Experts warn against this common mistake when creating a vertical garden

Vertical gardens are taking root this spring as we look for ways to use every inch of space, but not watering properly will stop yours from flourishing

vertical garden watering mistake
(Image credit: Eden Breitz/Alamy Stock Photo)

Vertical gardens and living walls are on the up for 2022 and it’s easy to see why. Suitable for any sized garden, they can bring interest and color to the tiniest of balconies or create privacy and shade in an open space. 

You can even create a living wall indoors with an array of houseplants. According to new research from Garden Buildings Direct, this is one garden trend that looks set to dominate in 2022. 

'If you have no more room in your garden for plants, or indeed have no room at all for plants on the ground, a vertical pocket garden is a great idea,' says Garden Buildings Direct. 'All sorts of plants and fruit and vegetables can be grown in small pouches affixed to the wall of your home or outbuilding and provided they are looked after with enough sunlight and water throughout the year, they can thrive as well as other plants at ground level.'

Although adding some vertical garden ideas to your plot will bring plenty of benefits, experts warn against a common vertical garden watering mistake. If you fail to water your vertical plant display properly it will wither and die.

vertical garden on the side of a container

(Image credit: Jacky Hobbs/Future)

Vertical garden watering mistake

'You should always aim to water your vertical garden from top to bottom,' says Chris Bonnett of Gardening Express. 'The reason for this makes sense. Water will trickle down and you can then control how much water to give to your plants at the bottom. 

'If you water from the bottom upwards you run the risk of flooding the plants below. You’ll give them their own water, but they’ll also end up with extra from any water that has run down from above.' 

If your vertical garden is part of your deck or patio gardening ideas, it’s a good idea to lay matting or rubber flooring immediately underneath, to prevent continually dripping water damaging or staining the surface of your paving or decking.

pocket planters on wall used as a vertical garden

(Image credit: Aldi)

Use a special watering system

If you’re still learning about how plants work and what they need, consider investing in a vertical garden with self-watering system. Designed to trickle water throughout the display, in normal conditions a self-watering vertical garden will only need filling once a week.

If you’re a first-time plant parent, a vertical garden with a self-watering system is a great idea says Dobbies’ senior houseplant buyer, Claire Bishop: 'You’ll feel like a pro, keeping multiple plants at once, without the added pressure of tending to each of them individually.' 

pocket planters filled with plants to create a living wall

(Image credit: Jacky Hobbs/Future)

By following these tips for watering plants correctly in a vertical garden, you can be sure of creating a healthy, flourishing display this summer.

Jayne Dowle
Freelance writer

Jayne Dowle is an award-winning gardening, homes and property writer who writes for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. She was awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021.