Question: what plants to put in a vertical garden?
Hi, I am a graduating student in Techniques for Landscape Architecture; I am preparing my thesis and the theme would be a sort of project proposal to mask the facade of a residential building in Genoa and I would have thought of using vertical green. I contact you for advice about it if possible. For example, I would like to know if it is possible to apply vertical green to a building of 6/7 floors and above all on a wall facing North / East (ie almost always in the shade) and in a windy area, so which plant species could be applied. Thanks for your attention. Best regards, Nicolò
Answer: vertical gardens
the vertical gardens lend themselves to being used in any possible condition, even the most particular and not favorable for the development of plants; in fact the survival of a vertical garden is closely linked to the choice of the plants to be included in the structures that constitute it: there are vertical gardens more suited to the house by the sea, and gardens to be positioned only on a fresh and damp wall.
Even the dimensions of the vertical garden are to your liking, everything depends on economic availability and on what is considered appropriate to spend in terms of time for the maintenance of the garden itself.
On a large house, several stories high, it is certainly advisable to place a vertical garden consisting of very low maintenance plants, which can even be satisfied with the water present in the air or which falls naturally with the weather; positioning in a very sunny and very windy area makes the characteristics of small plants even more important, as they will be positioned in little direct sunlight, and therefore in a position that is also quite cold, but the wind will dry them, and therefore plants are needed that also for this reason they need little or little watering.
The choice is varied, since there are vertical gardens suitable for every place, even from inside.
Lately, vertical gardens have also been prepared with particular species of mosses and lichens, which in practice survive everywhere, even in pitch darkness, without great water requirements; certainly it is not a vertical flowered garden, but some lichens have a very pleasant appearance, even if placed on a large facade.
Grass vertical gardens are also widespread, the choice in your case is vast, given that in Genoa many grass species survive (Poa, Lolium, cynodon dactylon, zoysia, festuca), these are ground cover plants, which therefore do not they never become so high that they worry about the wind, and the maintenance is quite low.
The north-east positioning guarantees an acceptable brightness, and therefore instead of grass you can think of using a mix of ferns with small flowering plants, try looking at an admirable example of vertical garden, the one designed by Patrick Blanc, for the CaixaForum of Madrid, even there it is a huge wall, and the design went on to study not only the most suitable plants, but also the shape they would have obtained once installed, producing a sort of garden / painting, on a canvas of colossal dimensions.
The flowering plants that are used for vertical gardens in general do not suffer excessively from the wind, as small ground cover plants are used, which do not have a great height development; for example verbene, sedum, heuchere, and small perennial flowering plants such as phlox, aubrieta are used; these plants, mixed here and there among the tufts of grass, will develop mainly in spring and summer, while the grass will keep the green garden throughout the year. Also in this case I suggest an example to go and see live: the Fiordaliso shopping center in Rozzano; certainly the vertical garden in this case is well exposed to the sun, but most of the plants you see survive even without many hours of direct sunlight.