Good talked to Guillaume Leclerc, project manager and plant specialist at Vertical Garden on how to install a living wall at home, plus which plants work and why.
The first concept of vertical walls was introduced by French botanist Patrick Blanc. He found his inspiration by contemplating nature, waterfalls and the different plants stages, from the canopy to the ground. Basically, as long as there is water, nutrients and something to attach itself, an epiphyte plant can grow.
With these findings in mind, WallyGro invented the Wally/Wolly Pockets system that can be attached to a wall, on top of each other to recreate a natural ecosystem. The pockets are waterproof and deep enough so all kind of plants can be planted in a vertical wall. The pockets also help plants maintain the necessary moisture, find enough nutrients in the soil and most importantly, have stunning living walls in our home, mess-free.
What to consider when installing and planting a vertical wall
Remember that plants will be competing against each other permanently, on each level, for light, for nutrients and for moisture. Have plants that will need more light and less water at the top, and vice versa at the bottom.
With one of the main requirements of a plant wall being for it to be beautiful, it’s important to mix three different kind of plants: thrillers, fillers and spillers. The idea is that after some time you won’t be able to see the pockets anymore.
In each Wally Pro Pocket you can plant up to three plants, ideally one thriller and 2 either fillers or spillers depending on your final look and what level you are on within your wall.
Thrillers selection: Anthurium, Philodendron Xanadu Imperial, Monstera, Dracaena, Syngonium, Calathea
Spillers selection: Ficus Pumila, Rabbit Fern, Philodendron Scandens, Epipremnum Aureum, Peperomia, Scindapsus, Rhipsalis, Aeschynanthus
Fillers Selection: Spathiphillum, all Ferns, Begonia, Aglaonema, Chamaedorea
If you are doing a wall in a bright place use philodendrons, syngoniums, anthuriums, peperomias, ficus pumila, aeschynanthus, chamaedorea, rhipsalis.
If your wall will be in a darker place use dracaena, aglaonema, philo scandens, epipremnum aureum, philo imperial red, begonia, spathiphillum, all ferns.
The average watering for a wall is one litre of water per pocket per fortnight.
Pinch the creeping plants back anytime to help them branch out, this will help keep the plant wall bushy and full. Always pinch after a leaf node.
To keep a plant healthy, make sure you are not stressing it. That means:
- Soil not too dry
- Soil not too wet
- Spray water or use wet cloth to remove dust (helps the plants breathe easier and kills spider mites)
- Spray wash solution (soap or alcohol+sodium) to kill mealy bugs
- Trim the plants which become too big or too invasive for the neighbouring ones as they will be stealing their light and water – always thinking about the competition
Anthurium: flowering plant with red heart shaped flowers. Tropical look, bright place and dry substrate.
Philodendron Xanadu: native from Brazil. Beautiful leaves with and exotic looking foliage. Upright plant, bright place.
Philodendron Imperial (red or green): Easy care, self header plant. Oval shaped leaves, upright and elegant looking. Bright or dark place.
Monstera Deliciosa (swiss cheese or fruit salad plant): ntive from the tropical forest of Mexico. Easy to grow, looks great with many interior styles.
Dracaena: Native from Madagascar, requires less water than most indoor plants. Good drainage required. Can grow in darker places.
Syngonium: Epiphytic plant or terrestrial, decorative foliage. Good drainage and moderate to high light.
Calathea: Many different species, native from tropical America. Very decorative leaves, zebra like.
Philodendron Scandens (or Cordatum): Natrive from Central America, very easy to grow. Also known as the sweatheart plant with heart shaped leaves. Glossy leaves, moderate to high light. Great covering plant.
Ficus Pumila: Native from East Asia, also called creeping fig. Easy to grow and excellent for coverage.
Epipremnum AQureum: Native from Asia and the Pacific Islands, also known as Pothos. Hard to kill. Can grow in dark, really long vine.
Rhipsalis: From the cactus family and native from the Caribean and Central America. More than 35 different species. Contrary to most cacti the rhipsalis requires water. Bright place. Cascading plant.
Aeschynanthus: An evergreen subtropical of approximately 150 species with highly coloured flowers.
Spathiphyllum: Known as the Peace Lily, native from tropical regions. Can grow in dark place and requires moist environment.
Begonia: More than 1800 species of Begonia exist. They can grow in dark place and require moist environment, The begonia Maculata has beautiful foliage.
Aglaonema: Native to tropical areas, it is also known as Chinese Evergreen. Has beautiful foliage, is a slow grower. Darker places.
Chamaedorea Elegans: Small palm from central America. Beautiful and delicate appearance. Slow grower but can reach up to 60cm height after a few years.
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