We’re calling it right now; green walls will be the biggest trend in houseplants for 2020. This versatile trend involves covering a wall in your home with beautiful plants to create an eye-popping living feature. Green walls can take many forms, from fully-mounted pre-fab structures to a combination of hanging planters and strategically placed shelves. Here are some ideas for adapting this trend to your space, along with our favorite houseplants for bringing your green wall to life.
Styles of Green Walls
The beauty of green walls is that each one is as unique as its owner. While there are infinite ways to put one together, these four styles are the easiest to implement as an afternoon or weekend project.
Green Shelves: Wall-mounted shelves draw the eye upward, which creates the illusion of higher ceilings and an airier space. Fill your shelves with vibrant plants and coordinating ceramic pots to create a simple display that you can change up as often as you like. If you live in a rental and you can’t mount shelves to the wall, a tall open shelving unit works well in its place.
Multi-Pocket Vertical Planters: These pre-fab green wall kits look like a giant tapestry made of black landscaping fabric, covered in a grid of smaller pockets. The idea is to tuck plants into each pocket to create a fully-vertical garden. Be warned; all that soil gets very heavy, so make sure to mount your vertical planter securely. These kits also use porous material, which means water runoff will escape through the bottom and the back of the wall. As such, these kits are best for outdoor, water-resistant walls or mounted on frames that create distance between the wall and the fabric. Make sure you’ve also considered how you’ll collect water runoff below the planter.
Wall-Mounted Vessels: A new, ultra-chic take on the green wall, this style involves attaching several small glass or ceramic vessels either directly to the wall or to a wall-mounted metal grid. This is a beautiful way to display cuttings, smaller plants, or fresh herbs.
Blended Green Wall: For lack of a better term, a blended green wall involves combining several styles of plant displays to create a harmonious work of living art. A blended wall can combine elements like floating shelves, floor accents, hanging planters, and indoor trellises to create a one-of-a-kind design.
Green Wall Design Tips
Once you’ve chosen the style you’d like to go for, it’s time to start planning out your layout! Keep these design principles in mind while you style your creation.
Diversity is beautiful: The eye is attracted to variety. The texture, color, height, and growth habit of each plant plays a role in the overall design. Select a variety of indoor plants that offer at least three different textures, color variations, heights, and habits.
Play with balance and symmetry: We’re drawn to spaces with balanced proportions. If you don’t consider yourself very “artistic”, the simple way to achieve this is to create rows of the same plants, leaving you with a perfectly symmetrical design. If you’re a little craftier, try playing with proportions to create balance in unexpected ways, like balancing a large floor accent on the right with a big, voluminous hanging planter on the left.
Take light needs into account: The beauty of your indoor display won’t last if you don’t account for the long-term needs of your plants. Areas that receive bright, filtered light are ideal locations for green walls because they can accommodate the broadest range of plants. A good way to start is to place the most sun-loving plants in the brightest spots on the wall and build the rest around them.
If you dream of a green wall in a location with little natural light, incorporate grow lamps into your design to accentuate your plants and supplement their light needs. Grow lamps need to stay on all day, so choose LED lighting to save energy and reduce heat.
Houseplants for Your Green Wall
Feeling inspired? Each of these indoor plants makes a gorgeous addition to your green wall design. You can find them at our Chicagoland garden centers in Carpentersville or Bloomingdale, IL!
Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Why it works: A beautiful and popular trailing houseplant beloved for its glossy heart-shaped leaves and strong, fast-growing vines.
Best feature: Aside from its romantic growth habit, pothos are available in a variety of colors you can mix and match. You’ll find cultivars in several color and pattern variations, from the chartreuse Neon Pothos to the speckled Marble Queen Golden Pothos.
Design notes: A low-maintenance, versatile indoor plant! Great for filling out shelves or adding a cascading element to hanging planters or mounted multi-pocket planters.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Why it works: Spider plant’s long, slim, arching foliage grows in the shape of exploding fireworks, so it’s great for adding fine texture and a sense of energy.
Best feature: This wildly popular houseplant is available in a few color variations to add highlights of yellow and white to the display. They’re also highly tolerant of low-light conditions.
Design notes: Not only are these plants the definition of “low-maintenance”, but they’re also self-propagating and inexpensive, which makes them a great option for filling out sparse areas.
Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
Why it works: Crotons are a stunning tropical foliage plant with an upright growth habit. Their unique leaves make excellent accents for your design.
Best feature: Crotons are available in a few cultivars with exciting patterns and colors—from blushing mango tones to vibrant electric yellow.
Design notes: Reaching heights of up to 6 feet, your crotons will eventually outgrow a wall-mounted display, but they’re ideal for adding some color variety while they’re still small plants. Crotons that have grown too large can be repurposed as floor accents, with or without a plant stand.
Zebra Plant (Haworthia fasciata)
Why it works: This popular, attractive succulent contrasts well with plants with softer foliage when displayed on shelves.
Best feature: The upright succulent leaves feature stunning patterns evocative of its namesake animal.
Design notes: Zebra plants also make gorgeous accents when suspended from the ceiling in pendant terrariums.
Blooming Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)
Why it works: Looking to add some flowers to your green wall? Kalanchoe flowers from late winter to early spring, and its ruffled succulent foliage delivers great texture all year round.
Best feature: The gorgeous trumpet-shaped flowers are perfect for adding a pop of color to a sea of green foliage.
Design notes: Kalanchoe’s mounding, upright form works best for green shelves, blended displays, or multi-pocket vertical planters.
Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
Why it works: This low-growing mounding plant with relatively dense, showy foliage makes a spectacular filler for your indoor display.
Best feature: Green prayer plants (Maranta leuconeura) fit right into green walls of any style thanks to their interesting foliage pattern. Red prayer plants (Maranta leuconeura ‘var. Erythroneura’) are ideal for those looking for a subtle color highlight thanks to their fine, bright pink stripes.
Design notes: Prayer plant foliage moves at nighttime, so your display will never look exactly the same two days in a row.
Variegated Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia obtusifolia ‘Variegata’)
Why it works: This variegated foliage plant has fine-to-medium texture and rounded, glossy leaves that catch and reflect light.
Best feature: Attractive leaf variegation that looks “painted” on, along with brick-red stems, add subtle but interesting color to your indoor display.
Design notes: A highly versatile plant with an understated elegance that lends itself particularly well to green shelves, mounted vessels, and blended displays.
Indoor green walls fill a space with life, purify the air, and bring a sense of whimsy into your home. These incredible decor projects may be the single most impactful way you can use houseplants in your home decor, but they also require diligent maintenance to look their best! Consult with our expert staff at Platt Hill Nursery today to learn more about choosing, building, and maintaining an indoor living wall that works for your space.
Platt Hill Nursery is Chicago’s premier garden center and nursery.