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Don't be lazy and leave your living wall to the elements. Follow our top maintenance tips here.

Table of Contents

5 Key Considerations for Living Wall Maintenance

1. Is your Living Wall indoors or outdoors?

If your living wall is indoor you’re going to want to pay close attention to the quality and efficacy of your wall and flooring a standalone wooden board fitted to the wall is never a bad idea – to prevent damp, mould and leakage issues

It makes sense to keep the living wall as close to a door to the outside world as possible

If your green wall is outdoors then damp and mould are less of an issue. But you still don’t want to ruin your wall’s integrity, so coat your wall in waterproof paint beforehand.

2. Green Wall Irrigation

You don’t have to use an irrigation system.

The chances are if you’ve built a smaller DIY green wall project you won’t need an irrigation system and you can just water the plants by hand.

But if you use an irrigation system then you must – periodically – check the timers, valves, filters and individual nozzles are all working. Especially when you go on holiday.

3. Living Wall Drainage

It’s important to check that there’s no water collection building up because the drainage system is clogged.

Typically dead leaves, soil and mud can build up over time and prevent sufficient drainage, waterlogging the plants and potentially creating optimal conditions for damp.

So worth inspecting the drainage every month

4. Living Wall Plants

Close up of succulent plants
Succulents are incredibly hardy, year-round flower-ers

Cheap, low maintenance plants like sedums, ferns and succulents need almost no maintenance. And because they’re cheap if a few die it isn’t going to increase the cost of your living wall

More expensive plants like premium perennials or larger, tropical plants need more maintenance because they’re less hardy and, frankly, more expensive to replace.

And of course you’ll need to water the plants – some will need it every few days as a minimum, others could survive for weeks without additional water.

And plants will need trimming – particularly indoor ones.  

5. Availability of Sunlight

Modular green wall in the sun with shadows
The aspect of your wall - and shade - determines the amount of sunlight the plants will get

Obviously the amount of available sunlight will determine how much your wall will grow, in what direction it will grow and whether you need supplemental lighting. 

If your wall is indoors and you rely on light from the window, then this will dictate what direction your plants will grow. 

Top 6 Tips for Living Wall Maintenance

Now of course if you don’t have an irrigation system and you’re just watering the plants (absolutely fine), then you need to make sure YOU’RE functioning properly.

The last thing you want is for your irrigation system to break – you or the machine – so your living wall dies.

Cleaning your drainage system will help prevent unwanted leakage and stop your plants getting waterlogged.

Plants grow towards the sun – or supplementary lighting if there isn’t enough sunlight indoors.

As such they can grow at odd angles and become too cumbersome, which will also add weight to the wall.

Make sure you trim your plant systems – roots and all – consistently. This could be as often as every few weeks to 3-4 times a year.

This is as simple as pushing your index finger into the soil to find out it’s moisture level. It should be moist – not waterlogged, boggy or dry.

Obviously in dryer periods you’ll need to increase the amount of water and if you’re using an irrigation system you’ll need to fine tune the settings. 

Perennial plants will die in colder climates – obviously they’ll come back, but you can manage their lifecycles more efficiently and keep a colourful wall (almost) all year round. 

When grown in wall containers perennial plants have a much shorter life expectancy – and in severe winters you could lose a lot of them.

They’ll still need watering in the colder climates – don’t just rely on rainfall as it’ll only cover the top few plants. And their winter survival is greatly improved if you don’t trim them as their insulation is vastly improved, keeping the frost from the proverbial door.

Annual plants – sedums or succulents – could need replanting at the beginning of each growing system. You’ll need to prune them more significantly in the summer months. 

Almost any plant – perennial, annual or otherwise – should be trimmed if it outgrows its desired allotment of space. 

Nobody likes weeds. Especially in containers where you’re limited by space and – with low nutrient soil – your plants need as many essential nutrients as they can get to thrive. 

Living Wall Maintenance FAQs

DIY living walls are generally pretty easy to maintain. Obviously it depends on the type of climate you’re in, the type of plants you use, the soil quality etc.

But on the whole, succulent or hardy plant based green walls with a few perennials or tropical plants just need trimming, watering, weeding and irrigating.

Yes – or at least artificial light – in order to photosynthesise. Plants grow towards the sun, so make sure indoor green walls face an angle that doesn’t cause the plants to grow horizontally.

Yes – living wall needs watering.

If you have an irrigation system setup then you won’t need to worry about it – just regular checks the system itself is functioning properly.

The amount of water also varies based on the types of plants you’re using – sedums don’t need much, tropicals and vegetables will need significantly more – the amount of rainfall you get, and the overall climate.

This depends on what types of plants you use and the climate.

Sedums and succulents don’t need much watering – like most hardy plants. Vegetables obviously have much larger requirements and warmer summer periods need a steadier stream of irrigation. Less water is required in the colder months.

Ultimately in the summer you should be watering every 2-3 days to keep the soil moist, but don’t overdo it. Slightly less in the winter months.

Plants need a dark period to rest and prevent metabolic fatigue. Grow lights are typically run for 12 – 16 hours per day – almost like your own sleep cycle. It should mimic day / night patterns.

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