Beginners Guide to Florida Vertical Gardening

Last Updated on September 28, 2022 by Jason Nguyen

Vertical gardens are a fantastic way to add a bit of aesthetic to your garden while not sacrificing much space. However, there’s a lot to consider before starting a vertical garden, and creating one without research can end badly. For example, certain plants require different kinds of support to grow correctly. So, without knowing what you’re going into, you can ruin your garden before even starting it.

Thankfully, vertical gardens allow for a lot of flexibility and creativity, which means that the research required is relatively minimal. So, to help you get started properly, we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to Florida vertical gardening, which should be plenty to get you started.

Planning your vertical garden

Before you start your garden, you need to plan it out properly. As we already mentioned, certain plants require specific conditions, such as support and access to sunlight, to thrive. Some plants even, on the other hand, need shade in order to grow.

With all of this in mind, deciding which types of plants, you want in your garden before starting to build it is incredibly important. Remember to look into the needs of every plant you want to add and make sure they’re met.

Additionally, if you’re planning on growing plants with produce, remember that they can get quite heavy and usually require structural support. Tomato plants are a very common example, as they can get ruined entirely without help. Additionally, you might want to consider pollinator-friendly plants you can grow in your garden. They are both beautiful and serve a function, so they’re never a bad call.

plants sorted on table

Planning out your Florida vertical garden is very important in the long term.

Remember to start small

One essential tip for beginners in Florida vertical gardening is to take it slow. Overwhelming yourself with a garden that’s too large is a recipe for disaster. So, take your time and consider starting with only one or two planters and expanding over time. This approach allows you to plan your garden over time instead of trying to keep track of too many things while planning.

After all, it’s always better to add things as they come than try to add too many things and end up ruining them. Yes, this method does take a lot of time and patience, but beginners should always be more cautious when starting their gardens. You should worry about keeping all of your plants alive before adding more of them. As long as you avoid complicating your setup too much, you’ll be just fine.

Think about the plants you’ll grow

Do you want your garden to be purely aesthetic, functional, or both? Are you going to have climbing plants on trellises and arches or not? Do you intend to have only small plants or larger ones as well? These are all very important questions to ask yourself when planning out your garden.

Planning out the layout for your vertical garden is important, yes, but knowing exactly which plants you’re going to plant is even more important. For example, planning a massive arch over your garden entrance is all well and good, but it’s pointless if you don’t intend to have any climbing plants.

So, ideally, before you plan the layout, make a list of all the plants you intend to grow. Then, make a layout based on the space and exposure to sunlight each plant needs. Also, experts from note that you should think about storing your tools.

sorted vegetables

Especially when planting vegetables, planning ahead for the plants you’ll grow is essential.

Think about the exact layout

The second part of planning for successful Florida vertical gardening is the precise layout. For example, you need to consider that tall structures put in the wrong place can shade the rest of the garden. That said, if you plan on growing plants that need shade, this isn’t a bad thing.

Additionally, do you plan to use vertical wall pockets, standing planters, or both? Remember, they also need to be arranged in a way that doesn’t cause problems for you in any way. Certain arrangements may look pretty, but they might not be worth it if they restrict access to your garden.

So, to recap: you want to make sure the plants are getting enough sunlight and not shading other plants which need sun while also not getting in the way. It might sound complicated, but if you take your time and plan thoroughly, you won’t run into any issues.

Consider the style of your garden

Do you already have a regular garden, or have you done landscaping in a specific style? If yes, consider making your vertical garden fit the style. After all, vertical supports are the most common way to start a vertical garden.

And these vertical supports can easily fit anywhere without taking up a lot of space. If your existing garden is formal, then informal structures such as twig teepees might not fit too well.

On the other hand, if your garden is informal, maybe avoid things such as obelisks and arbors. All in all, try not to mismatch styles, and you should be fine to do your thing. Additionally, remember to think about the roads leading through your garden. Consider some beautiful DIY garden paths and walkway ideas you could fit into your garden. Plants aren’t the only thing that needs to be beautiful.

putting plants in pots

Not all plants and structures fit in every garden.

The scale and proportion of your garden

Another tip in the beginner’s guide to Florida vertical gardening, which goes hand in hand with planning out the exact plants in your garden, is to remember the scale and proportion of both the garden and the plants. Naturally, different plants grow to different sizes, and this is something you need to think about.

