Plant parents, listen up: it’s time to take your plant babies out of their pots or planters and proudly display them on your wall instead. Living walls, or indoor plant walls, are growing ever-so-popular on social media, and we want in on how to realistically create and maintain one at home.
To assist us in building the lush living space of our dreams, we spoke to Cara Anderson, the designer and owner of Plant Roost Design, and got the full how-to on building an indoor plant wall. Read on to get her tips on how to begin your build, which plants to include, and how to upkeep your wall for a green breath of life for your space.
Meet the Expert
Cara Anderson is the designer and owner of Plant Roost Design in Winnipeg, Canada, which specializes in corporate and residential indoor plant wall design.
The First Steps to Building Your Plant Wall
First things first when it comes to creating your plant wall: pick a suitable spot for it. Anderson suggests assessing your environment and ensuring there is plenty of light wherever you plan to build your wall.
“If you are not planning to use grow lights, you will need a location with natural lighting via a window or skylight,” Anderson says. “Bright, indirect light is ideal for most plant walls.”
Using grow lights is always smart when possible, as it will not only make your plants happier, but will allow them to truly grow and thrive as they would outdoors.
How to Choose a Plant Wall System
“Plant wall systems can be a bit of an investment, but it’s worth spending more on a good foundation,” Anderson suggests. “When dealing with living plants that require growing medium and regular watering, you will want a plant wall that is properly designed.”
Systems that are made out of felt or other breathable materials are generally more budget-friendly, but they come with the risk of issues such as wall damage and mold if not maintained properly. “Using a system made of plastic is generally a better option as it's water resistant and durable,” Anderson says.
There are many DIY methods out there for creating your own wall structure, and you can utilize materials such as wood pallets, chicken wire and landscape fabric. These methods do have the potential to fail quickly if not executed properly, though, and are likely best suited for outdoor plant walls.
The Best Plants to Choose For Your Wall
When it comes to choosing the plants that will live on your wall, select low-maintenance houseplants to ensure they will thrive. Because your plant wall may not be in the best lighting conditions for indoor plants, Anderson gave her suggestions for tolerate houseplants that will thrive on your wall.
“The best go-to plants for indoor plant walls are pothos, philodendron, dracaena and anthurium plants,” she says. “These plants are all very hearty and will do well with a little neglect. Ferns look beautiful in plant walls, though they lose leaves quite often and can make quite a mess. It's important to have fun and experiment using different plants, but be sure all the plants you use require the same type of care.”
It's important to have fun and experiment using different varieties, but be sure all the plants you use on a wall require the same type of care.
Maintenance and Upkeep
Just like caring for any houseplant, plant walls require regular maintenance, and because your wall is holding many plant varieties, it can be overwhelming at first. Watering is a main part of plant maintenance, and most homeowners go with a hand watering system for their wall, according to Anderson.
“There are self-watering systems available, though they are quite expensive and will require you to connect the plant wall to your water system,” Anderson says. “Try to choose a system that has a reservoir and will only require you to water once a month rather than every week.”
Along with regular watering, another important aspect of maintenance is regularly checking your plants for pests or signs of sickness. If you find any pests at all on your plants or have a plant that seems to be sick, it’s best to remove the plant from the wall and replace it to avoid this pest or disease spreading to other plants. General cleaning and pruning is also important to keep it looking healthy and vibrant.
“The most exciting part about plant walls is that they look better over time and are always evolving,” Anderson says.