//Planting Guide
Planting Guide2019-02-07T14:56:55+00:00

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).

Climate is typically the most important consideration in plant selection.

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.

Students with bright colored flowers and vines in living wall.


Annuals last one season and then die, but they yield tremendous ongoing color display.

The LiveWall system can support a wide variety of edible produce, including vegetables, greens and herbs.


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.

Green wall planted with cold-winter hardy perennials, photographed in November


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.

Exterior succulent living wall in warm climate.


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 suited to tropical climates and are used in most indoor living wall applications.


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

Annual plants require a good potting soil mix.
Perennials need a good potting soil with perlite, pumice or pine bark.
Succulents may last decades without repotting, so need a highly inorganic growing media.

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.

What type of soil should I use in a green wall?2019-02-08T14:27:51+00:00

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.

Annual plants require a good potting soil mix.
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.

Perennials need a good potting soil with perlite, pumice or pine bark.
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.

Succulents may last decades without repotting, so need a highly inorganic growing media.
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.

How much soil is needed for each LiveWall planter?2019-02-08T14:29:51+00:00

LiveWall Standard size planters are available in two widths. The soil volume of each planter is:
half – 0.109 cubic feet.
full – 0.217 cubic feet.

LiveWall Standard Size Planter Inserts
Standard Planters

LiveWall Large size planters are supplied in a single width. The soil volume of each planter insert is 0.4 cubic feet.

LiveWall Large Size Planter in Sage Color
Large Planters

Please Note:

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:

  1. Transplant small plants into the green wall planter inserts.
  2. Directly sow seeds in the green wall planter inserts.
  3. 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 sales@livewall.com).

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.

Transplant the starter plant into the soil-filled planter insert.
Use care to match the soil surface of the starter plant plug with the soil level of 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.

Apply granular slow release fertilizer only to walls with spray irrigation or that will be watered by hand.
Sprinkle fertilizer evenly across the soil surface.

Important:  Granular fertilizer should not be used with LiveWall systems that are watered with drip emitters.  Click below to learn more.

How do I fertilize the living wall?2019-02-14T16:13:28+00:00

The method of fertilization depends upon the water delivery method and whether a fertilizer injector was installed on the mainline.

All applications of fertilizer are the sole responsibility of the applicator.

For more fertility management information, please see the Maintenance section of our website.

Automatic Fertilization

LiveWall Fertilizer Injector

LiveWall systems may be purchased with a fertilizer injector that is tied into the irrigation system. The fertigation system injects a low dose of fertilizer each time your living wall is irrigated.

Manual Slow Release Granular Fertilizer

Outdoor walls and hand-watered indoor walls may be fertilized once annually using a granular slow release fertilizer. We recommend Scotts Osmocote®, which releases nutrition slowly for the entire growing season. This product is available from most garden centers. Typically, one teaspoon of fertilizer shaken evenly across the soil surface of each Standard sized wall planter during the spring is sufficient to feed plants through the growing season. Half-sized wall planters may require half as much fertilizer. This will vary with formulation and in all cases, the labeled directions on the package should be followed.

Do not use granular fertilizer for indoor walls with automatic irrigation. The granules require water to run over the surface to activate, and LiveWall indoor systems include drip stakes that inject water directly into the soil.

Manual Liquid Fertilizer

Miracle-Gro Liquid Plant Food Fertilizer

Every 6 to 12 months, indoor or outdoor living walls which do not have automatic fertigation may be fed with a higher concentration of liquid feed. Fertilizer may be applied manually according to the label directions using a watering can or a hose.

Gently water in the fertilizer and starter plants by hand with a hose fitted with mist nozzle before dropping the newly planted insert into the wall planter.

Gently water in the fertilizer and new plants with a mist setting on hose.
Place newly planted and watered insert into wall planter.

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.

Sow seeds into prepared soil following instructions on 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.

Lightly cover seeds with soil.
Gently water in seeded planter inserts.

Place the seeded planter inserts in the wall planters.

Place seeded planter inserts into 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.

Hand water seeded planters until the seedlings have become well-rooted.
Once seedlings are established and well-rooted, begin irrigating with LiveWall's built-in irrigation 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.

Order pre-grown living wall planter inserts from your local greenhouse or garden center.

6:  Conduct Routine Maintenance

Once the wall is planted, follow the care instructions in the LiveWall maintenance guide.

Green wall maintenance can be easy when done routinely.
Green Wall Maintenance