Vertical planting systems for the home offer many of the advantages of commercial systems, but without the need for complex lighting and irrigation systems. Our range of vertical planters are easy to set up and maintain: all you need is a power drill, spirit level, a tape measure and a screwdriver.

Before you start

The first thing you must do, before anything else, is to choose a location for your display.  This may seem an obvious thing to do, but there are few things to consider before you drill holes in your wall.

Two factors to consider before anything else are:

  • Is there enough light?
  • Will the display get in the way?

Light

Let’s look at light first.  The plants that we have selected have their origins in shady spots in humid rainforests, so they do not need direct light, and they can cope with pretty gloomy conditions.  That does not mean they can be left in a windowless, unlit room, but it does mean that almost all walls in your house will be suitable for them.  Bathrooms are good places (unless they are windowless) as the humidity often found there will create a really benign atmosphere for these plants.

If you have movable spotlights in the room where you are putting your plant feature, you might want to aim one of the lights at the wall.  Not only will that provide some useful light for the plants, it will highlight the feature as well, making it stand out nicely.

If you are familiar with green walls in commercial buildings, you will have noticed that they are often illuminated by special lights - spot lights or a slim bar of bright LEDs.  This is not necessary in the home, especially if you use the plants that we have selected.  However, you can get small-scale, discreet, horticultural lighting quite cheaply (I have one that I bought from Ikea, for under £30), and these may be useful if you want to put your display in an otherwise dark space, such as this garden office (below).

living picture illuminated

light bar in garden office

Please note: our moss panels do not need light, and can be used in unlit, or occasionally-lit rooms.

Space

Next, let’s take a look at making sure you don’t walk into the display every time you enter the room.

Our vertical plant displays are quite slimline - the structures won’t protrude more than a few centimetres from the wall, but you should be careful that they are not too close to a doorway where you might find yourself having to squeeze by the plants on your way into the room.

Also, you might wish to consider how high you wish to place the feature.  Ideally, they should be above shoulder height, as that will reduce the risk of accidentally bumping into them.  Having them at head height is sensible, as that will give you the best view of the feature - position the display as you would a picture.

Finally, consider how you will be looking at the plant display.  Hanging them in narrow corridors or hallways might seem attractive, but you might find that you won’t have the space to stand back and admire your living art in all its glory.

Living Pictures

living picture with fittonia mix

The Living Picture is now a common sight in offices and other commercial buildings around the world, so you may have seen one at work or elsewhere.  Now, there is a domestic version, which is smaller and which has a simplified watering system.

This guide explains the principles of setting up and looking after your display.  However, you must follow the more detailed instructions that come with the product.

This product is very straightforward to set up - from start to finish, it will take less than half an hour, but there are some preparations that you will have to deal with.

The structure of the wall

Our Living Picture is not heavy, even when fully planted and with its water tank full, but it does need suitable fixings.  Picture hooks will not be strong enough.

If you are fixing the display to a masonry wall, make sure you use suitable wall plugs - red or brown ones - and ensure that you drill deep enough.  The screws you will need should protrude from the wall by approximately 5mm once screwed in.

If you are hanging the display on a hollow wall, make sure you use suitable hollow wall fixings that can take the weight of the product.  See the detailed instructions that come with the product for details.

Planting up

Our Living Picture is supplied with the plants you need, but you will have to plant them up into the feature.

This is very straightforward.

Detailed instructions are provided with the packaging, but here are the basics:

  1. Take the planting cassette and soak the capillary matting (the blue microfibre cloth)
  2. Hang the frame onto the wall using the template supplied to position the mounting screws.
  3. Have some potting compost handy
  4. Take your plants from their grow pots and put them into the planting pockets in the cassette.  You should be able to fit three plants into each row.  Space them evenly and fill the gaps between the root balls of each plant with some potting compost
  5. Insert the planted cassette into the frame, making sure that the capillary cloth is properly placed into the water tank and push firmly to secure the cassette into the frame
  6. Add enough water to the tank through the filler hole to make sure that the red watering can indicator disappears.  Add the water slowly, so that it doesn’t splash.  You may find a funnel with a short length of hose attached is useful

living picture watering tube

living picture watering system

Routine care

Routine care of the plant display consists of two main tasks, both of which take a matter of minutes every week or so.

First, the watering.  You only need to water the Living Picture when the red watering can indicator shows below the bottom left corner of the display.  When this happens, add water through the filler hole (see above) until the red watering can indicator disappears.  Don’t worry if you don’t add water immediately, there will be enough moisture in the system to keep the plants alive for several days - often more than a week.  Don’t be tempted to add water before the indicator shows as you might overfill the tank, which risks water spilling out behind the Living Picture onto the wall.

