How to maintain living walls

Aug 06, 2021    |    Green Walls

Living walls are a great addition to any building, commercial or residential. They come packed with a host of benefits including purifying the air, reducing ambient noise inside and out, increasing productivity and reducing sick days to name just a few.

Living walls come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and can be constructed to fit a wide range of spaces. Many office buildings are turning to living walls as an alternative to traditional partitions, helping to add to the green space inside the building and softening the work environment.

Living walls are also commonplace in large building foyers, creating a warm welcome for staff and visitors to the building. Outside, living walls are quickly becoming an integral part of many new and existing building projects, softening the landscape, and bringing lots of benefits to the environment.

Whilst living walls undoubtedly bring many benefits to the workplace, they do require looking after to enable them to thrive. Thankfully, with the right set-up, maintaining your living wall doesn’t need to be an arduous task and a little bit of care and attention will keep your living wall thriving all year round.

Here are some of the things you can do to maintain a healthy living wall.


Living walls are often referred to as vertical gardens and for a good reason, because that is exactly what they are – they are gardens that grow on walls and consequently require much the same sort of care as a normal garden.

As any good gardener knows one of the key ways of maintaining thriving plants is by ensuring the plants are watered correctly.

Most living walls are installed with an automated irrigation system that can be set on a timer to deliver the right amount of water depending on the time of year. From time to time, it is important to check that all aspects of the irrigation system are functioning including timers, filters, valves etc.

Smaller living walls may still rely on manual watering, and this should be carried out by someone with a passion for plants and an understanding of the amount of water plants need in different environments. Air conditioning, sunlight and the time of year can all have a significant impact on the amount of water plants in a vertical garden require so it’s important that regular checks are carried out regardless of whether it is an automated or manual system.


Another key element to maintaining a living wall is to provide food for the greenery. Plants that grow in the ground take nutrients from the soil. In a living wall, the lack of soil means you’ll need to add nutrients through fertiliser.

Irrigation systems often mix fertilizer right into the water to deliver nutrition to the plants. A living wall without an irrigation system requires you to apply the fertiliser on a regular basis. Like irrigation, the specific amount, type and frequency of fertiliser application depends on the requirements of the plants growing on the wall.


This is not always a consideration when installing a living wall, however, access for maintenance is required on a regular basis so it is important that the vertical garden installation allows for easy access.

Commonly, especially in office spaces, living walls are installed and then desks and other office equipment is set up close to the wall. This can make access difficult and can lead to the need to move desks and other heavy equipment every time maintenance is required.


No living wall plant is static. As a living organism, it is subject to the same laws of nature that we are and consequently the plants in your vertical garden will need attention.

Check for leaf damage, disease, dieback, and any dead foliage. This will give you some idea as to the health of the plants. Some weeding may be necessary for external plants and some interior plants may also require dusting.

Choosing the right plants is the first step to controlling the amount of input that will be required to maintain your living wall. Choose plants that are disease resistant and plants that are known to thrive in the conditions they are likely to experience in the selected location.

Many people choose to grow herbs or vegetables in their living wall which is a great way to grow your own produce if you have a limited amount of outdoor space. It is important to harvest these crops regularly to avoid them becoming overgrown or going rotten.

One final thing to monitor is the growth of your plants to ensure they don’t outgrow the pots they are being grown in. You may need to move plants around from time to time, especially those that may need more or less water depending on where they sit within the wall and how much water they get, especially when using an automated system.


An important part of the irrigation system and watering of your plants is drainage. Whether the living wall is indoors or outdoors it is important to check that there is no water collection building up as a result of clogged drainage. Check for organic matter such as dead leaves, soil, and mud and also check for public litter, which can also build up over time.


Plants on a living wall require specific light conditions. Some require shade others direct sunlight. Getting this right at the start of the installation is essential and consulting a company that specialises in vertical gardens can save an awful lot of time and money. At SRS our experienced team of horticulturalists will provide all the expert advice to create a living wall that is perfectly suited to the light levels available.

Maintenance Schedule

If you already have a living wall installation or you are considering one at your home or place of work, here is a rough idea of the maintenance schedule that you need to keep up in order to maintain a healthy living wall:


  • Observe and notice wilting or brown tip leaves.
  • If you notice an issue, take immediate action to fix the situation.


  • Check for dead leaves and remove them.
  • Make note of soil moisture and make slight adjustments if necessary.
  • Spray with essential oil and detergent mixture. Soak the leaves and the felt material.


  • In spring and summer months only. Fertilise. Follow the relevant instructions for your automated system or if you are manually fertilising, follow the instructions specific to the plants on your living wall.
  • For the recirculating unit. Check water level and top off.

Every 6 months

  • Change water in the recirculating tank. Remove the water from the tank. Pour away used water. Refill the tank with clean water.


  • Change out batteries for irrigation timer.
  • Check and clean filters.

As you can see, little and often is the key to maintaining your living wall. In the workplace, collect a list of the names of people who are passionate about plants and gardening and create a rotor for the ongoing maintenance of the living wall, so the responsibility doesn’t fall on one person’s shoulders.