Green Wall Systems

Vertology Viridiwall Hydroponic System

Vertology Viridiwall Hydroponic Modular System

Green Walls have evolved over the last decade or so in two distinct factions; compost based and hydroponic, the latter meaning growing without a compost or soil medium. Green or living walls are distinct from green facades, which are generally climbers on a support frame or wire system. I have evolved several patented hydroponic living wall systems and worked with many other systems, in an install or repair capacity. My experience always leads me towards hydroponic rather than compost-based systems as these tend to provide better long-term conditions for the plants. Having said that, there still does not exist the perfect system and the health of a wall over time depends very much upon the maintenance and care given.

I am not a fan of felt-based hydroponics due to the inherent vulnerability due to the felt having little capacity to store moisture, so in the event of irrigation failure walls suffer very quickly. They also use 9-10 times more water than a mineral fibre based systems such as those available from my company Vertology Living Walls. All my conclusions are based on experience ( for example, I've previously installed an 800m sq. felt wall)!

Vertology Viriditrough Trailing Plant System

Vertology Viriditrough Trailing Plant Hydroponic System

Hydroponic Living Wall Pros

  • Stable growing media, non biodegradable
  • Zero cation exchange (no build up of salinity)
  • Nutrients supplied via irrigation
  • Hydroponic roots expend less energy
  • Less chance of soil-borne disease
  • Less change of weed seeds growing
  • Modular systems can be pre-grown vertically

Hydroponic Living Wall Cons

  • Some mediums can over-saturate
  • Not all plants will grow (eg bulbs)
  • Perceived as "unnatural"

Compost Living Wall Pros

  • Compost seems "natural"
  • Bulbs will grow
  • Good for DIY applications

Compost Living Wall Cons

  • Erosion and settlement of medium
  • Compost is a temporary-use medium
  • Compost builds up salinity over time
  • Very hard to re-wet dry composts
  • Compost becomes exhausted after a few years
  • Prone to weed seed germination
  • Modular systems pre-grown horizontally, or
  • Planted on-site which stresses plants