Planting Upwards-Cheap Vertical Gardening Ideas

Despite the limited gardening space I have right now, I am on a quest to find more areas for plants. There is one wall opposite the shelf my hubby built that is bare and we’ve talked about putting a vertical garden on that wall. Today I want to discuss cheap vertical gardening ideas.

If you’ve checked out my recent video, you know how small my urban garden is. There is the shelf my hubby built against one wall of our balcony, the two by four he put up so I can use my dollar store shelf pots, and the plants on the ground. The wall opposite the shelf has still been unused, which hubby and I have talked about putting a vertical garden there.

cheap vertical gardening

I’ve seen some beautiful and elaborate vertical gardening designs that are way over my budget. I keep eyeing those inexpensive vertical gardening pockets on Amazon that would work great in the space we have. But, what other options are out there for vertical gardens?

Vertical Gardening History

Vertical gardens seem to be a trendy thing to do right now, but they are definitely not a new idea. Vertical gardens have been around for thousands of years.

The Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians all had their own versions of vertical gardens. The Babylonians were also known for their vertical gardens. One of the seven ancient wonders of the world was the famous hanging gardens of Babylon.

cheap vertical gardening

Fast forward to today, and I’ve seen many different types of vertical gardens. I’ve seen huge ones many feet tall in front of restaurants, filled with a variety of herbs. Then there is the wall next to our apartment complex that is covered with a vine but makes for a pleasant walk to the mailbox.

Being surrounded by flora makes me forget I live in a huge urban area.

Why Have a Vertical Garden?

There are many reasons that having a vertical garden is a great idea.

First of all, if you don’t have much space to work with like me, then vertical gardening is perfect for you since it doesn’t use up much space. You don’t need any ground space to start this garden, just some wall space.

cheap vertical gardening

Since many vertical gardens use small space, this makes it easier to maintain. Just make sure to use quality soil and make sure your plants have plenty of water.

 

People with specific health issues can benefit from starting a vertical garden. Those who have a hard time bending from health issues will love having a vertical garden since the plants can be hung high enough to avoid this. The plants will be easier to see and take care of higher up.

cheap vertical gardening

Having plants above ground will help them not be harmed by bugs and other pests. Larger animals will also have a hard time bothering plants in a vertical garden arrangement.

For those who like getting creative, there are endless ways to design plants in a vertical garden. I’ve seen beautiful arrangements of succulents and other plants in vertical garden designs. Just use your imagination.

Herb Heaven

Besides saving a ton of space, vertical gardens are becoming popular as ways to display and keep herbs, inside and outside. I’ve seen kitchens with lots of natural light that use small vertical gardens to keep herbs in. This is an easy, cheap and convenient way to get herbs while making a meal.

cheap vertical gardening

Herbs don’t need a lot of space, which is another reason they make great vertical gardening plants. You can combine several or keep them in separate containers.

Vertical Gardening Ideas

Now that you have some background information about vertical gardening, I’m going to get into cheap vertical gardening ideas. Just like with other types of gardens, vertical gardens can be handmade or bought. The preferences are up to you.

Stacked Crates

Have a bunch of crates lying around or know someone who does? These can make a great vertical garden if you have room to stack them near a wall, or stack enough in a space to make another wall. If you don’t have any crates, you can buy these at craft stores.

Picture Planter

Picture planters are great for succulents. You can arrange the plants in a design or randomly, however you like. I have one of these, but its laying on its side with a few succulents as a regular container.

cheap vertical gardening

Recycled 2 Liter Soda Bottles

Looking for a unique vertical garden? Keep all those 2 liter soda bottles around to make a cheap vertical garden. You can use a few bottles, or make a wall full of bottles as a vertical garden.

Hanging Pots

A vertical garden can be as simple as attaching individual pots to a wall or structure that is against a wall. You can find old pots lying around for this, or spend some on cheap containers from a nearby garden store.

