Annual Planted LiveWalls are very easy regardless of climate, with comparatively fewer maintenance events than perennials.

Living walls planted with annuals are very easy regardless of climate, with comparatively fewer maintenance events than perennials.
Living walls planted with annuals are very easy regardless of climate, with comparatively fewer maintenance events than perennials.
Living walls planted with annuals are very easy regardless of climate, with comparatively fewer maintenance events than perennials.

Perennial Planted LiveWalls are easy in mild climates (like San Diego, Seattle or Tampa), with very few losses, even during winter. If well maintained, certain plant species can last for years.

In cold winter climates (like Michigan, Maine or Minnesota), living walls planted with perennials require diligent oversight and adherence to timely maintenance events to optimize overwintering.  If all care is done correctly and on time, we have found that:

  • Winter survival can be good (90+ %) during mild winters,
  • Winter survival can be fair (70+ %) during average winters, and
  • Winter survival can be poor (25% or less) following harsh winter weather.

In all cases, overwintering success varies with exposure (wind/sun), geography (cloudy conditions make it easier), and the characteristics of the supporting wall (structural walls are better than fence applications, as they keep the soil warmer).

Green walls planted with perennials are easy in mild climates, with very few losses, even during winter. If well maintained, certain plant species can last for years.
In cold winter climates (like Michigan, Maine or Minnesota), living walls planted with perennials require diligent oversight and adherence to timely maintenance events to optimize overwintering.
Overwinter survival varies greatly in cold winter climates, from 90% or greater survival in mild winters to less than 25% survival during exceptionally harsh winters.

Naturally, LiveWall, LLC, wants every customer to derive optimal value and enjoyment from their LiveWall productswhether using annuals or perennials. For this reason we have compiled a list of features that allow for easy comparison of the costs/benefits of annuals vs perennials (below). No matter what you decide, you are not locked in for life — LiveWall is designed so that you can change the plants anytime you like.

COST
  • The yearly “sustainment costs” of perennials is somewhat less than annuals when winter weather is mild and winter survival is high.

  • The cost of perennials is influenced by diligence of maintenance and severity of winter weather, level of cloud cover, wind, and heat transfer through the supporting wall.

  • Perennials can cost more annually, following a harsh winter (and comparatively high plant losses).

  • Perennials require the investment of a winter cover (in areas with freezing temperatures).

  • Annuals have predictable costs year after year.

MANAGEMENT
  • There are few, if any, surprises with annuals.

  • Perennials require attentive maintenance and availability of labor.

  • With perennials, each spring reveals the relative success with overwintering—then plants must be ordered to account for replanting.

  • In cold winter climates, annuals require fewer maintenance events, and therefore are comparatively easier to manage than perennials.

VISUAL APPEAL
  • In cold winter climates, the palette of perennials is quite narrow (appx. 10 very winter hardy species). In warm winter climates, the palette is more diverse.

  • Perennials flower seasonally, less than annuals which often flower all season.

  • A broad palette of annuals can be used.

  • Annuals are more colorful and can be more visually stunning. Perennials are more subtle.

  • Annuals can be food (herbs, peppers, tomatoes), and growing them can contribute to health and wellness initiatives.

SUSTAINABILITY
  • In cold winter regions, perennials should be covered during winter, and therefore don’t provide any food or habitat during winter. In mild winter regions, covering is less important.

  • Annuals can provide prodigious amounts of pollen and nectar, as do many perennials.

  • A broad palette of annuals can be used.

  • Regardless of whether annuals or perennials are used, soil and plant matter can be composted and reused for landscape beds or garden space.

IN SUMMARY, whether you choose annuals or perennials you can have an amazing experience with your LiveWall. We are here to support you with recommendations for plants and an easy-to-follow, time-proven protocol for caring for them.  If you have multiple walls, you might want to have annuals and perennials, perhaps in alternating fashion. Occasionally, people combine annuals and perennials in the same planting. LiveWall gives you quite a great deal of flexibility.