How to make a living plant wall

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  • Create your own piece of plant heaven, with this step-by-step guide to creating a living plant wall

    Living plant walls are set to be one of the hottest new gardening trends of 2018! This new trend can be brought to life in our own homes with a helping hand from Dobbies and its brand new Living Wall Planters – set to have walls looking blooming lovely this spring.

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    ‘We are delighted to have made this trend easily accessible in any home, inside or out,’ says Marcus Eyles, Head of Horticulture at Dobbies, ‘A Living Wall is a great way to introduce greenery into your home and refresh a space, creating a modern and sophisticated look that will add interest and colour.’

    living plant wall-Planters-Dobbies

    Image credit: Dobbies

    ‘The Living Wall Planters can be easily fitted onto any solid area.’ explains Marcus, ‘The walls can be built indoors or out, can be as large or small as you like, meaning it can be tailored to suit the size of your space.’

    How to make a living plant wall, step by step

    1. Choose your space

    You can build a living plant wall on any solid wall or fence – build straight on to the side of your house, a garden fence or even a sturdy shed. For indoors a custom made wooden wall allows you the freedom to move it from room to room.
    Once you’ve chosen a structurally sound wall or fence, simply screw in rows of 2in x 1in treated battens 38cm apart to fill the space, checking with a spirit level as you go to make sure they’re straight.

    2. Screw in the planters

    Using an electric screwdriver and working from the bottom up, attach the plastic planters to the battens. You can then click and lock the planters into each other and build up your wall in staggered rows.

    3. Get watering

    Starting at the top, water your wall with a hose or watering can. The reservoir system is designed to keep plants watered for up to two weeks.

    4. Green up your wall

    Fill the planters with your chosen plants using 12-13cm pots. Either remove the plants from their pots and plant them straight into the planters, or to make changing the scheme really easy, place the pot directly into each planter, making sure the pot touches the reservoir base.

    The planters will be available from £9.99, at Dobbies Garden Centres from early March.

    living plant wall-Dobbies

    Image credit: Dobbies

    Top tips for living plant walls

    • If you’re attaching your green wall to the side of a house, Dobbies recommend attaching a waterproof membrane to the wall before you begin, to prevent damp issues.

    • The living plant wall needs watering around every two- three days depending on climate (unless you’ve chosen to add an automatic irrigation system), more in summer – check by sticking a finger into the soil to see if the compost is dry.

    • As for as plant care, if you’ve chosen flowering plants, as always, you’ll need to deadhead flowers to encourage new blooms later in the season. Foliage plants such as heucheras and ferns should be tidied up by snipping off tatty leaves, as needed. Annuals, in particular, benefit from a liquid feed every couple of weeks in summer, although any display that’s in place for any length of time will need feeding to keep it looking its best.

    Related: Jobs to do in the garden in February

    living plant wall Dobbies

    Image credit: Dobbies

    Choosing the right plants

    A range of herbaceous perennials, grasses, small shrubs, herbs and even fruit and vegetables can be used. Try including scented plants, seasonal flowers and bulbs, but talk to your local garden nursery about plants that will suit the aspect and microclimate of the wall on which they will be grown.
    Plants to try:
    • Adiantum (maidenhair fern)
    • Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’ (sedge)
    • Fragaria ‘Mara des Bois’ (strawberry)
    • Galanthus (snowdrop)
    • Heuchera ‘Purple Petticoats’
    • Liriope muscari (lilyturf)
    • Pachysandra terminalis (Japanese spurge)
    • Pelargonium peltatum (ivy-leaved geranium)
    • Saxifraga x urbium (London pride)
    • Tiarella cordifolia (foam flower)
    • Vinca minor (lesser periwinkle)

    There’s no saying you have to fill an entire wall, you could just create a plant oasis at eye level along a fence or if indoors you could create a small-scale herb garden for your wall.

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