Garden Pockets

Garden pockets come in a variety of materials and sizes. You can buy them individually or in rows. These come in a variety of colors too.

cheap vertical gardening

Garden Shelf

If you are a handyman or know someone who is, then a garden shelf is a great option for a vertical garden. My husband made mine from scratch. The materials were inexpensive, but it took time to put together. To learn how to make your own, check out my blog about it here.

gardening shelf
My finished gardening shelf

Shoe Organizer

Those door shoe organizers made of cloth, plastic or mesh can be recycled into vertical gardens, too. Put in plenty of dirt so the plants can thrive in their new home.

Wood Pallet

Old wood pallets make great vertical gardens. These can be filled with plenty of seeds or small plants and make a beautiful display on a wall outside.

Garden Tower

Garden towers are great space savers. You can put a bunch of plants in a small space with one of these. You can make a herb or flower garden tower or a mix of plants.

cheap vertical gardening

Enjoy Your Vertical Garden

Vertical gardens are a unique way to garden when you are limited on space. You can use part of a wall for a vertical garden or fill the entire wall with plants of your choice.

If you know of other cheap vertical gardening ideas, let me know in the comments below. Happy gardening!

Urban Gardening-Plants for Container Gardening

When I think of gardens, I can picture the lush English gardens from those period movies such as Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. I didn’t even know small space gardening was a thing until I got into it. I am still learning the ins and outs of urban gardening but thought I would give you some ideas on plants for container gardening.

Ever since I got serious about gardening, I pretty much have been buying small plants I think are pretty, get a small container and hope to not kill the plant. Right now my garden consists of succulents, some tropical plants, then a small variety of small flowering plants that look like they would grow well in containers.

plants for container gardening

 

For the most part, this has worked well. I have not had success keeping lilies, tulips, and most recently, lavender in containers. All the other plants I have seem to like where they are, for the time being.

Container Gardens

What are container gardens, exactly? Container gardens are exactly what the name entails, a garden where the plants are kept exclusively in containers, instead of in the ground.

There are a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles of containers that appeal to anyone. Since I’m on a budget and limited to space, most of my containers are plain but sturdy. This works well for me since I want the focal point of my garden to be the plants themselves.

plants for container gardening

Why Container Gardening?

Container gardens are perfect for people who want to garden but don’t have any ground to work with, such as myself. I have a small balcony and utilize it for my container garden as best as possible.

Containers are also great to use to accent a large garden, specific area of a garden or a porch. There are limitless ways to use a container garden.

plants for container gardening

Containers versus Planting in the Ground

Both container gardening and traditional ground gardening work great. It really counts on what you have to work with, personal preference, the plants you have and what you want to grow.

Plants for Container Gardening

I have discovered over the past year that there are many types of plants that grow well in containers. Below I will discuss just a few of these plants.

plants for container gardening

Nemesia

Nemesias don’t grow very large, which makes them the perfect container plant. They come in a variety of colors. Nemesias require full sun, so they need at least 6 hours of sunlight.

Double Impatiens

Double impatiens are small, colorful flowers that are easy to grow in containers. They can grow from 6 to 30 inches tall. Make sure the soil you use is good drainage soil for the flowers.

plants for container gardening

Snapdragons

Snapdragons can be easily grown in containers as well. Snapdragons can grow from 8 inches to 3 feet tall. Deadhead flowers when they are past the blooming stage to encourage the plant to continue to grow flowers.

plants for container gardening

Calendulas

Brightly colored calendulas need full sun to grow well. These daisy looking flowers grow from 18 to 24 inches tall. Calendulas help keep insects away, which is an added bonus to including these in your container garden.

plants for container gardening

Herbs

There are a variety of herbs to choose from, so much that you can create an entire container garden out of herbs. Rosemary, mint, sage, thyme, and oregano are just a few of the herbs that you can grow in containers. Some of these can be grown together.

plants for container gardening

Petunias

These versatile and colorful flowers are another great choice for container gardening. Petunias grow well in containers and hanging pots, with different colored petunias and other flowers. Only a few should be grown together at a time to avoid overcrowding.

plants for container gardening

Morning Glories

Morning Glories are trailing plants with beautiful blue flowers. Since they trail, when put in a container they need a trellis to encourage growth upward. Morning glories can grow up to 8 feet tall.

plants for container gardening

Osteospermums

Osteospermum plants are also known as African daisies. These flowers come in pinks, purples and other colors. African daisies need plenty of sun to grow and flourish in containers.

plants for container gardening

Marigolds

Marigolds grow very well in pots. Some types grow very tall and may seem to look to overpower the container. My French marigolds are a little smaller than traditional marigolds and fit perfectly in the hanging side containers I have them in.

