“Grow up!” - those are words we usually hear a parent or teacher say (and maybe a spouse). In this case, grow up perfectly describes a gardening method known as Vertical Gardening. Plants grow in an upward direction instead of out. This concept of gardening is especially useful when space is limited. Vertical gardening provides a simple solution with a broad range of options. From simplicity to elegance, tiny to large...vertical gardening will dig into your imagination and creativity.

There are so many ways to start a garden. Vertical gardening is not just another way. It’s a unique form that draws attention to the amount of space you don’t have or do have - and how to use planters and structures to maximize that space. Unlike traditional gardens, plants are not rooted in the ground. They aren’t limited to garden pots either. Plants grow in spaces...vertically. Makes sense? Think vertically! There are many benefits of vertical gardens.

Solutions

Maximizes Small Space

Vertical gardening is a solution for limited space. A vertical wall garden enables you to mount planters directly on the wall. Placing a planter above your couch takes away zero space. You could use a mountable structure on another part of the wall to hold smaller containers with herbs or succulents. Let bright flowers or lush greens cascade in a multi-tier or stackable design to maximize your wall space even further.

If outdoor space is limited, vertical gardening provides solutions as well. Take advantage of structures around your home like fences, gates, and walls to create a vertical hanging garden. You could suspend several colorful containers from a tree or fence and conserve space. Why not expand an existing garden? A trellis installed above a garden provides excellent support for a variety of plants. They come in different materials and styles to accommodate almost every garden. You can always go the DIY route by modifying items that you have around the house. By planting vertically, you gain more room in your “traditional” garden to plant other crops.

Vertical standalone gardens are ideal for those living in condos or apartments. Some designs resemble bookshelves or ladders, with slots to plant directly in or to place containers on. Leaning standalone gardens against walls and growing plants in different levels frees up space. You could also get a stair-step stand with several tiers to hold potted plants. Vertical gardens can be tailored for any site. Tower gardens are made to fit in a corner or to suspend from structures. Different configurations can make a small room appear spacious. You walk into your kitchen feeling a lot roomier, as though it’s been remodeled.

Why not enjoy the pleasures of an outdoor garden? Railings are common structures for vertical hanging gardens. Some railing planters resemble saddles that you can easily mount over railings. Others are designed with special fabric sewn with pockets. These innovative designs offer air pruning and self-watering systems as well. There are larger fabric planters with handles, so you can conveniently hang them anywhere on the balcony. Others look like shoe organizers intended for planting in levels. These are just tiny ways to take advantage of the huge benefits of vertical gardening.

Reduces Air Pollution

A living wall is one of the most widespread approaches to vertical gardening. Walls are partially or completely covered with foliage or flowers. Some living walls reflect an artistry too beautiful to describe. This is where the elegance of vertical wall gardens comes in. People also refer to these gardens as green walls. You see them at airports, hotels, and shopping malls. The major benefit of living walls is reducing air pollution. Especially beneficial in Hawaii where the air is often polluted by vog, green walls promote better air quality, increasing oxygen and reducing harmful toxins.

Who’s to say you can’t have a living wall? This is where you put your imagination and creativity to work. If you’re thinking about installing a living wall, consider your wall space then explore the options. You don’t need one that looks like a wall carpet (unless that’s what you want). You could create an elegant mini or micro living wall and still promote clean air. There are framed living wall kits in different sizes that you can start off with.

Produces More Crops

A vertical garden increases crop production. No matter how big or small your garden footprint is, growing crops vertically expands the capacity of your entire garden. You’re actually growing more crops in less space. It’s as though your crops are growing in air...with the help of trellises, towers, or other structures. Your vertical garden is virtually boundless, acquiring a much higher yield.

Growing high-yield crops in vertical gardens can double your harvest. They typically climb upward on vertical structures. Some crops can even be trained to grow vertically. Crops that do well in vertical gardens include tomatoes, pole beans, cucumbers, arugula, and lettuce. Trellises and towers make ideal structures for climbing crops. Bamboo or iron stakes are other alternatives to save you space and improve your yield.

Minimizes Garden Pests

Another benefit of vertical gardening is the control of garden pests. Most gardeners are often frustrated when they see ragged holes in their lettuce or tunnels in tomatoes. Unlike traditional gardens, vertical gardens are not created on a plot of land. You’ll notice fewer garden pests in a tower garden since soil-dwellers won’t have access to your crops. These pests often carry and transmit viruses while feeding on our crops.  Growing plants vertically reduces your risks of exposure to diseases.

Especially here in Hawaii, where land is one of the most valued resources - sustaining healthy crops is a major concern for both gardeners and farmers. Exploring the world of vertical gardening provides plenty of alternatives for reducing and controlling garden pests. A vertical tower system gives garden nuisances fewer opportunities to invade plants.

Want to know more about Vertical Gardens?

Vertical gardens offer such a huge assortment of selections, including sizes and shapes. Some merely rest against or hang from support structures, while others act as standalone containers. Each design encourages plants to grow vertically for greater mobility and productivity.

Grow up is still the best way I can describe vertical gardening. (Maybe you have a clearer description). Hoping this blog gave you some motivation to explore the world of vertical gardening or even start one of your own. With the recent recall of certain commercial greens, it’s safer to grow our own vegetables. Yes, vertical gardens are not limited to just growing vegetables and herbs. Tropical plants can make any living wall literally come to life.

This is another blog in a series devoted to gardening. I’m saving tropical plants for a blog of its own along with more garden pests. Until next time...remember how important it is to thoroughly wash your veggies.