The choice of plant species for vertical gardens strictly depends on climate conditions and the exposed facade of the wall. The plants should be light for vertical gardens to resist the weight. Their root system must be spreading and not of the pile form so it can easily grow in containers on the vertical gardens. It is also important to choose the right plants so that your vertical garden can be easy to maintain and flourish with lush green plants.

The colour bursting vibrant plants grown on vertical gardens are categorised by their species that typically grow in both, indoor and outdoor gardens. Plant diversity is categorised into ornamental plants and edible plants for vertical garden plants.

Ornamental Plants:

Ornamental plants are plants that have explicit growth and that enhance the space with greenery. They are also called ‘decorative plants’ that are used in vertical gardens for a vibrant and colourful appearance.


Foliage enhances your location with some explicit flowering or leafy plants that give your property a fresh and colourful appearance. They create a stunning indoor or outdoor ambience. Ferns are easy to grow and they cover the area quickly by growing downward.

Boston Fern a.k.a Sword Fern


Image source: Serres Fortier from Flickr

Like most ferns, it grows best in full to partial shade. However, it can still withstand partial sunlight. It will survive when it is well watered and planted in rich soils, growing up to 4-6 ft long. The sword fern prefers a neutral to acidic soil and will grow slowly and steadily. It may outgrow vertical garden containers, so you need to simply split up the roots and replant.

Bird’s Nest Fern


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This is another fern that grows successfully in containers, requiring the same conditions as the Boston fern. Bird’s nest ferns have broader and more fragile leaves, which may damage easily, so it is best to leave them with a bit of room to grow. The yellow-green leaves offer a bright contrast against darker green leaves in a wall composition. The bird’s nest fern makes an ideal houseplant that will tolerate soil that dries out from time to time.

Rabbit’s Foot Fern


The rabbit’s foot fern takes its name from the fuzzy exposed roots and creeping stems that stick out from its base. These roots can be broken off and planted to establish new plants. Native to tropical regions, this fern requires similar growing conditions to the above ferns (warmth, bright shade), but may not require quite as much watering.

Image source: Sandy Poore from Flickr

Pothos, Golden Pothos and Devil’s Ivy



Pothos especially golden pothos is a classic houseplant to grow both indoors or outdoors. It is one of the most forgiving plants that tolerate low-light or bright light, watering or dry spells, rich soils or poor soils. In fact, pothos can even grow well in neutral, alkaline or acidic environments. It is almost impossible to get it wrong! As a trailing vine, it is a smart choice for a vertical garden as it can be encouraged to spread and fill any gaps.

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Other kinds of pothos like the Devil’s Ivy are considered as an aggressive grower and care should be taken if planted outdoors. Golden pothos is ranked highly in the list of plants that remove Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. Also, visually, it has bright green and neon leaves with yellow gold vegetation.


Flowering plants are often seasonal. But some plants grow flower buds throughout the year. Using flowering plants in vertical gardens add an aesthetic touch to it.



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A classic and easy to grow garden plant exist in myriad colours for every climate. Opt for petunias suitable for hanging baskets, as these are ground covering in nature and will grow bushy, falling over the vertical garden’s bare wireframe. With relatively small root systems, petunias are a good choice for container vertical gardens as well. Petunias enjoy hot sun, fertile conditions, neutral pH, moderate watering and good drainage. In warmer climates, some varieties may bloom throughout the year.



Blue Verbena flowers.

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Canadian vervain.

There are over 250 species of verbena to pick from, but species such as Canadian vervain suit vertical gardens for their mounding and favourable conditions.  Since other species may be less herbaceous and more upright, Canadian vervain is the easiest to grow. They are also heat and drought tolerant. To stay bushy and flowering, Canadian vervain really needs to grow in full sun. It also likes neutral to acidic pH and particularly well-drained medium.