Don’t grow too many marigolds together in a pot. I have 4 French marigolds in each pot, which looked too much at first, but so far they are growing nicely.

plants for container gardening

Gerbera Daisies

Gerbera daisies also make great container plants. I should know, right now I have yellow and pink gerbera daisies in two different containers on my balcony.

Gerbera daisies need partial to full sun. To keep them growing flowers, make sure to deadhead the daisies.

plants for container gardening

Advantages of Container Gardening

There are many advantages of container gardening. Below I will mention just a few of those advantages.

  • Container gardening is a great way for beginner gardeners to get more experience in gardening.
  • Gardening with containers only is great for people like me who have no ground soil and small spaces to work with.
  • Container gardening is a great way to encourage kids to learn about plants and gardening.
  • Wildlife is less likely to get into plants in containers versus plants grown in the ground.
  • Since containers are portable, they can be moved around in a design or arrangement of your choice.

plants for container gardening

Disadvantages of Container Gardening

There are generally fewer disadvantages to gardening in containers.

  • Plants are limited to the size of the container they are growing in. I try to buy plants small enough so they can grow well into the container they are planted in.
  • Plants grown in containers tend to dry quickly and need more watering.
  • The soil in containers needs to be replaced every year since the soil loses nutrients that plants need to grow well in.

plants for container gardening

Closing Thoughts

I hope you learned something new about plants for container gardening or was inspired to start your own container garden. I only have a few of the plants mentioned above but would love to add more of these flowers to my container garden.

Do you have other plants that grow well in containers that I did not mention above? Let me know in the comments section below!

Bring Hawaii to You-Plumeria Care

I was lucky enough to go on two family trips to Hawaii when I was younger. I still remember getting off the airplane to be greeted by a Hawaiian woman who put a beautiful lei of plumeria flowers around my neck, as well as all those plastic plumeria flower souvenirs in many of the souvenir shops all over the islands. I now enjoy my own plumerias in my backyard and would love to share my plumeria care tips with you.

Before I talk about plumeria care, I would like to briefly discuss the origin and history of plumeria plants. It is quite interesting.

plumeria care

Not a Hawaiian Native

I don’t know about you, but when I see a plumeria flower, a motif or logo of one, I immediately think of Hawaii. Did you know these fragrant trees are not originally from the Aloha State? Neither did I!

So, where are these beautiful plants from anyways?

Origin of Plumeria

The plumeria tree is originally from the Carribean. This makes sense since the Carribean is another tropical area, although I do not think of plumerias when I see or hear about the Carribean. Maybe pirates but definitely not plumerias!

plumeria care
Leaves from a plumeria tree.

Plumerias also originated in Mexico and Central America. From these places, plumeria trees spread to other tropical areas as well.

Nifty Name

The plumeria plant was named after Charles Plumier. He was a French botanist who studied many plants in the Americas.

Another name for plumeria trees is frangipani (plumeria rubra). A 16th century monk named Marquis Frangipani was known for a perfume he made. The plumeria flower’s scent and that of Frangipani’s perfume are similar to each other, hence the other name for plumeria plants.

plumeria care

Hello from Hawaii

The plumeria tree was first introduced to the great state of Hawaii in 1860. There is now such an abundance of plumeria plants in Hawaii that many people assume its a native plant.

Where Can Plumeria Trees Grow?

Plumeria plants can definitely grow in tropical areas, but where else can they grow? Plumerias can be grown in a variety of places, as long as the tree is brought in during the winter. USDA zone 10 are where plumeria trees grow best though.

I remember driving around Orange County, CA last year, seeing all the beautiful plumeria blooms thinking, I must have one! I am now the proud owner of two small plumeria trees.

plumeria care
My two plumeria plants in my little urban garden.

Types of  Plumeria

There are many different types of plumeria trees in a variety of colors. One of the more common trees is plumeria rubra aztec gold. The flowers on this tree are white with a gold yellow center.

