Garden Design

Renter’s Guide to Growing Vertical Gardens in Your Apartment

vertical garden

Living in an apartment in a large city sometimes comes with limitations. Little to no outdoor space is often one of them, but lack of a yard doesn’t have to crush your green thumb dreams. So, when it comes to gardening, think up instead of out, with vertical gardens.

Vertical gardens let city dwellers satisfy the need to grow plants without needing extra room. You can create your garden on your balcony or even inside your apartment. You can grow your own food or bring beauty to your space with plants and flowers. Whatever you choose, the benefits of vertical gardens are plenty. Here’s how you can get started with growing your own vertical garden.

Choose The Location

apartment gardening

Location can make or break your garden. Plants need access to sunlight, but that doesn’t mean your garden must be outdoors. If you live in a cold climate, you can create a garden on an inside wall near windows. This is sometimes called a living wall. In more temperate climates, a balcony or terrace can be the perfect space for growing plants. In both cases, you need easy access for watering and tending to them.

Other unique ideas for your vertical garden include creating a pathway from one room to another with a plant tunnel. You can also block off undesirable sightlines with a plant wall. Regardless of where you put it, your plants need a foundation.

Decide On The Framework

If your apartment is on the smaller side, you don’t want to overwhelm the room with a massive garden. A pocketed wall panel can hold numerous plants while taking up little space. They’re made from a heavy material, like canvas, and some can host as many as 36 plants. To fill the pockets, look for smaller plants that won’t grow too large. Cover the wall area with a sheet of plastic before installing the pocket panel.

Rows of shelves work well for indoor vertical gardens. You can grow your plants in containers by using basic plastic or more ornate pottery. Shelves allow for larger types of greenery than pocket panels since you can space out the containers to accommodate various plant sizes. Again, think about putting plastic sheets behind the containers to keep water off the wall.

If you want plants that climb, a trellis may be your best bet. You can make it part of your garden display or hide it with vines as long as you pick a material that can support your garden. Most trellises are made of steel or wood. For indoor walls, you can easily attach a flat trellis to them. You cal also consider a small ladder leaning on the wall for a distinct look.

Lucky enough to have a balcony or terrace? Then you have more freedom to build your vertical garden. There may even be space for a larger trellis, like an arch or a tall, narrow cage. Or use a ladder as your frame, and since it’s outdoors, go ahead and open it up.

Pick The Right Plants

plants for indoor garden

Do you want vines in your vertical garden? Or perhaps you’re going to grow food. Some plants work better than others when it comes to growing up.

Vines

These plants make a lot of sense for a vertical garden, as they naturally extend upwards. Plus, they’re great for decorating your balcony wall. If you’re creating a living wall as a decorative addition to your apartment, English ivy is a winner. It adapts to various light conditions, grows quickly, and remains green year-round. Grape ivy is another good choice. It’s not as hardy as English ivy and needs more light, but it’s easy to grow. For beautiful blossoms and a delicate fragrance, jasmine is a good choice, but keep in mind it needs several hours of direct sunlight. Some species can’t survive cold weather, so check out the gardening zone where you live to find the best plants for your climate.

Edible Plants

If you want to eat what you grow, plants with a natural inclination to climb will work. These include tomatoes, which are common in vertical gardens, pole beans, and peas. The vegetables really take off when given a trellis to climb and produce food for several months of the year. Cucumbers are also common in trellised vertical gardens. For pocket panels, leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, and kale work well.

Reap The Rewards

growing plants in apartment

Once you start your vertical garden, the benefits start rolling in; both for the plants and for you. Gardening up instead of out gets plants off the ground and creates better air circulation through the leaves. They also aren’t exposed to soil-borne diseases and insects. Plus, some plants produce more fruit when their vines climb upwards.

As for you, you can satisfy your urge to garden.  The act of gardening, even on a small scale, provides exercise with bending and reaching, and a chance to disconnect from your routine. As an added bonus, a living wall helps purify the air you breathe, while the colors you add to your apartment with a vertical garden act as therapy, as green is a very calming color. With so many benefits, there’s no reason not to give a vertical garden a try!

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About the author

Mihaela Buzec

Mihaela is an online content developer for RENTCafé. She has a BA in English Language and Literature and an MA in Current Linguistics. She is a passionate reader, writer, and researcher, with a background in academic writing. You can get in touch with Mihaela at mihaela.buzec@yardi.com.

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