Design Considerations for Living Walls

Florafelt Pro System Vertical Garden by Brandon Pruett, Living Green Design. Emeryville Marketplace Living Wall.
Florafelt Pro System Vertical Garden by Brandon Pruett, Living Green Design. Emeryville Marketplace Living Wall.

Natural Light

Bright indirect light from a bank of windows is an indoor tropical favorite. The plants will reach for the light and align their leaves to the source, making a perfect display. Direct light may cause burning, but can be workable if it is limited to a few hours a day.

Florafelt LED Light Kit 8-foot 12 lights with bracket

Indoor Lighting

Without bright windows, existing room light provides the minimal illumination for growing plants, so you may want to add a track lighting system. Halogen bulbs project a wide spectrum of light, which makes it ideal for any number of different plans. Metal halide and fluorescent lights are also excellent. New LED lights may also work for some situations. Indoor tropicals that are native to the forest floor are ideal for low artificial lighting.

Florafelt 12-pocket vertical garden by Chris and Gary in San Francisco
Florafelt 12-pocket vertical garden by Chris and Gary in San Francisco


A deck with full day of sun is perfect for growing herbs and vegetables, flowers and succulents. Partial sun is great for lettuce or ferns and most other plants. Ferns also do well on shady walls.

Hydrofarm Garden Light Meter.

Light Meter

Consider a light meter as part of your tool kit. They are easy and inexpensive. Ambient light is measured in Foot Candles. Indoor tropical plants need a minimum of 300 foot candles to thrive. Direct sun measures in at 10,000 foot candles and will burn most indoor plants, but succulents, herbs and vegetables require a full day of direct sun to thrive. Test the area you want to plant and add supplemental lighting or shade if necessary. Explore the internet to learn more about which plants you should choose for your installation.

A rain gutter at the base neatly collects water at the base of the living wall.


Florafelt planters are intended for water-safe areas. Generally, water will remain within the unit, but there is always the chance for some dripping. If you intend to use the unit indoors on wood floors or carpeting, use extra caution and keep watch during pump operation. Use common sense when placing the unit and clean up occasional plant mess or moisture leakage.

Florafelt Pocket Panel drip irrigation.

Regular Watering

Daily watering, along the top row only, is normally required when using Florafelt planters. For most situations, we recommend connecting the planters to an automatic irrigation system. A simple drip tube across the top, set to water twice daily, will provide adequate moisture for most situations. Recirculating systems are more water efficient, with a tank, pump and timers set to run once-a-day for 30 minutes for most situations.

Maxsea seaweed based fertilizer.


Light fertilizing is preferred for vertical gardens. We recommend the use of an organic based fertilizer such as Maxsea to minimize salt buildup and promote active microbiology within the soil and felt. Fertilizer can be added manually or by use of an injector in your irrigation system. For recirculating systems simply add fertilizer when you top off the water tanks.

Lindsey Graves grows conifers in the Florafelt Pro System.

Winter Exposure

Most plants will go dormant in the winter. Planted in the ground, they are protected from extreme freezing temperatures. In walls, as with planters, only certain rugged natives will survive a hard freeze. Consult with a landscaping professional in your area for advice on specific plants that can make it through winter.

Florafelt Pockets Living Wall for Angie's Garden Living Wall at Cleveland Clinic
Florafelt Pockets Living Wall for Angie’s Garden Living Wall at Cleveland Clinic

Seasonal Plantings

Flowering annuals are an excellent choice for seasonal plantings. In early spring, Florafelt pockets can be planted with small starts, seeds and cuttings for a dazzling display of color all summer long. When growing season has ended, the Root Wrapped plants can be removed, cleaned and stored for next year, along with the lightweight panels.

Florafelt Pro System living wall vertical farm at Makers Faire 2015.

Children and Pets

All gardens are at risk to the terrors of youth and fauna. Use caution, as some plants are toxic. Florafelt can be damaged by claws, teeth, and beaks. The Recirc unit can tip if it is destabilized by climbing children or jumping pets. Use common sense and be selective about placement.

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