How to Grow an Indoor Vertical Garden with Recycled Materials

How to Grow an Indoor Vertical Garden with Recycled Materials

How to Grow an Indoor Vertical Garden with Recycled Materials

Growing an indoor vertical garden with recycled materials is an inexpensive, eco-friendly way to grow your own vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Vertical gardens allow you to maximize your growing space and can be created in any indoor environment with ample sunlight. Follow these steps to create your own recycled vertical garden at home.

Selecting a Vertical Garden Frame

The frame or structure that supports your vertical garden can be made from a variety of recycled materials. Here are some common options:

Wooden Pallet

  • Pallets make great vertical garden frames. Look for heat-treated pallets to avoid chemicals.
  • Stand the pallet upright and add your growing containers to the openings between slats.
  • Pros: Very inexpensive and easy to find. Sturdy material.
  • Cons: May need reinforcement on the back to prevent tilting forward.


  • An old wooden ladder provides built-in levels for planting.
  • Lean the ladder against a sunny wall and attach containers.
  • Pros: Simple and provides multiple tiers for plants.
  • Cons: Not free standing so must be secured to a wall.

Shelving Unit

  • Thrift store wire shelving units or old bookcases work perfectly.
  • Stack the shelves vertically and fasten together. Add plants on each shelf.
  • Pros: Very customizable using different size shelves.
  • Cons: Need to secure the unit to the wall since it’s vertical.

Choosing Containers for Planting

Almost any type of container can be repurposed to hold your vertical garden plants. Avoid containers that held chemicals or may leach harmful substances.

Recycled Plastic Containers

  • Yogurt cups, ice cream tubs, milk jugs, and food storage containers.
  • Drill drainage holes in the bottom and attach with zip ties or screws.
  • Pros: Lightweight and easy to mount to frames. Come in handy sizes.
  • Cons: Can deteriorate and become brittle over time.

Fabric Pockets

  • Old socks, burlap sacks, denim pockets sewn together.
  • Fill with soil and use ties to attach to frame. Waterproof lining helps.
  • Pros: Breathable, flexible, and drain well. Inexpensive.
  • Cons: Won’t last many seasons before needing replacement.

Metal Cans

  • Clean tin cans, empty food cans, large coffee cans.
  • Punch holes in the bottom for drainage. Paint the cans for decoration.
  • Pros: Already waterproof. Can control drainage.
  • Cons: Metal conducts heat so may need insulation. Heavyweight.

Mounting Your Vertical Garden

Proper mounting ensures your vertical garden frame stays securely in place. Consider the following:

  • For lightweight pallet or ladder frames, anchor to studs in the wall using screws.
  • Shelving units can attach directly to the wall through the back boards.
  • Place free standing frames several inches from the wall to allow airflow behind.
  • Situate vertical gardens with the top tilted 5-10 degrees toward the wall for stability.
  • Locate vertical gardens in south or west facing windows for sufficient sunlight.

Caring for Your Vertical Garden

Maintaining your vertical garden is easy using these tips:

  • Check soil moisture frequently and water when the top inch becomes dry. Misting leaves is also beneficial.
  • Fertilize plants regularly according to package instructions to replenish nutrients.
  • Prune back overgrown vegetation so it doesn’t block light from other plants.
  • Remove yellowed leaves and spent plants promptly to prevent disease.
  • Rotate containers and plants around the frame to ensure even sunlight exposure.
  • Reposition frame towards sunlight as seasons and light conditions change.

With a bit of creativity, it’s simple to grow a productive vertical garden at home using recycled materials. Try experimenting with different frame designs and repurposed containers. In no time, you’ll have fresher, cheaper produce that adds beauty to your indoor space.