vertical garden
Photograph Albert Melu

Picking the Right Plants for your Vertical Garden

By freelance contributor; Sally Writes.

Vertical gardens have become increasingly popular if you live in a flat with a balcony, or if you only have a small patio. The area you’re planting may be limited in space, but with a little initiative and imagination, there is plenty you can do with your mini garden.

Practical pansies

Even for a beginner gardener, pansies and violas are ideal hardy perennials, available in a rainbow of colours. Even if your vertical garden is on a windy balcony, these plants are perfect as they flower close to the soil. Many flowers can be damaged by heavy rainfall, but pansies have wonderful restorative power, given a few days sun, they will recover quickly. Polyanthus are also very hardy spring-flowering plants (similar to the wild primrose) and can provide an important splash of colour on those rainy spring mornings.

Fruits of your labour

If you are planning on planting hanging fruits such as strawberries, it is really important that you consider the types of vertical planters for small gardens. Strawberries need to have plenty of drainage as they don’t like sitting stagnant in their own water. Planters can be placed very close together, a square foot of space is perfectly adequate for a dozen plants or so. It will also make watering plants easier, and of course harvesting your bounteous crop. If you don’t want to attach heavy terracotta planters to a fragile wall, you can purchase plastic vertical stands that simply sit on the patio floor. These have several layers of planting space and are equally good for blueberries and tomatoes.

Follow the sun

Placement of your vertical containers is incredibly important as some plants are sun worshippers, and others, such as fuschias would prefer to be in the shade. Fresh herbs like basil and oregano thrive when they are planted facing the east, in order to catch the best of the morning sun, before temperatures get too hot. Too much direct sun however, can cause damage to their leaves. There are plenty of shade loving plant varieties, for instance Hostas are best planted on west-facing walls as they prefer to be out of direct sunlight. Dicentra, “Bleeding Hearts” are another beautiful shade-loving variety that are perfect for your vertical garden.
For every dimension of garden there are plants that will thrive. Even in winter, coloured heathers and succulents can provide a beautiful display that require very little care and maintenance. A limited garden space doesn’t mean that you can’t do something spectacular.

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