How to grow up? Here’s a quick comparison of 3 vertical planters
How do you get that look?… You may wonder when browsing Pinterest for vertical planter ideas. Or anything related to planters on Pinterest these days – as it seems a new vertical planter / green wall idea pops up every minute, often smartly using recycled products (search for rain gutters, converted shoe racks or pop bottle planters). While DIY is great (we’ve tried and tested several in our solar greenhouse), to go a step up there are also specific planters meant for walls. More expensive, they give a polished look that may be better suited for an indoor wall. They also incorporate easy watering systems and provide more dense-growing with space-efficient planters — thus creating a dense, lush wall of green. And finally, they’re very easy to put up — not much DIY here (here’s a video of Josh putting in the gSky system).
Which way to go? Here are three systems currently on the market and their pros and cons.
Advantages: ‘self-watering’ — they have a built in reservoir at the bottom from which the roots can uptake water. They’re modular – can purchase the planters individually and combine in any arrangement – and easy to install.
Disadvantages: plants are planted directly in the planter which makes removing/switching out old plants more difficult (as compared to the systems below in which plants are potted individually).
Their Living Wall Planter is $27 for a 13” x 18” planter. After looking around at simpler wall planters at the garden or hardware store, this seems to be a very reasonable cost. In comparison, the systems below are easily 3-5 times more expensive on a sq. ft. basis.
Advantages: Self-watering – each planter drains into one another, water can collect in the bottom forming a reservoir. Easy to install (hang on the wall).
Disadvantages: limited options for smaller systems – really only 3 available small-scale systems. Larger scale systems – they have a 7’ high tower – are more complicated to buy, much more advanced in terms of systems and understandably much more expensive (over $1,000.)
Seem to be expensive given the amount of growing space. Their framed planters range between $98 and $149 for 1-3 sq. ft. However they do include beautiful wood frames for a finished look that would be great indoors.
Advantages: automated watering; many options for the home gardener. Also include frames for a polished indoor or outdoor look
Disadvantages: you’ll have a hole in your pocket after purchasing one
Cost: Very high
$945 for a 4’ x 4’ framed unit, and that’s the “DIY” version. They have a few models, however most seem to be in the same ballpark—about $50-60 per sq. ft. of growing space.
In sum, the wooly planter seems to be the best buy for your money. It combines many of the advantages of the others – self-watering, and easy to install (just hang on the wall) – in an economical system. The main draw back – of planting directly into the planters for limited flexibility can be worked around by using transplants. We haven’t installed one of these yet, but will soon in the mobile greenhouse.
Come across a growing system you’d like to know more about? Let me know! Lindsey@ceresgs.com