7 Vertical Planter Ideas

Vertical planters are the best way to maximize the number of plants you can grow in a small space and if you choose the right layout, you'll be able to care for herbs, vegetables and flowers more efficiently and produce a greater yield. These seven vertical planter ideas will get you started on the path toward a beautifully lush garden of any size.

1. Hanging Pots

Vertical hanging pots are ideal for keeping plants from becoming too crowded in a small space. These may be the solution for you if you have a limited number of plants you want to grow and include plants that tend to shade their neighbors, like sunflowers or corn.

Hanging pots are best for plants that don't grow very tall or require much horizontal space for root systems, such as herbs. Tomatoes, beans and other plants that need support are probably better off in pyramid gardens, stair gardens or vertical pallet trays.

2. Standard Trellis

If you grow vining vegetables, a standard trellis is a must-have because it allows you a larger (and easier to access) harvest. The key to successfully using a trellis is to place it where it won't steal the sun from the rest of your garden. Growing up rather than out helps you save valuable real estate in the garden as well. Trellises are ideal for vining plants like sugar snap peas, pole beans, tomatoes and several flowers, including moonflowers, bougainvillea and clematis. Some plants, like cucumbers, use tendrils to climb lattice on a trellis, while others like pole beans twine around the poles of a trellis.

3. Pallet Trays

Vertical pallet tray gardens are different from standard pallet gardens, which lie flat on the ground or a raised surface. These have built-in trays between the slats (you can use a simple 2 x 4 to create a bottom tray), similar to what you'd see in a pyramid or stair garden, where you can plant rows of vegetables or flowers. You'll need a pallet, plywood, a hammer, nails and a staple gun. You can also use landscaping cloth to hold the soil where it needs to be.

Add a piece of plywood, perpendicular to each slat in the pallet, to create a tray. Line it with landscaping cloth (and staple the cloth in place), fill with soil and plant.

4. Recycled Bottles

Using recycled plastic bottles - preferably BPA-free - and a suspension system, you can line a wall with herbs and small plants. To create your hanging bottle garden, place a bottle on its side and cut a rectangular opening in it. Use a nail to poke three to four small drainage holes opposite the rectangular opening. Run twine or fishing line through the rectangular hole and one of the drainage holes and tie a knot in it to hold it secure; tie another line of equal length around the bottle's neck. Tie the two pieces together and hang the knot from a hook, fill the bottle with soil and plant.

5. Stair Garden

You can recycle part of an old staircase into a stair garden, or you can build one from the ground up. Each stair step serves as a landing for plants and the whole system provides excellent drainage and allows each tier to get enough sunlight. These types of planters are ideal for placing up against the side of your house, but remember: the taller it is, the more horizontal space it will take up.

6. Gutters

Repurpose old gutter sections to create a window-box-style vertical garden. By affixing lengths of gutter along your exterior walls, you can grow several small plants in rows. Make sure the ends are capped off so you don't lose soil (you can use landscaping cloth or wood blocks) and poke small drainage holes at the lowest point of each section of gutter to keep your plants healthy. Leave at least eight inches of space between vertical rows to make sure your plants get enough sunlight. Leave more if you're growing tall vegetables or blossoms.

7. Succulent Wall Garden

A succulent wall garden can be the perfect piece of indoor art. Because succulents require very little care and maintenance outside the occasional spritzing with fresh water, these living, framed gardens are ideal for living rooms, bathrooms and more. You can purchase a pre-made frame or create your own with wire mesh over a box. It takes between four and 12 weeks for the plants to become securely rooted, but once they've taken hold, you can hang the planter on the wall. Take it down when the soil becomes too dry - about every seven to ten days - and wait for it to drain fully before you hang it up again.

With the right tools, you can create the perfect vertical gardening space indoors or outdoors. As long as you care for your plants properly and provide them with enough soil, water and sunlight, they'll grow beautifully.

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