ISSUE 1  |  Office Space

DIY: A Living Wall for the Office, Lazy Person’s Edition

January 09, 2014 11:00 AM

BY Erin Boyle

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Here’s a confession of sorts: I don’t really like living plant walls. They make a space feel claustrophobic. Even spooky. And that’s before I think about the work of maintaining a thriving tropical jungle indoors. 

Herewith: a plant wall for the lazy among us. Without soil, the care and maintenance for this wall is limited, making it the perfect addition to a spare office space in need of a little greenery.

P.S.: Need an instant career booster? 11 Office Plants That Could Get You a Raise.

Photographs by Erin Boyle

Above: Begin by choosing a vessel. When I’ve tackled hanging gardens in the past, I’ve roped up bottles. But in an office setting, I wanted something that would be a little more solid. These Wall Mounted Teardrop Vases ($4.95 each from CB2) have a flat back; they lay flush against a wall, instead of bobbing around the way a hanging round bottle would. They also come with a small hole, so they can be easily mounted. 

Above: Next, choose your plants. I picked three vining houseplants that root easily in water, thrive indoors, and are known for their air-purifying traits: a philodendron, a pothos, and a large-leafed variegated ivy. If you’re going for a slightly less tropical look, most herbs root equally well in water–and will last and last. I once kept a fragrant cutting of cuban oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus) alive in a beaker for nearly a year.

Above: For each cutting, use clean scissors to make a diagonal snip just below a leaf. Be sure the leaf node will be underwater where it will root quickly.

Above: You might find it easiest to plan your wall layout after you place the plants in the vessels. When I made put together my wall, the added bulk of each plant helped me to decide how much space I wanted between each vase. I recruited my husband to help me measure even spaces between the vases (a level is a helpful tool for this part of the process).

Above: A hanging clipping with the leaf node underwater. You’ll likely have most success in rooting plants if you use just one stem per vase. Use tap water that’s been left to sit overnight or filtered water to make sure that your delicate cutting isn’t harmed by chlorinated water. 

Above: The vases all hung up, waiting for the roots to grow.

Above:  Fill each vessel with just enough water to cover the end of the stem and replenish if necessary. Because the cutting will root and continue to grow, the water in your vases will stay clean (no need to worry about smelly water from decaying flower stems).

Above: There you have it: the lazy woman’s living wall, no drywall screws or soil required.

Interested in vertical gardens? See The Next Generation: Woolly Pockets All Grown Up and An Instant Vertical Garden Kit for Small Spaces.