Can’t find that perfect piece of artwork for your walls? Why not try some plants?

Vertical gardens, also known as living walls, pack a dramatic one-two punch in your home. From a design aesthetic, you can design a living piece of artwork (as large or as small as you want), with whatever plants and colors suit your fancy. For a healthy home, perhaps nothing can purify your indoor air quite like a living wall.  Plus, what’s more fun than an interactive piece of artwork!

Houseplants have been well documented in their uncanny ability to filter and remove toxins that can stealthily accumulate in your indoor air. The research started when astronauts needed to live in the space station Skylab, clearly without operable windows for letting in fresh air! NASA’s Dr. B.C. Wolverton found that common houseplants were excellent air scrubbers, removing 107 everyday toxins.

No green thumb? No problem!

Before you start complaining that you don’t have a green thumb, though, consider this – some of the most effective plants to purify the air are also some of the hardest to kill. Low light, lack of water, and no fertilizer are not going to necessarily be a death knell to the plants that you’d want to use in a living wall.

Just as important as your physical health, is your mental health, too. Houseplants have been known to increase happiness, as well as reduce stress and anxiety based on a myriad of scientific studies.

So, why not gather a grouping of these indestructible plants and add them to your wall?

  • A variety of modular systems can be purchased to create vertical gardens. Most require that you buy the plants on your own at a local nursery.
  • If you’re concerned about choosing the right types of plants, don’t be.
  • Ask a gardener or your extension agency what plants will do well in a vertical garden indoors or outdoors.
  • Most greenery sold as houseplants will suffice, as do succulents. Or consult Dr. Wolverton’s book, How to Grow Fresh Air.
Vertical gardens
Vertical Succulents. Image courtesy of FarOutFlora.

Options, options and more options

Wooly Pocket uses 100% recycled plastics to create a variety of vertical gardening and living wall systems that can be used indoors and outdoors. The molded plastic or soft sided felt pouches attach to a wall or even over a fence or railing for a swath of green that is sure to brighten your home.

Bambeco creates modular systems from recycled plastic and reclaimed wood, while My Pots and Planters has a variety of art pieces ready for you to add plants, including wine crate frames and ones with a chalkboard surround for jotting down names of plants used in a vertical kitchen herb garden.

Calling all DIYers

Of course, it is easy to create your own vertical gardening system, too. All you really need is a frame, some plastic and a way to keep the plants from falling out of the frame. Decoist shows a variety of DIY living walls that use materials such as recycled pallets, chicken wire, or a wooden crate for stunning, unique works of beauty.

Artwork doesn’t have to “just be.”  Create a living canvas in your home with a vertical garden.

Feature image courtesy of FarOutFlora

By Kimberly Button

Kimberly Button is the author of The Everything Guide to a Healthy Home and the Editor-in-Chief of GetGreenBeWell , featuring modern, sane ideas for living a non-toxic life. A professional journalist for nearly two decades, Button has written for magazines such as Martha Stewart's Whole Living, American Airlines, AAA, Sierra, National Geographic Traveler, and Vegetarian Times. Visit for more information.