Foliage walls (or living walls) are fast becoming one of the most popular gardening trends both in residential and commercial situations. Not only do they bring obvious environmental benefits, but they can also be beautifully constructed and bring a harmonious feel to a space.
With summer approaching we thought we’d explore some of the best plants that you can feature on your own wonderful foliage wall.
1. Aeschynanthus – Lipstick Plant
The Aeschynanthus is also known as the lipstick plant because of its rich red lipstick-shaped flowers. Traditionally native to Malaysia, they bring a real tropical vibe to a living wall with its shiny foliage and colour which is very refreshing. With its glorious cascading vines, it’s been a popular choice as a hanging basket plant for years and its suitability for foliage walls is just as strong. This evergreen perennial will flower nicely in the summer with a nominal amount of care and attention.
If you’ve heard of Bacopa it’s probably been because of its use as a natural remedy for stress relief but it also makes a highly appropriate addition to a living wall. It’s a plant that loves the sun and produces an abundance of colourful flowers that will last the whole summer. Although they are quite a small and diminutive plant, they are extremely vigorous and will withstand all the rigours of a living wall setting. Their flowers come in shades of white, pink, lavender and blue and are very easy on the eye.
Plants aren’t the only things you can include on a foliage wall with some vegetables and fruits also serving as great choices. There are a whole host of different beans you can choose to include with climbing beans and runner beans doing especially well in the warmth of summer. Beans also love full sun making it another great summer selection and the satisfaction of being able to harvest a great crop from your living wall won’t disappoint.
4 Fuchsia procumbens – Creeping fuchsia
A great New Zealand native species to consider for your foliage wall is the fuchsia procumbens (creeping fuchsia). They are naturally found in the upper half of the North Island sprawling over rocks and across the ground. They flower in the summer with incredibly unique buds with shades of yellow, purple and red. They also produce their own red berries as well. They have a high tolerance to sun exposure and can even survive in coastal conditions if you’re lucky enough to live by the sea.
Another increasingly popular (and edible) choice for a foliage wall are herbs. As any culinary expert will tell you, herbs can bring out the flavour in foods like no other. They also characteristically tend to be extremely hardy and easy to grow. A sure-fire winner to start with is mint which is versatile, strong and wonderfully fragrant. Rosemary and thyme are also great choices and will complement your lamb and chicken dishes well. If you’d like some colour with your herbs you can’t look past lavender and marigolds.
6. Impatiens – Busy Lizzies
If you’re planning to put together a sizeable living wall with a bit of space to cover then we suggest a few impatiens would be a good bet. Impatiens will give you a carpet-like colouring with some colourful shades to choose from (whites, pinks, magentas, reds etc). They prefer warm environments and the newer hybrids especially love the sun. Extremely resilient flowers, you can plant them and pretty much just let them do their thing.
7. Peperomias – Radiator plants
Peperomias or radiator plants (sometimes known as rubber plants) have been a favourite household plant for many years. It is an extremely low maintenance evergreen plant known for its glossy leaves. There are over 1,000+ species of peperomias in existence which display some interesting variations of leaf patterns. Their sheen will add a lovely natural brightness to your wall and they also retain quite a bit of water in their leaves so you won’t need to water them as regularly.
For colour like no other, you can’t go past petunias. These expressive flowers come in an almost infinite variety of colours and shades – a trait that has made them among the most popular flowers in the world. They absolutely thrive in the sun and because of it are considered one of the most stunning summer flowering plants there are. Living wall ‘artists’ love to create patterns and pictures utilising different varieties of petunia and if you’ve got a creative eye then that’s definitely an option too.
The sempervivum is our chosen succulent to make this list which, like many on this list, are growing in popularity for this purpose. Naturally found between rocks, this fact alone tells you how hardy a species it is. They are right at home in a vertical garden and its spiral patterned appearance has its own unique mesmerising quality. Planted well, they can certainly create a great focal and talking point for your wall.
Perhaps the most pleasing inclusion on this list is strawberries, a fruit that is the ultimate crowd-pleaser and one that is great for getting your kids interested in your living wall (and gardening) as well. As you probably already know, strawberries are a great summer fruit with your first crop arriving in November going right through until January. People have come up with all sorts of ways to grow them in a vertical arrangement (using PVC pipes, buckets, pallets, gutters and more) showing just how fun it can be. They’ll take a bit more love and care with regular watering and nourishment required but the reward is well worth it.
Some fantastic choices for your foliage wall this summer
As you can see, there are some excellent choices for your next foliage wall project this summer. Whether it’s a statement piece full of petunias or an edible feature full of your favourite veg, fruits and herbs – you’ll be able to create something to keep you smiling over the summer.