This post originally appeared on plantgasm.com.
Say you’ve got a wall that gets nice light — the bright, indirect light that plants love. You don’t want to hang a planter, since hanging planters are still stuck in the '70s design-wise, and you don't want to slide over a bookcase just to set a pot down. What do you do? Enter the Woolly Pocket.
I’d seen Woolly Pockets in action at Flora Grubb. They have an immense vertical garden full of all my favorite tropical plants. But it’s gigantic. Somehow it never occurred to me you could use just one until my visit this weekend, when I remembered this spot in my living room that gets nice indirect light but has no place for plants. So I got one!
Installing it was a breeze — just two screws with drywall mounts. Then I shoveled in some dirt and added a few plants. In this case, I put in a small Elephant Ear (Colocasia Esculenta Elepaio), a small African Mask, and a couple different Pothos Ivys (one’s a clipping from another plant in the house.) The idea is, the Elephant Ear and the African Mask will grow up, and the Pothos will grow down, filling out the wall.
The Woolly Pocket is made of recycled plastic bottles and has a rubber lining so hopefully it won’t leak.
Since the first one went so well, I decided to up the ante and attached six Woolly Pockets to my office wall and filled them with two dozen plants to make a vertical tropical garden. The installation was a breeze and, so far, all the plants are still happy. I love it.
If you're thinking about using a Woolly Pocket, here are tips based on my experience:
- The instructions say to put the holes in the wall 22 inches apart, but I found that my pockets stretched a bit. Err on the wide side, so the pockets don’t sag.
- Pick plants you know will be happy in that spot. Most of the plants I put in the pockets had lived in my office near that window for months, so I knew they’d be okay there. Once they’re in the pockets, they’re difficult to move.
- Go for variety. I tried to plant a few different plants in each pocket. Some will grow up, some will grow down. I figured out that having two ascenders or two descenders next to each other didn’t look good, so try to alternate.
- If you buy new plants for the pockets, get small plants, like 4-inch pots. If they’re larger than that, you may have to break them up into smaller pieces, which can kill more fragile plants.
- Water sparingly. Really, really sparingly. I’m a compulsive over-waterer, so this is the hardest part for me. The instructions say 3 cups per pocket, but even that will leak out the front if you water too fast. I’ve taken to misting them when I feel like watering. I think the plants like it, but I know it’s helping me.
- If you over-water and the pocket leaks, it may stay wet for a while. One trick I discovered is to put something in between the pocket and the wall (like a piece of styrofoam) for a day or so to increase air circulation. This helped the pocket dry out faster.
So far I’m absolutely loving my new vertical garden and can’t wait to see how it evolves.