There are other variations with more or less gold, as well as more or less white on the flowers. They are all beautiful. Mine are a variation of gold and white flowers.

plumeria care

Other types of trees have pink and white flowers with different colored centers. I’ve seen blue and purple ones online, but I heard these were fake blooms. I’ve seen many white, yellow and pink plumerias while driving around my neighborhood.

I hope to own other colors of plumerias, but will enjoy my yellow and white flowered ones for now.

Plumeria Care

Caring for plumeria trees is quite easy. They can be grown in the ground or in containers. I have my two small plumeria trees in pots and they fit perfectly in my little balcony garden.

plumeria care

Plumerias grow based on the space that is available to them. These plants can spread out and grow as tall as over 20 feet. As container plants, plumerias will grow as much as the pot they are in will allow.

Plumerias are commonly sold as cuttings. The tree I bought was sold with some soil in its small pot. These plants have thin root systems, so it was easily tranferred into a slightly larger pot.

The other plumeria I received as a gift from my best friend’s in-laws. They told me to let the cutting dry out in the shade for a few weeks, then plant it. This tree is currently growing in some beautiful leaves.

plumeria care
Beautiful plumeria leaves!

Planting Plumerias

If you plan to plant your tree in the ground, use half native soil and half well draining soil. A cactus, palm and or desert soil will work great.

If potting the plant, you may want to add gravel or Perlite to the bottom. I added a few inches of mulch to both my potted plumerias and they are growing fine. Make sure that the containers have a hole for water drainage.

Fragrant Flowers

When I bought my first plumeria plant at the end of last summer, I expected it to start producing flowers right away. I’ve had it for almost a year and it just started blooming gorgeous yellow and white flowers. I’ve had to learn patience with this plant but its been well worth the wait.

plumeria care
Another flower is blooming!

The flowers are refreshingly fragrant. Each flowering tree has its own distinctive fragrance to enjoy.

How Much Water?

Plumeria trees are hardy plants that do not require much water. Plumerias need to be watered regularly while the leaves and flowers are blooming. Once the plant’s leaves fall off during the winter, it does not need to be watered.

I have been tempted to water my plants when they don’t need any, but try to hold back since I heard that over watering is a common reason plants die, especially here in Southern California where many plants thrive with little water.

plumeria care

Winter Slumber

Something else I learned about plumeria trees are that they become dormant in the winter. When the leaves fell off at the end of the year, I thought I had killed my plants. I wanted to throw them out when this happened, but took my husband’s advice and kept the plants.

I’m glad I did, since now I have two beautiful trees! One is producing flowers while the other is producing leaves. I’m not sure why one is not producing flowers, but I’ve only had it a few months so I may have to wait another year before I get to enjoy its blooms.

plumeria care

Ending Thoughts

I knew the basics of plumeria care before I began researching for this blog post. I have learned so much more since and I hope you have learned a thing or two about plumeria care as well. Feel free to add your own tips on caring for plumeria trees below!

How to Take Great Pictures of Your Garden-Flower and Garden Photos

I’ve gotten several compliments about how great my photos are here on my gardening blog. I appreciate the comments but many of the photos are not my own, but from commercial free sites like Pixabay. I’m wanting to learn to take more and better flower and garden photos and thought I would share my thoughts on how to achieve this.

As a side note, all the pictures on this particular blog are from me and my husband.

flower and garden pictures

Old School

During my Senior year in high school, I had the opportunity to take a photography class during both semesters. I still remember taking the time to develop the black and white film in the dark room. That statement alone dates me, but I had a lot of fun in those classes and learned many new skills about taking photos.

After digital cameras and quality cameras on cell phones took over, I took advantage of taking more photos to practice my long forgotten photography skills. I love how I can take a bunch of photos without it costing me a dime or take much time to develop the photos.

flower and garden photos

Artistry of Photography

I like to tell people I was born an artist, or at least became an artist when I first learned how to pick up and use a pencil. I still remember the folder my parents kept of all the pictures I drew growing up. I was even a fine art student for a time in college, but life took me on a different career course.

