Green walls are one of the most spectacular ways to plant flowers. It has an instant wow factor that inspires others to ask how to plant a green wall. They may try to implement it in any way in their gardens, however, the choice of plants you can use is not unlimited.
Enviromat sedum matting and Sedum blankets might seem like the perfect way to create a green wall, but other information has shown that it is not. Guest blogger from the Environmat research team Angela Lambert explains why, as well as how to plant a green wall.
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. The plants are either attached to an internal or external wall and can be used as a design feature in many different places, such as dining areas, flower shows or just as a centrepiece in your back garden. All of the plants within the green wall system can be selected based on your own preference, and what is capable, which we will speak about further on.
How to Plant a Green Wall?
There are various 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 geotextile 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 of variables are 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 at least 10 years ago when green-walling was in its infancy. The client had seen what Pierre Blanc was doing with geotextile-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 growing a green wall.
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, the sedum blanket wall 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 a 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 habits. 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. While beautiful, a longer-lasting and more permanent solution is our highly-rated sedum green roof.
If you want to learn more about caring for sedum matting or our sedum green roof range, then check out our helpful article here.
What to Use to Grow a Green Wall?
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. To keep up to date with Angela’s experimental green wall, use the contact form below to sign up for our vertical gardening newsletter. Be assured that Enviromat will never share your contact details with anyone else and if you don’t like the newsletter, you can unsubscribe at any time.