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Green Walls and Other Trends for Small Gardens

By: Juanita Popenoe

Horticulture trends are set like fashion trends at large international shows. In March I had the opportunity to attend the international horticultural trade show, IPM, in Essen, Germany. I saw some fun gardening trends including miniatures, green walls, and edible gardening. Everywhere were fabulous creative flower arrangements, flowering plants and ways to create a small garden.

Limited space in the house requires indoor plants to be small and impactful. Indoor plants with beautiful flowers and/or luxurious foliage were found at many booths. Edible plants, also often miniature, like tomatoes, citrus, peppers, and herbs were prominently on display. Some of the tomato and pepper plants were genetically no taller than two feet, but provided an edible benefit as an indoor plant. Dish gardens and “fairy gardens” – miniature gardens in gorgeous pots or clear glass containers were used to create an entire garden in a very small place. These could be as simple as a few miniature plants arranged artfully in a dish, to elaborate landscapes with miniature plants and objects.

Miniature tomatoes can be grown in pots in small spaces.

DIY green wall

This green wall is made with potted plants inserted into modified wooden crates.

Green walls are a popular way to increase the number of plants in an area but still have them take up little space. I have seen green walls locally in the East End Market and fancy restaurants in Winter Park. Walls may be used to grow edibles like lettuce, or ornamental plants. Some of the green walls at the show were simple with various mosses or dried flowers in artistic designs; others were made of succulents and foliage plants that required a little more to keep them going.


Make Your Own Green Wall

To make a green wall, moss, succulents, small edibles, or small foliage plants are inserted into a wall that holds the plants and/or pots and allows water to move down the wall. The wall may be a structural porous material, or something as simple as a wooden pallet with plant pots inserted in the openings. Sometimes the potted plants were suspended in “chains” of plants or open shelves to form a wall. In other examples the vertical planting was used as the base of a glass table. Materials and imagination seemed the only limit on how to implement green walls. All will need water and nutrients, so learn more about hydroponic production before you start if you plan to do more than hand water.

close up of DIY green wall

A close up inside the wooden crate shows the bars that hold the pots at an angle in the crates.

Think out of the box and try a non-traditional garden, whether it is a green wall or potted miniatures. You can grow a garden in a limited space.