Every now and again, depending on the plants you use and their growing conditions, you should add a little dilute fertilizer to the water when refilling the tank.

The only other thing you need to do is to keep the plants trim and bushy. To encourage dense growth, pinch out, or cut off the tips of the plants every few weeks.  This will encourage dormant buds to break and new shoots to grow.  This is especially important with the displays featuring Fittonia plants.  Those displays with the creeping fig (Ficus pumila) can be allowed to grow long if you prefer the tumbling foliage of this trailing plant.

Wall Art Displays (Flint, Charcoal and Cobble)

cobble wall art with ficus pumila

Flint wall art with rhipsalis cassutha

This guide explains the principles of setting up and looking after your display.  However, you must follow the more detailed instructions that come with the product.

This product is very straightforward to set up - from start to finish, it will take less than half an hour, but there are some preparations that you will have to deal with.

The structure of the wall

Our wall art displays are not heavy, even when fully planted and fully watered, but they do need suitable fixings.  Picture hooks will not be strong enough.

If you are fixing the display to a masonry wall, make sure you use suitable wall plugs - red or brown ones - and ensure that you drill deep enough.  The screws you will need should protrude from the wall by approximately 10mm once screwed in.

If you are hanging the display on a hollow wall, make sure you use suitable hollow wall fixings that can take the weight of the product.  See the detailed instructions that come with the product for details.

Planting up

Our wall art displays are supplied with the plants you need, but you will have to plant them up into the feature.

This is very straightforward, as these displays are essentially a wall mounted decorative planter.

Detailed instructions are provided with the packaging, but here are the basics:

  1. Depending on the product you bought, the planter is supplied with three or four plants in our foli8 coir pots, carefully selected to be suited to most indoor environments.
  2. Take your plants (keep them in their coir pots) and insert them into the planter, spacing them evenly across the width of the planter.
  3. Add water to the planter (you don’t have to water each pot) to a depth of approximately 2 - 3 cm.  The water will soak through the coir pot directly to the plant roots.

Routine care

Routine care of the plant display consists of two main tasks, both of which take a matter of minutes every week or so.

First, the watering.  You only need to water the our wall art displays when the plant pots feel very lightweight, and there is no water in the planter.   When this happens, just add water to the planter to a depth of 2 - 3 cm.  You will probably only need to water the plants every 1 or two weeks (depending on growing conditions). If you are going to be away from home for a prolonged period, just add enough water to the planter to keep them going for a week or two - top up the water to 2 or 3 cm depth.

Don’t be tempted to keep a constant depth of water in the planter - allowing all the water to be drawn through the pots into the rootballs is a good idea, as you do not want to saturate the soil and drown the roots.

Every now and again, depending on the plants you use and their growing conditions, you should add a little dilute fertilizer to the water when refilling the tank.

The only other thing you need to do is to keep the plants trim and bushy if you wish. To encourage dense growth, pinch out, or cut off the tips of the plants occasionally.  This will encourage dormant buds to break and new shoots to grow.  

Those displays with the creeping fig (Ficus pumila) can be allowed to grow long if you prefer the tumbling foliage of this trailing plant.

If you have selected the Mistletoe Cactus (Rhipsalis baccifera) option, please be aware that this plant grows much slower than the creeping fig, so don’t be tempted to trim the plant unless it is getting out of control.

Moss panels (Jade and Verdure)

moss panel

moss panel

Our preserved moss panels come in two versions: Jade and Verdure.  They come ready to hang, just like a picture - the preserved mosses and lichens are fixed to the panel.  Furthermore, they can be hung anywhere - preserved moss requires neither light nor water.

This guide explains the principles of setting up and looking after your display.  However, you must follow the more detailed instructions that come with the product.

This product is very straightforward to set up - from start to finish, it will take less than half an hour, but there are some preparations that you will have to deal with.

The structure of the wall

The moss panels are not heavy, but they do need suitable fixings.  Picture hooks will not be strong enough.

If you are fixing the display to a masonry wall, make sure you use suitable wall plugs - red or brown ones - and ensure that you drill deep enough.  The screws you will need should protrude from the wall by approximately 10mm once screwed in.

If you are hanging the display on a hollow wall, make sure you use suitable hollow wall fixings that can take the weight of the product.  See the detailed instructions that come with the product for details.

Routine care

Our moss panels are very easy to care for.  They don’t need watering, can cope with all temperatures and can even be kept in unlit rooms.  They are not suitable for displaying outside, though.

Routine care consists of the occasional dusting (or even vacuuming, on a VERY low setting) to remove any dust. The occasional mist (a few times a year is all that is needed) with a little water keeps the moss looking fresh and vibrant.

 

By Kenneth Freeman

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