As the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop, your living wall undergoes a fascinating transformation. Winter brings a unique set of challenges and opportunities for this vertical garden. So, what can you expect from your living wall during the winter months?
In this blog, we will explore what plants and wildlife to anticipate from your living wall during winter, as well as special considerations for its maintenance to maximise its potential.
Pre-winter Living Wall Upkeep
Preparing your living wall for the winter months is essential to maintain its health and vibrancy. Begin by assessing the condition of the plants, pruning away any old growth, and considering the replacement of sensitive species. Ensure well-draining soil and adjust your irrigation system to reflect the reduced water requirements in colder weather, being cautious not to overwater.
When the weather is freezing, the irrigation system may have to be turned off for a couple of days as there may be ice within the irrigation pipe. This ice blockage would prevent water flow and therefore could damage the irrigation pump. During a period of freezing temperatures, the soil moisture levels would need monitoring.
Regular maintenance tasks, such as cleaning, pest checks, and overall health assessment, should continue throughout the winter. By taking these steps, you can help your living wall not only survive but also thrive during the winter, ensuring a lush and appealing display throughout the season.
What to Expect from Your Living Wall During the Cold Months
In most climates, plants on a living wall tend to grow more slowly or become dormant in the winter due to lower light levels, shorter daylight hours, and cooler temperatures. Expect a decrease in overall plant growth and flowering during this season.
Living walls typically require more maintenance during the winter. Monitoring soil moisture levels is crucial as well as reducing plant food in autumn and stopping it over the winter months.
Potential for Year-Round Beauty
With careful planning and plant selection, you can design a living wall that maintains its visual appeal year-round. By including a mix of evergreen plants, cold-resistant species, and seasonal bloomers, you can create a dynamic living wall that adapts to the changing seasons.
Winter Living Wall Plant Life
The plant life you can expect to see on your living wall in winter largely depends on your location, climate, and plant selection. During the winter months, many plant species change such as dormancy or reduced growth due to lower temperatures and shorter daylight hours. However, some species are better equipped to withstand the winter conditions and may retain their visual appeal.
Common plant selections for winter living walls may include:
- Evergreen Species: These plants retain their foliage throughout the year, providing greenery even in winter. Examples include various ferns, ivy, and certain ornamental grasses.
- Cold-Resistant Perennials: Some perennial plants can tolerate colder temperatures and may display seasonal colour changes. Examples include winter-blooming flowers like pansies or hellebores.
- Native Plants: Species indigenous to your region are often better equipped to handle local weather conditions, including winter. Research and select native plants that can withstand cold temperatures. For example, Viola Odorata (English Violet) is a native English species which provides for the local flora if your wall is based in the UK.
What Wildlife Can You Expect to See in Your Living Walls During Winter?
The presence of animals and insects in your living wall during the winter months can vary depending on the region, climate, and the design of your living wall. While the colder temperatures typically lead to a reduction in insect and animal activity, it's still possible to encounter some of them. Here are a few possibilities:
- Overwintering Insects: Some insects, like ladybugs, certain beetles, and butterflies, go into a state of dormancy or hibernation during the winter. They may seek shelter in crevices or plant material on your living wall.
- Birds: Birds can visit living walls in search of food or shelter. Some bird species may forage for seeds or insects, especially if your living wall includes flowering plants.
- Beneficial Insects: In some cases, beneficial insects such as predatory beetles or parasitoid wasps may continue their activities, as they help control other pest populations.
To address these potential visitors, consider a few measures:
- Regularly inspect your living wall for any signs of pest activity or animal damage.
- Keep the living wall clean by removing dead plant material and debris that could attract pests.
- Ensure the structure of your living wall is well-maintained and sealed to prevent unwanted visitors.
It is important to remember that a well-designed living wall will provide beneficial winter flowering species that provide sources of pollen or nectar for insects.
While the winter months generally lead to decreased insect and animal activity, being aware of the possibility of occasional visitors will help you maintain the health and integrity of your living wall throughout the season.
Book a Consultation with Viritopia
The performance of your living wall in winter depends on factors like climate, plant selection, and maintenance. While there may be reduced growth and plant activity during the colder months, proper design and care can help ensure that your living wall remains an attractive and sustainable feature throughout the year.
With over 20 years of experience of designing and maintaining biophilic infrastructure, Viritopia can create a detailed plan of how a scheme will meet regulatory requirements. We assist with faster planning process and provide you with what’s needed to elevate your project. Book a living wall consultation with our expert team today or find out more about our green walls and their benefits.