Hi, friends and neighbors! Let’s talk about plants, shall we?

Gardening is relaxing, educational and aesthetically pleasing; it is also sustainable for the environment and supports your usage of locally sourced fresh flowers, fruits, and vegetables. However, it can also take up a ton of space that you may not have, especially in urban centers like our fair city, Austin, Texas! Enter stage left– Vertical Gardens. This space-saving alternative growing technique can be fun to create and easy to maintain. Read on to learn how to get started!

Find the perfect spot.

A blank wall that needs a statement piece or a bare area of a fence are two ideal spots to situate your new vertical garden. Before you choose where your garden will be, you’ll want to make sure that it aligns with the type of plants that you want to cultivate. Read on for more insight!

Choose your base, tools, and materials.

Maybe you want to reuse an old pallet, buy a trellis, or install your own rows to plant in; the base is up to you and the configuration depends upon the spot that you’ve chosen! If it’s a chain link fence, for example, you may need to secure your structure in more places than if it were built on a wall or sturdier fence. Remember– soil and plants get heavy, especially after watering, so keep that in mind when selecting your hardware! I find that a small trowel and a small set of shears are incredibly helpful with planting, transplanting, and harvesting; If you’re growing fresh herbs or small flowers, those shears will help you take clippings without destroying the remaining living plant. A long-spouted watering can could also prove to be quite helpful in attending to those harder-to-reach plants.

Choose your plants.

Maybe your chosen spot is in the shade or in the sun, or maybe it’s a mix of both. Maybe some of your plants require lots of water, while others prefer a more arid climate. Maybe some of your plants prefer sandy, loamy soils and others prefer the light, airy nature of peat moss. You should choose your plants with these factors in mind and buy accordingly. The point we’re trying to make is that this is by no means a One-Size-Fits-All process– Choose strategically and do your research first! We recommend starting small, with a few similar plants to get a feel for how the whole setup should work. We suggest visiting our friends at East Austin Succulents and Tillery Street Plant Company for your garden inventory needs– They have a wide selection of beautiful plants to create your perfect vertical garden. (Heads up! The “featured photo” for this post is courtesy of East Austin Succulents! Seriously, go check them out.)

Hang it up.

Make sure your vertical garden is within your reach— if it’s too tall, the plants at the top are less likely to be sufficiently attended. If it is a taller garden you’re after, one option is to hang the plants that need the least care at the top. The way you attach or hang your vertical garden may vary depending on what materials you have available and your desired location. Try out a few different spots with the planters before you actually put plants in them to get a feel for proper sun, moisture, support, and aesthetic.

Get planting.

It is extremely important to take note of your preferred plants and their guidelines before you make purchases and build your masterpiece. Ensure that the receptacles you’re using have plenty of drainage capability- if it’s a pot or a can, make sure that there are ample holes in the bottom, or make use of small stones and pebbles in the bottom to aid further in drainage. Some plants require swampy soil conditions, while others prefer a lighter, drier soil– most plants that you buy will have these guidelines listed on the pot tags at purchase in the same location that you would find information about their sun requirements. A helpful water conservation tip is to place the plants that need extreme drainage up higher and the plants that require more moisture below them so that the water can be “recycled” into the lower pots. You can customize your living art as much or as little as you want; check Pinterest for some fun ideas to make it your own.

Don’t forget to water.

Now that you’ve completed your project, make sure to keep it alive by watering and tending to your plants according to their guidelines. Here are a few resources to get your party started!

How To Grow Potted Plants
Central Texas Gardening

The most important thing to remember: have fun while you’re creating and nourishing this eye-catching conversation piece!

Until next time,