Enviromat sedum matting might seem like the perfect way to create a green wall, but trails have show that it is not.   Angela Lambert explains why:

What is a green wall?

A green wall, sometimes known as a living wall, a vertical garden or an eco wall is a wall that is completely covered with live plants.

A living green wall created using Mini-Garden modules

Conventional ways to make a green wall

There are various different ways of creating a green wall

  • Cladding a building with climbing plants such as ivy, wisteria or Russian vine
  • Training fruit trees or hedging plants to grow in front of a wall
  • Using geo-textile membranes, steel frames and hydroponics to grow the plants in
  • Using a modular vertical gardening system such as the Mini-Garden

Experimenting with green wall construction

One of the very best things about gardening and using plants is trying out new ideas. Plant combinations, colour schemes, soil types, recycled materials, different planters the list variables is endless and fascinating.

It’s great fun to experiment with green roofing and green walling too.

Very soon after Q Lawns started to grow Enviromat on our farm in Norfolk, we were asked to supply some sedum matting for a green wall project in London

This was a good 10 years ago when green walling was in it’s infancy. The client had seen what Pierre Blanc was doing with geo-textile based living walls and wanted to try something similar.

Cross section of Enviromat sedum matting showing reinforcing net

Enviromat is the only UK grown sedum matting that has a strong nylon net woven into the backing. This net means that Enviromat is strong enough to be hung vertically without all of the growing medium and the plants sliding off. In theory, that means that Enviromat can be used for green walling.

How does sedum mat perform on green walls?

It was interesting to watch the progress of this London green wall.

The Enviromat sedum mat was mounted onto a steel frame and hung vertically on the wall of a courtyard. There was a clever irrigation system in place to ensure that the plants had enough water and nutrients.

At first, it looked fabulous.Beautiful. The plants thrived and some of them even flowered.

After 6 months however, the sedum plants began to look weak and tired and the leaves started to break off. Was it lack of food? or the wrong food? not enough water? too much water?

In actual fact, the problem with using sedum matting to make a green wall was the plants’ growth habit. The sedums were trying to grow up towards the light and to do that they needed to grow at 90 degrees to the wall and then turn another 90 degrees to aim skywards. That created a bend in the plant. The bent stem was weak and broke easily meaning that the plant couldn’t access sunlight and therefore starved

What is the advice for using sedum matting vertically?

In a word, don’t

Sedum matting is fine for a temporary green wall – for example as an exhibit at a flower show. But it won’t last.

What to use for green walling

Angela Lambert from Enviromat is researching a modular green wall system called Mini-Garden. So far, the system looks as though it will be easy to install and very flexible as far as plant choices go.

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