Are hydroponic DIY vertical gardens going to work?

Are hydroponic DIY vertical gardens going to work?

chris wilkins
Picture: John Feder Source: News Corp Australia

Vertical gardens can either be soil or water based. The water based systems – hydroponic – enable vertical gardens to reach incredible heights but they are also a trickier system to keep alive. It has been said by experts in the industry that the general public do not have the skill set to maintain a hydroponic vertical garden. There is a feeling that a DIY hydroponic vertical garden is doomed to fail.


It all depends on who buys the system (and the honesty of the product’s marketing). It also depends on new technologies.

In Australia a new water/air based vertical garden system has just launched. PodPlants, designed by Chris Wilkins, is a water based system that claims to reduce the technical problems associated with growing plants without soil. His design involves suspending plants mid air with a nutrient solution delivered to their roots via droplets.

We spoke with Chris to get further understanding why this product is different from other hydroponic systems.

Yes PodPlants is a type of hydroponics, and I agree hydroponics in general are great if you are an expert in hydroponics. Hence why hydroponics have not be successfully adopted by the main stream. This was certainly a criteria in our design brief, Hydro is hard because, you need to figure out the water cycles, frequency, type of growing media, oxygen in root zone, even distribution of water in the media, making sure it does not track around plants and create dry patches etc. the list goes on and on.

What we have is 2 novelties which address these issues

1. We have an enclosed system, we maintain an almost static ‘aeroponic’ environment (nutrient water droplets in the air) therefore we don’t have watering cycles or any of these other issues. Our systems have been accidentally turned off by cleaners over the Easter break and survived 3 days without power because they are enclosed, also depends on the temp and species.

2. We don’t use any pumps, filters or nozzles – the things which tend to need maintenance or servicing, and tend to be points of failure.

We have been running our systems for 12+ months and have customers who have no idea about hydro growing

As well as the technology we are excited by the system’s ability to to be freestanding, offer height and be moved around a house.

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