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Vertical Gardening: Reaching New Heights

Vertical Gardening - Chicago Wall Garden

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Just because you live in an apartment, loft, condo, or row house, doesn’t mean you have to give up your gardening dreams. Plants are adaptable and resilient and can be grown in a variety of ways as a way to add a splash of floral color to your small space. If you have a small patio or balcony, you can push the limits of the small space by looking up. Using hanging baskets, wall gardens or trellises, it is possible to maximize your small space and bring vertical gardening into your life.

Hanging Gardens

Taking advantage of the space above expands your gardening options. You have options with hanging gardens. You could go the classic route and add hanging baskets to your balcony or patio. Many annuals perform well in hanging baskets, including petunias, begonias, heliotrope, fuchsia, periwinkle, and sweet alyssum. You could even opt for a foliage plant, like Boston ferns instead of a flowering one. The nice thing about hanging baskets is that you can adjust the height. You can hang them higher so they do not block your views or force you to duck around them. Or you can arrange them to hang in multiple tiers so they hang down, creating a privacy screen.

Since they are growing in a small, contained bowl or pot, hanging baskets have a tendency to dry out quickly. You will need to commit to daily watering or spraying to keep the soil moist and the plants healthy. Also, because the containers hang, the minerals and nutrients from the soil leech out of the soil quickly. Adding a regular dose of plant food will compensate for this and keep your flowers blooming beautifully.

Vertical Gardening - Chicago Wall Garden

Wall Gardens

Wall space can be transformed into a garden space. Small, individual containers can be affixed to the wall, via brackets or hooks or screws. Filled with potting soil, these containers can be planted with most types of annual flowers, including geraniums, impatiens, marigolds, and more. Larger containers can also be mounted onto a wall. These can include window boxes, troughs, or plastic fish bowls. These containers should have drainage holes so the soil doesn’t hold so much water that it damages the roots. The containers, with the soil, can be quite heavy, so you need to make sure that the wall is sturdy, anchored, and secure and that the containers are well-fastened, to avoid the risk of the wall or the containers falling. Like hanging baskets, wall gardens need frequent watering and fertilizing.


If your small space has access to some earth, you can take advantage of it by using a garden trellis to give the illusion of a larger garden by utilizing vertical space. Decorative and flowering vines will climb up the trellis and fill in the space. Flowering plants, such as morning glory, honeysuckle, wisteria, and clematis, adapt well to trellises and provide your small space with colorful blooms all summer long.

Limited outdoor space shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying the benefits of gardening. You can enhance small spaces with wonderful flowering plants without overwhelming the area. By working with the small space, you can find the vertical gardening option that will best complement the growing conditions and your personal style.

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