What’s the Difference Between a Living Wall and a Trellis?

Trellises are a traditional garden staple that have been around for ages, and believe it or not, are often confused with living walls. While they might seem similar at first glance, living walls and trellises are actually quite different in more ways than you probably realize.

So, what’s the difference?

According to Gardenista, a trellis is “a framework of light wooden or metal bars, chiefly used as a support for fruit trees or climbing plants.” A living wall, on the other hand, is a vertical structure containing vegetation with the inclusion of growing media and water.

Both are great options to beautify an indoor/outdoor space. However, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the distinct advantages of having a living wall over a trellis:

  • Living walls have more options for types of greenery
  • They last longer and are easier to maintain than trellises
  • Living walls offer greater customization

Living Walls Deliver Instant Growth

One of the major differences between living walls and trellises is that living walls provide instant greenery. A trellis with fully-grown plants can certainly look beautiful, but it takes a significant amount of time for the plants to mature and create that lush, green look. Before that happens, you’re stuck looking at a plain, plant-less structure with minimal growth.

A living wall, on the other hand, provides that established growth instantaneously. How? Living walls are comprised of many small individual plants that are inserted directly into the structure. This creates the appearance of a fully-grown (and fully green!) wall without having to wait around for Mother Nature to do her job.

More Plant Options

Because of their simplicity, trellises are only able to support a limited number of plant types that can grow up, around, and take root in the structure. That’s because soil is usually found at the base of the trellis in a traditional planter. When starting from scratch, it can take months, or even years, for a plant in a trellis to really take shape and show off its beauty.

Living walls are able to eliminate these obstacles by including growing media and irrigation in the structure of the wall, lending itself to almost limitless possibilities of plant types. Succulents, tropical plants, mosses, and a host of other plants can be put on full display immediately without waiting years for beautiful results.

Fully Customizable

Since trellises are only able to accommodate a limited number of plant types, it leaves many feeling restricted in their creativity. Not so with living walls — the virtually unlimited possibilities of plant combinations means that you can completely customize your selection for a truly one-of-a-kind look.

The best part is that plants can be swapped out as needed on a living wall. Whether you want to create a new look based upon the season or for a special event, or just want to update the overall aesthetic, you have the freedom to do so without worrying about damaging or killing off your plants.

Speaking of, if a few plants die in a living wall you needn’t worry that your whole investment is gone—a plug-and-play approach means that you can easily swap dying or dead plants for new ones. Lastly, living walls help define your space by offering the opportunity to infuse your branding or logos within and/or among the plants themselves.

Longevity & Maintenance

One of the greatest upsides of choosing a living wall over a trellis is just how easy they are to maintain. The irrigation system included in living walls means that plants use water much more efficiently and aren’t susceptible to the pitfalls of over/underwatering that can kill off months of hard work with a plant using a trellis.

With maintenance being easier, living walls will last much longer. This is also in great part due to the structures themselves. Trellis are made from either wood or metal, meaning that in time, they will eventually rot or rust and need to be replaced completely. Many plants, however, are extremely sensitive to being moved and can easily die off as a result, forcing you to start over with your trellis. Living walls eliminate this headache by avoiding sensitive materials.

True Vert takes the sustainability and longevity of living walls to the next level by using carbonized cork, a 100% recyclable material that improves plant adaptation, is heat-resistant and anti-flammable (perfect for dry climates), and lasts over 50 years!

Why hope for the best with a trellis when you can ensure a high-quality, long-lasting, and completely customized option with a living wall?

At True Vert, we’re here to help you bring your verdant dreams to life. Contact us here for a boutique experience from first consultation to final construction and beyond.

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