Monthly Archives: July 2016

Taking Houseplants To The Next Level

By   07/23/2016

I recently took a trip overseas and witnessed one of the coolest use of houseplants I’ve ever seen. Generally, when you think of houseplants, you think of a few pots full of plants growing indoors. And technically, that’s what I saw here, too. But it was so much more.

They converted every single wall in this house into a living wall. They were basically completely green and completely overgrown with plans. All the floors were grass. They were a type of grass that was extremely comfortable to walk on and is basically better than any carpet.

houseplants on a living wall

A living wall in Hong Kong [By Ronald Lu & Partners – Ronald Lu & Partners, CC BY 3.0,]

Some rooms didn’t have grass. Instead, they had much larger growths. They were basically jungle rooms and were really cool. Other rooms had moss floors. I loved these!

I’ve never seen anything like it and was completely blown away. It’s basically like living in nature, except you’re still indoors. This means that the elements are much more controlled than they would be if you were living outside. You don’t face a lot of the dangers you would outside. That said, you do face some of the same pests.

As you can imagine a house like this attracts a lot of insects. If you lived outdoors, you’d be dealing with them anyways. They don’t bother some people and they don’t bother the owners of this house. I don’t think they would bother me too much either. But that just depends on each individual.

mossy wall

Moss-covered wall [By Fred Hsu on en.wikipedia – Photo taken and uploaded by user, CC BY-SA 3.0,]

In order to keep a house like this, you do need to regulate the environment somewhat. Naturally, you have to get a lot of water in there, so you need some kind of irrigation and outflow system. You also need to provide lighting.

Providing indoor grow lights for this many plants is not cheap. Buying them is expensive and running them is even more expensive. Standard HID grow lights would also increase the heat way too much. You want this house to be warmer than normal and naturally it will be, but you don’t want to use HID lights as you would have to ventilate it too much.

The best solution are LED grow lights. That’s what these people were using. They were using full-spectrum white LED grow lights made by NextLight, one of the most reputable companies out there. Specifically they were using the NextLight Mega LED fixture. They had a couple of these on the ceiling of each room and they lit up the rooms beautifully. It was basically like having bright sunlight in every room.

That’s the reason for using white LEDs. If you’re living beneath the lights every day, you don’t want the standard pinkish LED light. It would just be too strange to see that everyday. It also wouldn’t be good for your vision. These MEGAs basically provide the same light as the sun. They are a lot more powerful than the sun, taking distance into account of course, so you don’t want to look directly at them.

But if you put them up on the ceiling, they are far enough away that you can comfortably live beneath them. They basically end up being the same strength as sunlight, which is perfect for these clients. Another good solution is a light like the Optic 6 which I would get later (yes, I came back and updated this post!), because it combines white light and the colored diodes, giving you the best of both worlds.

These people also had a lot of animals in this house. Not real jungle animals, obviously, but animals you generally see in a house and then a few additions. They had dogs and cats, who completely loved living there. They also had a monkey or two and a couple of more exotic animals that were also right at home in this environment. In a way, it was kind of like going to the zoo. It was just really cool to be hanging around in this house among all the plants and animals.

If you would like to replicate this in your own house, I’d first advise you not to do it. It will be a lot of work, cost a lot of money, and you’d probably get tired of it pretty quick. I loved visiting this, but I don’t think I would love living there. I certainly wouldn’t love having to take care of it all.

That said, if you still want to do it, you basically just need to plant a whole bunch of plants everywhere, you need to get the lights and you need to figure out a system for the watering. This can all get pretty complicated. If you are really interested, drop us a line and we will put you in touch with the owners, so you can try to replicate it yourself.