How to Choose Plants for Living Walls

Chris Bribach, Plants On Walls. Fern Well. Florafelt Vertical Garden Planters.
Florafelt Pocket Panels living wall for a San Francisco window well.

The Just Right Plant for the Just Right Environment

Outdoor Gardens

As all green thumbs know that plants can only thrive in their optimal environment. For example, most vegetables and herbs require full-sun and hot summers to thrive and produce food. Succulents like only a little water and grow best with part sun. Ferns do best in shady areas, constantly moist roots, and cool nights.

Indoor Gardens

Indoor plants commonly known as ‘House Plants’ are best suited for human habitats. Most of which are native to the shady floors of tropical rain-forests. Ideally, this is also the same 70 degree environment where humans thrive. So it’s only natural that we would want to fill our lives with plants.

For indoor gardens, the Philodendron family is the most hardy. There are many colors of foliage with bold stems and roots. They can drape down or reach upward. And most can be transplanted from cuttings which means you can literally spread your garden around.

For walls across from windows or if there is only artificial light available we recommend using high intensity LED spots or fluorescent flood lights. Check Lighting Guide in our Guides section for more information.

Low Light Tropical Indoor Plants

Low light tropical plants usually need a minimum of 350 foot candles. Use a light meter to insure a minimum 350 foot candles falls on all the plants. The more you can provide the more healthy the plants will be, up to a reasonable level.


Aglaonema Maria

Ficus Decora

Maranta Red

Philodendron Brazil

Philodendron Congo Green

Philodendron Cordatum

Philodendron Split-leaf

Schefflera Arboricola

Bright Light Tropical Indoor Plants

Indirect natural light can provide ample illumination for Indoor locations across from a bank of southern windows or a skylight. 700 foot candles will keep these indoor plants happy. Or an array of LED spot lights can provide adequate illumination.

Calathea Lancifolia

Calathea Burle Marx

Philodendron Prince-of-Orange

Aglaonema Mystic Marble

Orchid Vanilla Bean

Aechmea Del Mar

Ficus Sylvie

Palm Areca

Additional Bright Light Tropical Indoor Plants

Aglaonema Gemini, Aglaonema Juliette, Aglaonema Maria, Bromeliads, Calathea Lancifolia, Ficus Belize, Ficus Sylvie, Ivy, Maranta Red Pole, Philodendron Brazil, Philodendron Congo Rojo, Philodendron Cordatum, Philodendron Moonlight, Philodendron Prince-of-Orange, Schefflera Arboricola Gold Finger, Schefflera Arboricola Mini, Schefflera Arboricola Variegata, Spathiphyllum Dario, Spathiphyllum Domino, Spathiphyllum Liana, Spathiphyllum Power Petite, Spathiphyllum Star Dust, Spathiphyllum Sweet Pablo and many more.


Nothing is more delightful than a wall of cascading ferns. They love bright indirect light 700 foot candles but typically prefer shade to part shade conditions. They are home to the Pacific Northwest where they are constantly in moisture and they prefer cool evenings with slight breezes. Many ferns will also do great mixed in with a bright light tropical indoor plant collection.

Maidenhair Fern

Bear Paw Fern

Kangaroo Paw Fern

Blechnum Silver-Lady Fern

Bird Nest Fern

Button Fern

Fern Pteris

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