Rose Mock Vervain


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This species of flowering plant is from the verbena family that blooms annually. Clusters of fragrant, rose-pink, five-petaled, tubular flowers grow at branch tips. Some of its characteristics are:

  • needs full to partial sunlight
  • requires medium to dry moisture level
  • stolerant of a wide range of soils
  • grows in acidic to mild PH environments
  • Grows 6-12 inches in height
  • blooms mid-spring through summer
  • Has blue/pink/lavender/white flowers
  • spreads quickly especially in rich soil

Edible Plants:

Vertical gardens are snaking their way through our eco-friendly conscious. But apart from the traditional ornamental plants grown in a vertical garden, one even has the luxury to plant in edible plants, fruits and veggies, and even tea in their vertical garden! An indoor, as well as an outdoor edible garden, can be created with this concept.



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Spinach is a quick growing vegetable that needs fairly low maintenance compared to other edible plants. It prefers full sunlight in a fertile, neutral to slightly alkaline soil. Average watering is fine for spinach, and it will like a bit of fertiliser once the plant begins to flourish. It grows best in cooler temperatures and will bolt as soon as temperatures rise.



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Lettuce is a staple plant to grow in a veggie garden. It is easier and faster to grow than other plants. There are dozens of varieties to choose from, including smaller compact varieties which perhaps suit better to vertical gardens. Garden lettuce is a cool weather lover but needs full sun, regular watering, and a nutrient-rich soil to thrive.

Chili Plant


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Ornamental and edible, small chili plants are winners in a vertical garden. These plants are best planted high and out of reach for children as contact with chilis can cause a burn in the hands and skin. Chili plants grow well in hot and sunny conditions, average water and well-drained medium ranging from neutral to slightly alkaline pH. Look for low-growing, compact and bushy varieties such as prairie fire, razzmatazz or garda chandelier. There are many more varieties to suit an individual’s penchant for spice.




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Chives are easy and quick to grow. Also, they can be used as herbs while cooking. They also have pretty, lavender or white flower heads that will brighten up a vertical herb garden. Grow chives in full sun in a rich, well-drained medium and water moderately. They have a tendency to clump together, so the solution to this can be simply replating the extended branch.



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Low-growing, ground-covering varieties such as aureum or hirtum are slightly slower growing than their common cousins, but will grow compact and dense to fill the space in a vertical garden. Its sweet aroma is heightened when planted in prime conditions: full sun, poorish soil and good drainage. It is a very easy-to-maintain herb. Oregano is fairly heat resistant and prefers a neutral to slightly alkaline environment. It is also said to repel pests.


Succulent plants are the plants that have stems and leaves thickened and fleshy, usually to retain water from the arid climate and soil conditions.



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As its Latin name suggests ‘always living’, this is a hardy succulent. Sempervivum is an alpine succulent, used to eking out a living between rocks and crevices. Sempervivum will happily squish into a vertical planter garden. Each rosette is a separate plant, and is monocarpic, dying after it flowers. But it is quickly replaced by new rosettes. They look good combined with echeveria as well.



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Filling any unsightly gaps, sedum is an excellent choice for a vertical garden. Aureum, oreganum, angelic and blue spruce are other options. For example, Burro’s tail is a drooping succulent that is particularly eye-catching because of its 30 cms long hanging stems. They are covered with dense, plump, lime green to blue leaves. These long stems make Burro’s tail a popular choice for hanging pots in vertical gardens.



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Rhipsalis is a genus of cacti, typically known as mistletoe cacti. It is not a drought-resistant plant, so regular watering is essential. Over-watering, however, can cause weak stems and rotted roots. Rhipsalis does not thrive in direct sunlight. Exposure to afternoon sun can burn the leaves, turn them yellow, or lead to spotting. However, without sufficient sunlight, They will not bloom, and its growth can be stunted. Rhipsalis does best with morning sun and full shade in the afternoon.

Correct selection of plants plays an important role in the design of the living wall. Colour contrast of the flowers and plant leaves create patterns on the biowall as they grow. This contributes to the visual appearance of the green wall, beautifying the ‘big picture’ as a whole.