Florafelt Vertical Garden Guide

Florafelt Vertical Garden by Chris Bribach for CBRE office towers in Downtown San Francisco

Florafelt Vertical Garden by Chris Bribach for CBRE office towers in Downtown San Francisco

It’s a Whole New Way To Garden

It’s easy to grow a vertical garden with Florafelt Pocket Panel living wall system. Our hand-made planters are designed to use the micro fibers in PET felt so that all the plants are watered equally. The felt is made from recycled plastic water bottles, a non-toxic fiber that is indestructible and tough. This amazing material provides a safe growing medium that is pH neutral and non-reactive, so you can garden organically right on your wall. It's even safe for vegetables and herbs! Roots grow right into the felt, which comes alive thanks to the microbiology in the soil.

Worker prepares a Florafelt Root-Wrapped plant, Siteworks Landscape

Worker prepares a Florafelt Root-Wrapped plant, Siteworks Landscape

Root Wraps

Florafelt Pocket Panels come with our custom Root-Wrap system. It lets you change and rearrange your living wall at will, while maintaining the integrity of every plant in its own soil.

About Florafelt

Growing in synthetic felt allows unlimited possibilities. Parisian designer Patric Blanc has some of the longest-living, largest and most gorgeous living walls to date, many planted in the mid 1970s. They grow in synthetic felt, which is ideal for breathability and allows for fully mature root development. Florafelt has taken this concept and added pockets created from the same material for ease of installation and plant replacement.

Using A Little Soil Makes Vertical Gardening Much Easier

We created the pockets so that they would accommodate a handful of soil. The soil balances pH and introduces microbiology to let nature do its work and bring the felt alive. And it is crucial to use synthetic materials so the support system doesn't dissolve.

What's Wrong With Small Compartments or Planter Boxes?

Plastic compartments and planter boxes restrict root growth and create the same problem as planters - root binding. Plastic also doesn’t allow breathability, and our felt pockets eliminate the many difficulties with root rot issues. Additionally, the soil is tightly held in place by the felt wraps within the pockets, keeping the entire system extremely tidy. And the pleats direct the water inward, making it drip-free.

Very Large Vertical Gardens

With a bolted attachment, our Florafelt planters can be used at any height. Florafelt is made from synthetic nylon and is virtually indestructible. Once it is planted, the root material makes it a permanent living membrane.

P.E.T. Plastics and Toxicity

Not all plastics are the same. PET plastic is a non-reactive, non-toxic plastic which is why it is used for anything from milk jugs to water bottles. Trace amounts of toxins are known to emerge from PET, but soil microbes break down those complex molecules long before they reach plant roots. We chose synthetic nylon felt fibers for our Florafelt, turning unused water bottles into something useful. Additionally, plants grown in this material absorb carbon from the atmosphere, making Florafelt a 'carbon absorbing’ product.

Chris Bribach, Plants On Walls, Beverly Hills home, Florafelt System

Chris Bribach, Plants On Walls, Beverly Hills home, Florafelt System

Vertical Gardens That Evolve

It is very important for the vertical garden to be interactive so that it can be modified as needed. Like any garden, there are unpredictable changes in climate, mishaps with watering systems, or plant disease.

The slit-and-staple method, which was used several years ago for the vertical garden at the Drew School in San Francisco, often show large planted areas that did not take. It is very difficult to add new plants to fill in these spaces.

But our Florafelt pleated-pocket design makes it very easy for any gardener to remove the problem plants and tuck healthy starts into the existing pockets. It also allows caretakers to replace the dead foliage with plants that are thriving in the same vertical garden. Starting with a bio-diverse selection allows you to try many plants and minimize the failures. You simply add more of what works.

A sustainable solution to vertical gardening is one that uses the skills of an existing landscape service or even maintenance crews on staff. This keeps long-term maintenance affordable and easy.

Design Considerations

Natural Light

Bright indirect light from a bank of windows is an indoor tropical favorite. The plants will reach for the light and align their leaves to the source, making a perfect display. Direct light may cause burning, but can be workable if it is limited to a few hours a day.

Indoor Lighting

Without bright windows, existing room light provides the minimal illumination for growing plants, so you may want to add a track lighting system. Halogen bulbs project a wide spectrum of light, which makes it ideal for any number of different plans. Metal halide and fluorescent lights are also excellent. New LED lights may also work for some situations. Indoor tropicals that are native to the forest floor are ideal for low artificial lighting.


A deck with full day of sun is perfect for growing herbs and vegetables, flowers and succulents. Partial sun is great for lettuce or ferns and most other plants. Ferns also do well on shady walls.

Light Meter

Consider a light meter as part of your tool kit. They are easy and inexpensive. Ambient light is measured in Foot Candles. Indoor tropical plants need a minimum of 300 foot candles to thrive. Direct sun measures in at 10,000 foot candles and will burn most indoor plants, but succulents, herbs and vegetables require a full day of direct sun to thrive. Test the area you want to plant and add supplemental lighting or shade if necessary. Explore the internet to learn more about which plants you should choose for your installation.


Florafelt planters are intended for water-safe areas. Generally, water will remain within the unit, but there is always the chance for some dripping. If you intend to use the unit indoors on wood floors or carpeting, use extra caution and keep watch during pump operation. Use common sense when placing the unit and clean up occasional plant mess or moisture leakage.

Regular Watering

Daily watering, along the top row only, is normally required when using Florafelt planters. For most situations, we recommend connecting the planters to an automatic irrigation system. A simple drip tube across the top, set to water twice daily, will provide adequate moisture for most situations. Recirculating systems are more water efficient, with a tank, pump and timers set to run once-a-day for 30 minutes for most situations.


Light fertilizing is preferred for vertical gardens. We recommend the use of an organic based fertilizer such as Maxsea to minimize salt buildup and promote active microbiology within the soil and felt. Fertilizer can be added manually or by use of an injector in your irrigation system. For recirculating systems simply add fertilizer when you top off the water tanks.

Winter Exposure

Most plants will go dormant in the winter. Planted in the ground, they are protected from extreme freezing temperatures. In walls, as with planters, only certain rugged natives will survive a hard freeze. Consult with a landscaping professional in your area for advice on specific plants that can make it through winter.

Seasonal Plantings

Flowering annuals are an excellent choice for seasonal plantings. In early spring, Florafelt pockets can be planted with small starts, seeds and cuttings for a dazzling display of color all summer long. When growing season has ended, the Root Wrapped plants can be removed, cleaned and stored for next year, along with the lightweight panels.

Children and Pets

All gardens are at risk to the terrors of youth and fauna. Use caution, as some plants are toxic. Florafelt can be damaged by claws, teeth, and beaks. The Recirc unit can tip if it is destabilized by climbing children or jumping pets. Use common sense and be selective about placement.

How Florafelt Works

Florafelt Vertical Garden Planters How It Works