5 Reasons Why Vertical Gardening Systems Maintenance Is Not “Set and Forget”

Although it might be tempting to think vertical gardening systems or indoor Green Walls are maintenance-free, they do require proper care to flourish.  Just like indoor garden boxes, or even outdoor terraces, a Green Wall needs proper irrigation, weeding, and pruning.

You also need to make arrangements to provide fertilizer, pest control.  But the good news is the care required to maintain a vertical garden is easier and takes less time than traditional outdoor gardens that are susceptible to the elements.

Start by installing your vertical gardening system in a location with plenty of natural light.  Your greenery requires natural light or artificial photosynthetic light to thrive.  Plant selection will be determined by the lighting available.  Then, make plans to provide proper care for your plants.  The easiest way to do that is to hire a company to take care of your living wall.  

For example, install a Vertigarden Wall, which has pockets for 25 plants.  Using drip irrigation, the geotextile consistently waters plants and uses a smart-phone based application to monitor the wall in real-time.  The app alerts Vertical Vegetation Co. if areas become too dry or too wet.  It also shuts off the system if the temperature drops to 36*F or below and will restart it when the temperature climbs above 37* F.

WATERING

Because indoor Green Walls don’t benefit from precipitation, irrigation systems are crucial to keeping vertical gardening systems healthy.  Most green wall failures are due to lack of water.  You’ll need to check your irrigation system regularly to ensure your green wall stays gets the proper moisture and nutrients.  You’ll also need to take care to ensure your plants aren’t overwatered, which can be as damaging as providing too little moisture and letting your plants get too dry. 

Another option, include reindeer moss or create a section of your wall devoted to moss to reduce your water needs. Other tips for effective watering:

  • Water at the base rather than over the top of plants to prevent fungi and mildew from growing.
  • Water deeply and less often to encourage the roots to grow strong.
  • Provide drainage to prevent overwatering.
  • Use mulch to help your vertical garden retain water and prevent evaporation.
  • Use an irrigation system with a digital watering timer.

FERTILIZING

Use fertilizer to keep the plants in your green wall healthy.  Feed plants regularly to give anything growing in a vertical wall garden the nutrients it needs.

Tips for fertilizing the greenery in green walls:

  • Use organic fertilizers.  Consider using liquid, slow-release granules, or kelp-based fertilizer to keep your soil rich to provide nutrients for your plants.
  • Avoid using chemical fertilizers that can burn the roots of plants and damage the soil.
  • Fertilizing through the irrigation system is the most consistent and least problematic method.

WEEDING/PRUNING

Although your indoor vertical garden is less likely to develop weeds, you’ll still need to watch for unwanted plant growth and eliminate it.  Monitor your living wall for dead leaves, flowers, and disease. Be prepared to replace any plants that might die with new, healthy plants. Outdoor walls, especially those on tall buildings, will require professional maintenance.  Outdoor vertical gardens require quarterly weeding/pruning.

  • Focusing your irrigation efforts on the base of your roots will keep you from inadvertently watering any weeds.
  • Routine weeding and pruning help plants get adequate airflow and also helps prevent disease or fungus problems.
  • Fresh soil. Never reuse any potting soil.  Instead, always start fresh with new soil if you are starting a green wall or replanting a section of one.

PEST CONTROL

Even indoors, you’ll need to watch for bugs and other pests.  To protect your vertical garden, start by introducing beneficial predators like spiders by including plants they like.  Outdoor living walls may require more care because they are more vulnerable to pests.

  • Avoid using chemical pesticides that are harmful to you and potentially toxic for good bugs.
  • Also, use organic pesticides sparingly to avoid killing good bugs.  Instead, consider using a spray of water to remove potentially dangerous pests from your plants.

EFFICIENT AND LASTING

Installing a vertical gardening system provides an office or other commercial space an efficient way to incorporate biophilic design and provide both color and more oxygen to any space.  Vertical gardening systems require proper watering, weeding, pruning, fertilization, and pest control. Indoor green walls tend to be easier to maintain than outdoor spaces.

The easiest way to maintain your indoor green wall plants is to hire a company that specializes in not only installing but also providing care for your living wall.  Vertical Vegetation Company can maintain your vertical garden or direct you to a local green wall maintenance firm.  You can also take care of your greenery following the steps above. Although indoor green walls aren’t maintenance-free, with a little time and proper care, they will thrive and improve any space.

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