Vertical Gardening: Edible landscape a way forward to sustainable Urban Horticulture

In gardens, space is always a premium, especially in urban areas, as a result of human institutions, which has a direct impact on the quality of life, both physically and aesthetically.

By Dr. Ahsan Akram, Muhammad Talha, Dr. Adnan Younis & Ahmed Faiz Akbar

That is why, in the field of landscape architecture and design, vertical gardens have recently become highly popular. Vertical gardens are becoming increasingly popular due to the abundance of readily available supplies and methods. Urban gardening techniques known as vertical gardening that can be used to embellish roof tops and walls in a variety of ways and are especially well adapted for small spaces. This is a different approach to gardening that allows you to grow plants in a vertical environment. A good vertical garden is made up of a variety of plants that have been selected for their ability to adapt to verticality, precise moisture conditions on the wall, solar exposure, wind exposure, and various levels of disturbance. A vertical garden is a method or system for growing plants in unused airspace. You’ve probably seen numerous systems for growing plants along walls and fences that employ pallets and other containers.

Types of vertical gardening:

  1. Green facades
  2. Green/Living wall
  3. Modular green wall
  4. Vegetated green wall
5. Rain Gutter Vertical Gardens
  1. Green facade:

Climbing plants or cascading groundcovers are trained to cover specially constructed supporting structures in green facades, a sort of green wall system. Plants can be cultivated on the ground or in elevated containers that are watered and nourished. These buildings are anchored at the bottom, in the ground, in intermediate planters, or even when they are completely covered. Green facades can be built as stand-alone structures, such as fences or columns, or anchored to existing walls.

 2. Green wall / Living wall:

Pre-vegetated panels, planted blankets or vertical modules are mounted vertically to a structural wall or frame in a living wall system. Plastic, synthetic fabric and stretched polystyrene can be used to create these panels, which can support a wide range of plant species (e.g.  Perennials, a lush mixture of ferns, edible plants and ground covers).

Vegetated mat walls are made up of pre-vegetated panels, planted blankets or vertical modules that are attached to a structural framework of a wall. Steel structure, synthetic fabric, stretched polystyrene and plastic are used to sustain a wide range of plant diversity. Green facade solutions that are planted in the ground require extra upkeep, such as fertilizers and water.

3. Modular green wall :

Vertical Garden Modules are constructed of polypropylene that has been recycled. It has an appealing appearance, is quite robust, and is simple to install. It provides an immediate answer for creating a garden in your home.

4. Vegetated green wall:

Patrick Blanc invented this system, which consists of two layers of synthetic cloth with pockets filled with plants and growth media. A framework supports the fabric walls, and a waterproof membrane shields them from the building wall. Water and nutrients are supplied by an irrigation system at the top of the wall.

5. Rain Gutter Vertical Gardens

Rain gutter gardens are a unique way to utilize vertical space in the outdoors. It’s an excellent method to recycle old rain gutter if you have any laying around. Rain gutters are used to create a long, shallow pot. As a result, they’re only suited for plants that don’t require a lot of area to flourish. They work well in long, narrow places. Aluminum and plastic/PVC gutters are the two basic types of gutters that can be repurposed as a gutter garden. Metal gutters will corrode over time, however plastic gutters have the potential to survive permanently.

Themes of vertical gardening:

The following examples demonstrate the various types of plants that thrive in the restricted space of vertical gardening, as well as how and where they can be used in the landscape..

Salad Garden

Larger food plants, such as tomatoes or broccoli, do not work well in a rain gutter garden, but salad mixes are perfect. These greens are best gathered when they’re young and fragile, and they may be planted again and again for a steady supply of vegetables. Each day, a salad garden requires at least six hours of sunlight.

Herb Garden

Many herbs, in addition to tiny, green crops, can be grown vertically. Corianders and mint, both annual and perennial herbs, are good choices, but annual herbs must be renewed every year.

Succulent Garden

Succulents are well-adapted to flourishing in cracks in rocks where there is little to no soil, making them ideal for vertical gardening. Succulents require full sun and can survive in heat and drought conditions, so they’re an excellent choice for a rain gutter garden in an exposed and hot region. If you want to add little cacti u Use a cactus potting mix, which is available at most garden center. This will give the extra drainage that these species require.


Flower Garden

Vertical gardening is an excellent alternative to traditional flower pots in windows. The secret is to use smaller plants like pansies, petunias, and marigolds, which can thrive in only a few inches of soil and produce a lot of flowers. For a vivid year-round display, alter the flower mix with the seasons. Late spring and late fall are the best times to plant warm-weather plants, while early spring and late fall are the best times to plant cool-weather plants. Depending on the amount of sun exposure, there are also sun-loving annuals and shade-loving annuals to pick from.

Cultural practice for vertical gardening:

Low-weighted, high-water-holding capacity, nutrient-rich, and porosity-rich growing media are ideal. The most common media combinations utilised include sphagnum moss, cocopeat, vermicompost, perlite, leaf moulds, vermiculite and  shredded bark. Because soil adds to the weight of the green walls, it is not used.

When the soil around your plants starts to dry out, you should water them. Your plants may become wilted and stressed if you allow it to fully dry out. So check on your plants every day or two to make sure the soil is moist but not drenched.

Suitable plants for vertical gardening:

For indoor garden

 Herbaceous perennials: Pepromia, Philodendron, Fittonia, Epipremnum, Syngoniums, Anthuriums, Pepromia, Schefflera, Chlorophytum, Pilea, Rheo discolor, Begonia, Spathiphylum.

Shrubs: Schefflera, Ficusspp.

Succulents: Rheo discolor, Setcreaseapurpurea, Zebrinapendula.

Ferns: Nephrolepis.


For outdoor garden

Herbaceous perennials: Asparagus spp., Alternenthera, Pileamicrophylla, Mentha spp.

Shrubs: Dusty miller, Cuphea.

Succulents: Jade plant, Portuluca, Sedums.

Ground covers: Baby’s tear, Callisarepens.

Benefits of Vertical gardening:

•         Reduces improved air quality and carbon dioxide levels and increases oxygen. 

•         Requires less effort to water and conserves water.

•         Works as noise and sound absorbing materials.

•         Improves energy efficiency and thermal insulation.

•         • Prevents structures from being damaged by extreme temperatures, extending their useful lives.

•         Reduces improved air quality and carbon dioxide levels and increases oxygen. Reduce the heat island effect in cities.

•         It collects rainwater, giving food to animals and a place to live for wildlife.