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I received a planter as a gift. Please suggest plants to plant in it. (It is specifically the "hang.oasi.home" planter.)

The planter is basically a box that hangs on the wall, but the holes to put plants in are on the side (facing away from the wall) rather than the top. There's no tilt to it at all, so the holes are really straight out.

It is filled with sphagnum moss (garden center quality, acceptable).

It holds, at rough guess, about 1 gallon of the moss (after soaking), and the holes are approximately 4 inches in diameter.

Conditions will be room temperature, low humidity (except whatever comes out of the moss). I have some grow lights already, so amount of light can be anything.

The directions suggest "tropical" plants...which makes sense given the lack of soil, but most of the examples shown look either droopy (big plants that can't support themselves) or sparse (small plants). I would like something that can either grow out and up, or can create a nice, deliberate drape with good coverage. I can add a small amount of support (some wall hooks or something), but I would like to keep the whole system fairly simple.

Finally, I would like something that can actually grow. Nothing like an air plant or a cactus where healthy means it sits there unchanging for months.

What specific plants can handle these conditions?

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If the intent is not to display the planter, put in a staghorn fern. In a couple years it will cover the planter if it has good growing conditions; bright light and humidity (no soil needed).

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if you like cooking edible herbs would be my choice

  • Can you elaborate on which herbs would do well in sphagnum moss (no soil at all)? – user3067860 Feb 9 at 15:34
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Assuming the planter you mean is the one shown in the link below, you are unlikely to be able to create a large area of plant cover on the wall you select, because there is restricted root room within the planter. If you wanted to cover a large area of wall, Hedera helix varieties are the most likely to produce a fair amount of cover.

This link https://www.amazon.com/Ortis-Green-30085-1-Vertical-Garden/dp/B00JS1WLUE has a video demonstration of how to plant it up which might be helpful - they appear to have used a couple of Syngonium, a Spider plant and I'm not sure what the others are, but they're likely indoor ferns of some variety.

  • I don't necessarily want a large area of wall cover, but I would like to reasonably fill/cover the planter itself. (For example, I have some pinguicula that would do well, but they're tiny so it would mostly just look like a planter with some green spots on it.) – user3067860 Feb 10 at 18:48
  • ...on the other hand, most of the plants they use in the demo seem to want actual soil, so I'm not sure if I trust them. (Honestly, I'm not sure the designer of this planter knew much about plants.) – user3067860 Feb 10 at 18:50
  • If you watch the video, they're not using soil, they're just packing the soaked moss round the rootballs of the unpotted plants they've chosen and inserted them into the planter. I think this type of planter is a bit of a fad these days (not unlike the 'planting plants in upside down pots' and dangling them from ceilings and windows thing a couple of years back), but that's just my personal opinion. Should work well for a while... but not long term, possibly – Bamboo Feb 10 at 20:33
  • That's the main reason why I doubt the instructions, I don't want to spend a lot of time (and money) on plants that will die in a few months. (The dangers of gifts--the instructions make the thing look plausible, if you don't know much about plants.) – user3067860 Feb 10 at 22:16
  • Yea - like those gift pots with herb seeds - the pots aren't big enough to grow anything much for longer than about 8 weeks.... but you could plant it up, see how it goes. If it doesn't go well, take the plants out and pot them up individually as houseplants. Or give it to a thrift/charity shop.... – Bamboo Feb 10 at 23:13
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I've seen the most breath taking 'roof tops' and vertical walls planted with just succulents. They have a very condensed and shallow root system. They store their own water. Try looking at this site. Also 'Lake Washington Live A boards Roof Top gardens' out of Seattle Washington.

Using succulents in a vertical planter is like painting a picture in oil. No other plants will do as well. The succulents are all about the same height as well, short, short, short. But the colors are amazing and they change as the season changes.

succulents planted in vertical frames

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Regardless of which plants or plant types you choose, I would suggest you focus on two significant (IMHO) points...

  1. Microclimate;
  2. Health of growing medium.

To explain in more detail...

1. Microclimate

You note you intend to maintain a room temperature with low humidity. Let me assume 21°C / 70°F and RH less than 50%.

Whichever plants you choose, you will need to create a microclimate suitable for each genus and species, for your selected plants to grow in reasonable and sustainable health.

To make it even possible for you to create a suitable microclimate, I strongly recommend selecting plants that all require the same or similar conditions. Otherwise, attempting to grow (for example) ferns and succulents together, will only make the establishment and maintenance periods more difficult to master.

For example...

Tropical rainforest plants generally need lower light levels and high humidity. How might this be achieved? Maybe use a spray bottle every day to apply surface moisture to the leaves of the plants, spray when you wake up in the morning and after your evening meal? Maybe (also) apply small amounts of water daily, to ensure the medium is always moist and never dries out?

Succulents generally need light and heat during the day and cold during the night, with periods of dry soil followed by periods of wet soil. How might this be achieved? Maybe a long soaking of the entire unit once a week in the laundry sink? Maybe three short soakings a week in-situ / without removing the unit from its hanging position?

2. Health of Growing Medium

Whichever plants you choose, you will need to create a healthy growing medium for the plants to grow in reasonable and sustainable health.

I strongly recommend the use of a premium quality “soil/plant” inoculant that will create a thriving “soil/plant” microbiology. With a healthy growing medium, whichever plants you choose will be so much healthier and therefore far more resilient.

If you are a keen gardener you’re likely to already operate a domestic worm farm. Use the vermicaste produced by the worms in the farm as a “soil/plant” inoculant, apply to the growing media (in your case sphagnum moss) at least once a month during your selected plants growing season.

If you don’t have a worm farm, there are commercially available products that are a suitable replacement. In Australia I recommend a Neutrog branded product called “GoGo Juice”. This is an ideal substitute to vermicaste and produces a thriving “soil/plant” microbiology, even in an environment as small as the hang.oasi.home planter. Apply to the growing media (in your case sphagnum moss) at least once a month during your selected plants growing season.

Plant selection:

This is somewhat a personal choice for you depending on what plants you find aesthetically pleasing, your level of experience and enthusiasm and how much time you are willing to spend on the ongoing care of your mini garden.

If you’re starting out, personally I’d recommend:

  • clumping types of ferns (many suitable genus and species to choose from);
  • an Epipremnum sp. (for trailing growth);
  • a small leaf clumping variety of Philodendron sp. (for striking appearance);
  • maybe even a small variety of Spathiphyllum sp.
  • So there is no actual soil in this thing... Probably to make it lighter for hanging, and also because soil would immediately spill out. That's part of why I'm having so much trouble picking out plants. – user3067860 Feb 10 at 12:45
  • Yes I understand, based on your comment “It is filled with sphagnum moss...”. Plants need light, water, air and some form of growing media that retains moisture, drains well and allows air to infiltrate. The growing media does not need to be soil. I grow a number of orchids and ferns in sphagnum moss - no soil. In my answer I have written a lot on the health of growing media because the nutrients your plants will need to grow, will he provided by the microbiology in the growing media. The plants I’ve suggested will grow well in sphagnum moss, with the right microclimate and microbiology. – andrewbuilder Feb 10 at 23:00

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