Of course I still find time to feed my creative genes nowadays, but mainly through photography. I take my fair share of candid photos of family and friends (and my cats), but also like to add my own artistic flair to my photos. This will look different for every photographer.

flower and garden pictures

Camera Type-Phone verses Digital

My husband has graciously offered to let me use his Canon camera, which takes awesome pictures. I prefer the camera on my Samsung Galaxy S6 phone. I take it everywhere I go and can easily take it out when a photo opportunity presents itself, especially when I’m out and about.

I don’t think its important if one uses a camera or a camera phone (if you disagree let me know below). I think its more important how skilled the person is in using the camera and how they take photos.

I’m sure some people would argue that one is better than the other. I know there are particular brands of cameras out there that are known for taking quality photos. Use whatever type of camera works for you.

flower and garden pictures

Quantity-How Many Photos Should One Take?

Since I’m pretty new to this whole blogging world (3 months now), I recently decided I should take as many photos of my flowers and garden as possible. I have also taken photos that I find interesting when I’m out and about of various plants and flowers.

By taking a plethora of photos, I can experiment with angle, color, and other features that make a great photo. I also want to have a photo library available for my Google Plus, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and my other social media accounts.

flower and garden pictures

I also like that by taking a bunch of photos, I can use different pictures of the same flower or plant but at different angles. I can use the same picture on all my social media accounts or use slightly different photos of the same flower or plant.

Quality not Quantity

Just because I take 100s or 1,000s of photos does not mean they will all turn out great. I may take a bunch of photos of the same plant or area of my garden, but will only use the best ones on my blog and social media accounts.

Lighting

If you’ve ever spent any time around photographers, you will learn quickly how important lighting is when taking photographs. I will only focus on outdoor photography and lighting tips.

flower and garden pictures
Way too bright!

I’m still pretty amateur when it comes to taking outdoor pictures. When I see a pretty flower I just take a few pictures with as little sun as possible and hope they come out nice.

Overcast days make the best outdoor pictures (according to my photographer husband). I’ve made the mistake of trying to take pictures of my flowers with the sun shining directly on them. This results in a very bright, glaring picture.

Taking pictures on cloudy days helps avoid pictures with glare in them. I have also been able to take quality photos in the shade, despite the sun being out. I have to be careful that the shade is not too dark or the flower or plant will be lost in the shade.

flower and garden pictures

Angle

I sometimes play with different angles when taking pictures of plants and flowers. Sometimes I take a photo and that one photo is enough for me to be happy with. Other times I play around with varying angles to get the best photo I can of the flower or plant I am focusing on.

There are different ways to achieve varying angles of a flower, plant or several flowers and plants. One way is to take photos of the subject while stand up. Another way to play around with angles is to get on your knees or even your stomach.

I usually just point and shoot from wherever I am standing or happen to be walking. I need to begin experimenting with other methods to get the best angle of my flowers and plants.

flower and garden pictures

Close Ups

I love taking close ups of flowers and plants. It might be to focus on the color, lines, texture, or shape of the particular plant I am photographing. I usually take as many photos close ups as I can of the plant until I find one I like.

Background

Background plays an important role in creating quality photos of your garden. This is especially true if you want the focus to be on a single plant or flower. You don’t want the background of your photo too busy or it will take away the focus off your flower or plant.

flower and garden pictures

 

There are ways to do this manually with a camera. My phone will automatically focus on either the foreground or background when I get really close to a flower I am trying to photograph.

You may want the focus to be on the background if you are taking a picture of a huge area. My husband recently took a great photo of me in front of a field of lavender with the focus on the plants. I’ve seen some great looking photos turn out well this way too.

flower and garden pictures

 

Closing Thoughts

I hope I have kept you interested in what I have had to say about taking the best flower and garden photos. This is by far my longest but most enjoyable blog to write. I have actually learned a lot of new concepts about taking pictures of my garden by writing this.

I will make more of an effort to take more flower and garden photos on a daily basis. I will, of course, share them here with all of you! I know there are many more things I could say about photographing plants and flowers.

flower and garden pictures

If you have great tips and tricks of yourself on how to take better flower and garden photos, then let me know below!