When it comes to living wall plants, Mother Nature has given us many beautiful varieties to choose from. Succulent walls are a trendy, low-maintenance option, while preserved moss walls make the perfect indoor decor. Tropical plants, however, can be used to create some of the lushest, leafiest, most vibrant living walls you’ll ever see.
Depending on the location of your wall, you can choose from tropical plants that prefer full sun or shade. There’s a style of plant to suit every taste—from voluminous, grass-like varietals to elegant florals and bold leafy greenery, you can create the living wall you’ve been dreaming of with tropical plants.
Ready to dive in? Here are some of our top tropical plants for living wall designs.
Tropical Plants: Made for the Shade
If your living wall is in a shady locale or even indoors, these are just a few of the plants that will thrive in your vertical garden.
Gold Allusion (Syngonium Podophyllum)
Known for its golden-green hue, the Gold Allusion thrives in shady spots and can grow up to six feet in length. When caring for this plant, allow it to dry out only partially between waterings. It is also recommended to reduce watering in the wintertime.
Song of India (Dracaena Reflexa)
Eye-catching yellow trims the leaf edges of the Song of India, which can grow several feet tall. This plant prefers the soil to be slightly dry between waterings and needs to avoid direct sun in order to thrive.
Birds Nest Fern (Asplenium Nidus)
The Birds Nest Fern fans out elegantly and can grow one to two feet in size. You’ll want to avoid direct sunlight and water this plant frequently enough to keep the soil moist—although not too much as this species can be prone to root rot.
Lemon Lime Maranta (Maranta Leuconeura)
With a name like the Lemon Lime Maranta, this plant looks as fresh as it sounds! Its full, two-tone leaves stand out when it grows up to 14-18 inches in length. Water this one thoroughly once a week for optimal care.
Zebra Plant (Aphelandra Squarrosa)
Aptly named the Zebra Plant, this varietal features striated leaves that mimic a zebra’s coat. It can grow up to 12 inches tall and prefers the soil to dry slightly between waterings. While you’ll want to avoid direct sun, this particular plant thrives in a brightly lit area. Avoid temperatures below 55 degrees.
Tropical Plants: Fun in the Sun
Want an outdoor living wall that gets a lot of sunlight? These plants will thrive in full sun, moderate light, or indirect/partial light.
Little River Wattle (Acacia Cognata)
Nicknamed “Cousin It” for its long, hair-like appearance, the LIttle River Wattle can reach two to three feet tall and up to six feet wide. It prefers full or partial sun and can be watered once every two weeks once its roots have taken hold.
Emerald Ripple Pepper (Peperomia Caperata)
Pretty pops of pepper red on the leaves of the Emerald Ripple Pepper can add some color to your living wall. To care for this plant, water thoroughly once the soil is mostly dry, making sure not to soak the soil or let it completely dry out. While this plant prefers moderate to bright indirect light, it can tolerate some morning or evening direct sun.
Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon Japonicus)
Grassy and fabulous, this plant can reach 12-15 in height and prefers full sun or partial shade. You’ll want to water Mondo Grass weekly, unless this guy is living in extreme heat (in which case, you’ll need to water more often).
Lily Turf (Liriope Spicata)
Known for its lilac-colored flowers, Lily Turf makes a great filler with its grass-like foliage. The plant typically reaches 9-15 inches tall and spreads 12-24 inches wide. Water your Lily Turf regularly but not every day, being sure to keep the soil moist as it does best in full sun or partial shade.
Goldchild Ivy (Hedera Helix)
Goldchild Ivy is a great space filler, with golden trim along its five-point leaves. To care for this type of ivy, keep the soil moistened thoroughly and rewater when the top half inch of soil feels dry. This will help it grow up to 10 feet in length with a three-foot spread. Can be kept in full sun, or partial-to-full shade.
Enjoyed learning about the various plants we use in our living walls? Find out more about the types you can use in your own design by downloading our plant resource guides here. You can also learn more about plant varieties on the True Vert blog.