After all, if your plants outgrow their planters, they have to be moved to bigger ones anyway. If they aren’t, they will likely wither. This also applies to the size of the vertical garden as well, of course, as plants that are too big are going to dominate small spaces and get in the way.

Space management is a pretty big part of vertical gardening. On the other hand, plants that are too small can look rather awkward in a space that is too large for them, so learn how big plants get before planting.

Remember to get all of the required tools

Gardening needs a lot of tools, and vertical gardens aren’t any different in this sense. Before you start, ensure you have the tools you need to properly care for your plants. A watering can, pruning shears, a trowel, and so on.

After all, every plant has unique needs, especially vegetables, which you can’t take care of without tools. As such, it’s imperative to have all of the necessary tools on hand which is required for gardening before planting the first seeds.

Additionally, thinking ahead about storing your tools and other items (such as spare seeds) is a good idea. Generally, renting a storage unit for excess items is the easiest solution. But, you’ll also have to consider storing your produce if you plan to grow vegetables in your garden. Being prepared when it comes to this is vital.

Are the plants going to be temporary or permanent?

One thing which could throw a wrench into planning is if you plan on having certain plants temporarily. If you’re planning on permanently keeping the same plants in your garden, you need to be very careful with the layout of your vertical garden. However, the layout isn’t as crucial if you’re changing which plants are in your vertical garden from time to time.

After all, changing the layout can be pretty easy when changing the plants in your garden. Besides the plants, remember that specific structures are much better fit to be permanent. An arbor, for example, needs a lot of time to grow and, once done, will be present for a very long time. So, it’s essential to consider which structures you include in your vertical garden as well if you’re planning on having your current plants only temporarily.

Your vertical garden’s height

Climbing plants pose another challenge for Florida vertical gardening: how tall they get can cause a lot of problems if you’re not prepared for it. Although most of these problems are aesthetic, climbing plants that grow too large for their support can actually bring down the structure they’re on. So, once again, you need to do proper research into what height a plant can grow to and plan accordingly.

Because on the flip side, a plant that is too small for its support is likely going to fail. Then, of course, there’s the matter of aesthetics involved when it comes to plants that are either too big or too small for the structure they’re growing on. Any garden with plants that don’t fit properly into its place tends to look quite messy. Additionally, you may want to consider some gardening hacks and tricks to help you maintain your vertical garden.

Strength and weight of the plants and structures

Certain climbing plants can grow extremely heavy by reaching their full size. This is especially noticeable with vegetables, as their produce adds quite a lot of weight to the plant. Because of this, you need to consider the strength of the structures you’re putting these plants on.

Generally speaking, you should never plant vegetables on a weak support structure because they will break quickly once the product comes in. If you’re interested in vertical gardens mainly for aesthetics, you won’t have to worry about this too much. However, DIY supports might not cut it if you plan on growing vegetables.

You’ll want to ensure that all the structures are high quality and keep them properly maintained in the long run. After all, you’ll want to ensure that your vegetable plants are in their best possible condition.

Ease of harvesting

Generally speaking, harvesting produce from vertical gardens is much easier than harvesting from a regular garden. However, choosing the wrong type of support structure can make your job needlessly difficult. Certain types of trellises and obelisks keep the vine clustered tightly, which makes it very difficult to actually find the product since it will usually grow in the center of the support.

Additionally, using particularly tall structures can add unnecessary difficulty to the harvest. After all, having to bring out a ladder every time you want to harvest a bit of product can get very tiring very quickly. Getting tall structures for something like grapes is understandable, but most produce-bearing plants will do just fine with short supports. In the long run, you should make sure that you can comfortably harvest your produce.

Taking care of your plants

Finally, one of the most important parts of Florida vertical gardening is learning the needs of every plant. We already mentioned that every plant has specific needs which need to be met. This includes the frequency of watering, applying fertilizer (if needed), and pruning.

So, do some research into the plants you plan to keep in your garden and look into how often they need to be maintained. And, of course, it’s very important to never miss a round of providing your plants with what they need if you want them to thrive.

Additionally, you should do your best to keep your plants free of pests. Again, this is very important for vegetables and other plants which provide produce. In order to have a decent yield, your plants need to be properly taken care of.

Beginners guide to Florida vertical gardening – wrap up

There is a lot to remember when planning a vertical garden layout, from the types of plants to their weight and height and their specific needs. But, if you take it slow and don’t overwhelm yourself, you won’t run into serious issues. We hope that this beginners guide to Florida vertical gardening helps you get started, and we wish you a good day.