In major urban centres, making room for home gardens is tough. But hardcore gardening buffs have found a way around that -vertical gardens!
Yes, we’re talking about plants in containers or geo felt bags mounted on the walls. Some even have a drip irrigation system for easier management! And while such gardens are very popular abroad and other Indian metros, the trend is fast catching up too. According to Dr SL Rahman, joint secretary , The Agri Horticultural Society of India, “Starting a vertical garden is a costly affair. You also need to put in a lot of effort and dedication to maintain it.
However, it’s not rocket science. And where there’s a will, there’s always a way . The primary area of concern is watering the plants, which has to be done using a certain technique. The excess water should drain out through a proper channel. Seasonal flowers, philodendron and money plants are ideal for vertical home gardens.” Whether you grow the garden indoors or outdoors, all that differs is the plant types. Shade-loving hardy plants are used indoors, while sun-loving ones are kept outdoors. As for the benefits of such gardens, landscape designer Nupur Khaitan says, “Green walls breathe life into our otherwise dull and drab life. Plants also purify the environment and their colour soothes our senses. It’s a symbol of growth, auspiciousness and fertility. Plants help reduce stress and are good for eyesight. Very few know that plants also improve the vastu of a place. Since it’s constructed over a specific area, it is much easier to control the spread of weeds. You can even grow vegetables in geobags and go organic.Many people prefer soil-less media, which comprises only chemicals or chemicals with fertilisers. One can also use organic materials like coco peat, manure and other nutrients essential for plant growth.”
All said and done, let’s see how you can start your own vertical garden at home. Here goes –
How to begin
Define the area where you want the green wall.Any wall is good, but it’s always better if you choose one that gets some natural light, even if indirect. Think about your budget. Many landscape designers also offer good solutions. If you’re creative enough, you can make your own green wall with hanging pipes.
All you need is a wall or a partition. It can be something as extensive as a boundary wall or even a small balcony wall. The structure of the green wall should be a three-layer sandwich -frame, plastic sheet and fabric -so that even when you attach it to a wall, it stays unharmed.This also makes unmounting easy . Again, if you want to create a partition, a freestanding green wall is ideal. This wall can also be made movable, making it an amazing option to break the monotony by changing its position every now and then.
The location of the wall will determine the kind of plants. “For indoors, we use plants that grow in shade, and for outdoors, we use sun-loving varieties. Again, for balconies, we use semishade plants. Vertical gardens even work as an attractive room dividers. In offices, where we get indirect light, we use sturdy indoor plants,” Nupur tells us. The type of plants can also be suggested by the people installing the green wall or a horticulturist. You can get your supply from a good nursery.
How to water the plants
If your green wall has a drip irrigation sys tem, all you need to do is turn on a tap and your plants get watered in no time. Otherwise, you can use a hose for outdoor walls and a spray gun for indoor plants.
If it’s a big wall, you need a separate tank attached to the drip irrigation pipe. “All you need to do is pour liquid fertiliser in the tank and it will reach the plants with the water. If you are using soil-less medium, frequent fertilisation is not required. One can also get fertiliser cakes and put them manually in each pocket.However, this is feasible only for small units,” adds Nupur.
How to maintain the garden
Maintenance depends on the type of plants and the unit that you choose. If you’re using green walls from reputed companies that offer you soil-less units, they are low on maintenance and need to be taken care of once in two months. However, plants need good care, and if watered properly , they require less maintenance