much access to light your indoor plants will have. Some of your plants can handle indirect sunlight, like pothos, but maybe not all. To fix that, choose a spot that has what’s known as half-exposure. With this, some parts of the garden get more light than others. Now all your plants will be happy.

Step #4: Begin the Growing Process

Plant your seeds, give them the appropriate sunlight, and water when necessary. Don’t put the wall panel up right away, though. Your newly sprouting plants may be too weak to support themselves. Sure, you could glue the plants where you want them or even wrap wire around them, but none of that is great for your poor indoor plant.

You might have to wait several weeks before you can hang your garden wall panel. Once you do, you’ll know all the time and hard work was worth it. The indoor vertical garden should look amazing. It will only get better as the plants grow bigger.  

Step #5: Enjoy!

With your indoor plants arranged and growing on your wall, you can appreciate their presence each and every time you’re at home. You might love your vertical garden so much you decide to grow another one!

Tending to Your Indoor Vertical Garden

You know that just because you planted your indoor vertical garden doesn’t mean that your work ends yet. You have to care for the plants to keep them growing strong and healthy.

One matter you’re curious about is how you’d water your vertical garden. Would you have to climb a ladder, water from the top down, and hope the plants at the bottom get water like some sort of weird Pachinko game? What would you do with the water runoff on your floor or carpet?

A drip irrigation system can solve the Pachinko-like watering issue. You obviously do not want a drip system with a hose since you’re keeping your vertical garden indoors. One that has holes for water to come out is ideal. You might also want to set up a bucket to catch the water beneath your plant so it doesn’t ruin your floors.

If you’re using a pocket method for your indoor vertical garden, many gardeners advocate for Wally Pro Pockets. These can keep less water dripping down your walls or floors.

Prune your plants the way you would if you were growing them separately, taking precautions not to snip or trim the other surrounding plants that do not need it.

Now, what if a plant or two in your indoor vertical garden dies? It does happen. Unlike with a potted windowsill plant, where you might throw the whole thing out when it’s dead, the rest of your indoor vertical garden is very much alive. It just has these ugly dead spots.

You’ll want to remove the dead plant(s), doing the best you can not to disturb the other healthy plants around it. Then, replant. Maybe you grow the same plant you had before or something else entirely. It’s your call. More than likely, you will have to take the garden wall panel down again for a few weeks while the new plant grows and becomes sturdier. Then you can put the panel back up on the wall.

Related Questions

How much does an indoor vertical garden cost?

Admittedly, compared to just growing a houseplant on your sill, an indoor vertical garden is way costlier. That said, it’s also amazingly attractive and benefits your health, so it’s very much worth considering, we’d say.

How much money will you spend for one of these vertical gardens? While it does depend, for each square foot, the average price is $195 to $265. Then you have to continue putting money into the maintenance and care of your indoor vertical garden. If those prices are too high for you, then start with a smaller garden.

Can you build your own vertical garden planter?

Absolutely! If you’d rather grow your indoor plants in a vertical planter rather than in pockets or a large panel, you can easily makeshift your own planters. You only need some wood to do so. Here is a handy video from The Home Depot that walks you through the steps. Although theirs is outside, you can absolutely make an indoor planter. Just keep it taller instead of wider.

Fred Zimmer

I'm a lover of plants, animals, photography, & people, not necessarily in that order. Currently, I'm focused on photographing indoor plants & chachkies. I write & rewrite articles about creating an environment where indoor plants can thrive. I'm good at listening to music but bad at shopping to muzak.

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