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7 common maintenance mistakes in indoor green walls

Tired of looking at a wall full of wilted, dry plant corpses? Keep your green wall green with this list of common maintenance mistakes, and how to avoid them.

Tired of looking at a wall full of wilted, dry plant corpses? Keep your green wall green with this list of common maintenance mistakes, and how to avoid them.

As a society, we spend a large amount of time indoors, in pokey office spaces with artificial lighting. To combat the negative effects of these soul-crushing conditions, modern interior design trends are bringing the outdoors inside with striking,  decorative living walls.

Green walls, when properly maintained, provide many additional benefits in an office environment. In order to lower their overall cost of ownership, however, you’ll need to be aware of (and avoid) these seven common maintenance mistakes.


Seven ways you could be accidentally killing your indoor plants

1. Choosing the wrong plants
One of the most common (and costly) mistakes you can make when it comes to indoor plants, is choosing the wrong plants for your living wall. Not all plants can survive indoors - and out of those that can, not all of these plants are suitable for every space.

Indoor plants still require various different living conditions. Most plants that do well indoors do, however, share three similar qualities.

  • They can grow in medium to low lighting 
  • There’s no true substitute for outdoor sunlight, so any plant that requires full sun will suffer indoors (even if they’re getting some rays of sunshine through a window). Plants that prosper indoors require very light sunlight. Read our article, 9 indoor plants that are almost impossible to kill, for some hardy varieties that require very little maintenance and will lower your overall cost of green wall ownership.
  • They can survive in dry conditions.
    Both people and plants require humidity for good health - something which is rather scarce in an airconditioned office. Picking plants which can survive in very dry conditions (like succulents or plants with thick waxy leaves) will boost your chances of your plants thriving indoors. Additionally, certain plants can actually help boost the humidity levels in your office.

  • They stay relatively small.
    The last thing you need is an aggressive plant which quickly outgrows its container, and takes over your office (or dies from lack of root room).

2. Neglecting your plants

A healthy green wall requires a regular watering schedule.

Image source: Organic Life

  • A healthy green wall requires a regular watering schedule. Unlike their outdoor relatives, indoor plants won’t be getting any rain water when you forget to water your pots. Brown, crunchy leaves and dry soil are a sign of under-watering your plants. If you’re running the air conditioner or central heating in your office, your plants will most likely require more water than usual.
  • Choosing a greenwall system that can fully automate the watering process, such as the GrowUp system, takes the stress and hassle out of watering. 
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    3. Loving your plants to death

    over-watering or over feeding your green wall will also kill your plants, causing root rot, and breeding mold and diseases.

    Image source: Organic Life

    On the other hand, over-watering or over feeding your green wall will also kill your plants, causing root rot, and breeding mold and diseases.  Limp, yellowing leaves and wet soil are a sure indicator that you’re over-watering your indoor plants.
    The GrowUp flood irrigation methodology works well to allow the plants sufficient water while they never stand with their roots in water. Allowing sufficient times between watering using the timer allows the soil to dry and aerate, making for healthy root systems

    4. Not having a maintenance plan
    While a small home set up is easy to install and maintain, as soon as you graduate to larger scale systems in offices, it becomes quite a task to keep your green wall healthy by yourself. This is not a job for “Jane the receptionist”, or “Bob who arrives early in the mornings”. To keep your indoor, office green wall in tip-top condition (lowering the overall cost of ownership) you need a professional to routinely maintain your living wall.

  • A professional green wall partner will help you to identify plant diseases before they become a problem, swap out any plants that are struggling, keep your soil properly fertilized and moist, monitor lighting conditions and make sure your living wall stays lush and healthy all year round.
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  • 5. Treating your indoor plants like they’re outdoors

  • All plants (even those that do well in low-light conditions) need some light for at least part of the day. If your office is dark, without windows, you need to consider installing artificial lighting that can replace the sunlight. 

  • Apart from lighting, you also need to remember that there’s no rain to wash your plants. Plants, just like your office furniture, are susceptible to collecting dust and need to be given a good wipe down every now and again, to ensure that their leaves are able to absorb enough light to survive.


  • 6. Not fertilizing your plants

  • When plants are constrained to pots, you need to continuously add nutrients back into the soil. Plants can survive on water alone, but they won’t be as lush and healthy as they could be. Adding nutrients to your watering system is a fast, simple way to ensure that your plants are getting everything they need to thrive.


  • 7. Ignoring the symptoms of pests or disease

    Diseases or infestations, when left to get out of hand, can and will spread like wildfire through your green wall.

    Image source: Organic Life

    Diseases or infestations, when left to get out of hand, can and will spread like wildfire through your green wall. If you notice any mold, black spots or tiny insects (like aphids), you should immediately quarantine the infected plants. Once you’ve treated the plants (and are sure they are no longer contagious) you can replace them on your green wall. If the disease is too far advanced, you may still lose the plant, but at least you haven’t lost your entire green wall.

    Don’t let the maintenance of indoor plants put you off including nature in your office design. Plastic plants might look fine, but you can’t beat the real thing when it comes to all the added benefits a green wall can bring with it.

    Need some help with your green wall? Contact GrowUp. Our living wall experts will help you find the right system for your space, and connect you with preferred green wall installation partners to help you install and maintain your living wall.