Transform any bare vertical spot into a lush living wall garden with this simple and smart planting system.

Vertical Garden
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn

Many outside walls are just blank canvases—we'd like to decorate them with colorful flowers and foliage but don't know how. Luckily, we have container-gardening guru Pamela Crawford of South Palm Beach, Florida, to show us the way. Pamela has designed a wall planting system that's inexpensive and easy to plant, hang, and maintain.

The basic unit (, $34.95) consists of a frame measuring 14 inches tall and wide by 5 inches deep. It's lined with a coco-fiber mat with planting holes cut into the sides and front. You can hang two units together to make a rectangle or four to make a square. Plant the bottom row first by adding some potting soil, soaking the root-balls of the assorted foliage in water, and pushing the roots through the holes. Then add more soil and plants to the row above to fill out the display. Just remember, when combining two or more units, don't plant the adjoining edges or you'll squash the leaves in between!

How To Hang

Each planting unit is hung from the wall by two metal J-hooks. The hooks allow air between the planting unit and the wall at the top to prevent moisture damage. Insert spacers (such as plastic bottle caps) at each bottom corner if hanging on wooden siding.

Vertical Plant Ideas

Annual flowers such as 'Dragon Wing' begonia, coleus, gomphrena, lantana, and sweet potato vine do great. So do foliage plants such as pothos, spider plant, ferns, ivy, arrowhead vine, and dracaena. Succulents also flourish.

How To Water

Gently water by hand from the top, allowing it to reach all the way to the bottom. Water when plants wilt or soil feels dry. Use a quality brand-name potting soil such as Fafard.