Green wall planting is simple, easy and can be quite fun! This guide provides basic instructions for planting various types of living wall plants.
1: Consider your light exposure
East and west-facing walls will be partly sunny and partly shady. In the northern hemisphere, south facing walls will be sunny and north facing walls will be shady.
2: Consider your climate
What type of climate is your project in? Do you have a year-round growing season? Do you have freezing winters? In the winter months, will you be able to water the wall during warm spells (if not, you could should consider using annuals vs. perennials).
3: Select plant type(s)
The combination of climate and light exposure will allow you to know which plants will work in your particular setting. Your plant choices may involve the following types of plants.
Annuals last one season and then die, but they yield tremendous ongoing color display.
LiveWall planters can support a wide variety of edible produce, including herbs, vegetables, strawberries and medicinal plants. Most of these food-bearing or healing garden plants last a single season, particularly in climates with cold winters. In warmer climates, some perennial herbs and strawberries may be sustained for several years.
Perennial plants can last indefinitely with proper care. It is very important to be mindful of water management during the winter months. Most selections must be divided every 3 to 5 years to prevent overcrowding of root systems.
Fleshy-leaved succulent plants are unique for green wall applications, in that most do not become root-bound and therefore can potentially last for decades without need for replacement.
Tropical plants are–not surprisingly–best suited to tropical climates for exterior living wall applications. Most indoor living wall projects are composed of tropical plants which may have billowing, upright or trailing growth habits.
4: Select soil
Once you have decided which plants to grow in your living wall, select the appropriate soil. Contact your local garden center for assistance in selecting a locally available blend that supports the needs of your plant selections.
The makeup of the growing medium depends upon the plants you choose to grow, as the media should have last to match the life expectancy of the green wall plant.
For Annuals, Vegetables, Small Fruits, and Herbs
Plants are expected to be used for one full year need a good quality peat-based or coconut fiber-based potting soil. These are available at local garden centers.
For Perennials, Vines and Tropicals
Plants that are expected to last for 3 to 5 years before dividing, use a good quality potting soil, with perlite or pumice and/or composted pine bark. Such potting soils will tend to decompose less.
For Succulent Plants
Plants that can last decades without repotting, succulents need a good quality mix, typical of one marketed for rock gardening. The unique quality of such mixes is that they have a high mineral content (e.g. perlite, pumice, or expanded shale) and less organic matter, and therefore do not decompose over time.
LiveWall Standard size planters are available in two widths. The soil volume of each planter is:
half – 0.109 cu. ft.
full – 0.217 cu. ft.
LiveWall Large size planters are supplied in a single width. The soil volume of each planter insert is 0.4 cubic feet.
Depending on the soil type and starter plant size, additional soil may need to be ordered to account for settling.
5: Select Planting Method
When it comes to planting living walls using the LiveWall system, there are 3 options:
- Transplant small plants into the green wall planter inserts.
- Directly sow seeds in the green wall planter inserts.
- Hire a local garden center to grow your selected planter inserts and have them ready to place when the wall is constructed (or each spring, if your planted wall will feature annuals / vegetables / herbs).
For walls that will be replanted annually, remember to rinse and save the inserts for reuse the next year. If needed, extra inserts can be purchased from LiveWall, LLC (call 877-554-4065 or email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Transplanting Small Plants
Planting green walls with small starter plants is very easy. First, fill the planter inserts to the top with soil.
Transfer starter plants into the soil, typically 1-3 plants per planter (consult the LiveWall Plant Selection Guide for recommendations), and use care match the soil depth of the starter plant to the soil depth in the planter insert.
If the living wall will be watered with spray irrigation or hand watered, top-dress with a slow-release granular fertilizer. Standard size planters require 1-2 teaspoons, and large size planters typically require a tablespoon.
Sowing Seeds in Planters
Sowing seeds directly in the living wall planter insert is easy, and this is commonly done with vegetables and herbs.
Sow the seed at the recommended spacing and depth following the instructions on the seed packet.
The general rule of thumb is to sow seed at a depth three times the width of the seed.
Cover the seeds lightly with soil and water in gently.
Place the seeded planter inserts in the wall planters.
Hand water with a fine mist to keep the soil moist until the seeds have germinated and established. Once they are well-rooted, water with the built-in spray irrigation system in the LiveWall system.
Hire a Garden Center to Pre-Grow the Inserts
To maximize the impact of the growing season and save time, hire someone to grow the planted inserts for you!
If you chose to hire a grower, contact local greenhouses and/or garden centers. Ask them to use the inserts that you have received with your LiveWall or to have LiveWall ship them inserts directly in late winter so that the plants can be well-established in the spring.