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My GreenStalk Vertical Planter Review

Looking for an unbiased GreenStalk vertical planter review? I’m sharing my thoughts on the original and the leaf versions of this vertical gardening solution and showing you how I set my GreenStalk 7-tier leaf. This review is not sponsored, but it does contain affiliate links.

My totally unbiased GreenStalk vertical planter review!

Hey all! Today I have another product review for you. If you’ve been on Instagram or YouTube and gone down the gardening rabbit hole, you’ve probably encountered the GreenStalk vertical planter

It’s super popular among the influencer crowd—and that’s no surprise. It looks like a quality product, and it solves a few problems many have. A lack of…

  • Space for a large garden
  • Desire to maintain large garden beds
  • Mobility or skills required for setting up extensive garden

And the list goes on. I have written about DIY vertical gardening solutions before. Growing up has always been a huge love of mine! So I decided to throw some of my own money down and invest in a GreenStalk leaf planter to review.

building out a greenstalk vertical garden
plants growing in a greenstalk leaf

Are vertical planters good?

First let’s talk about vertical planters in general. Vertical gardening has many benefits, including maximizing the area you have to grow plants and increasing the accessibility of gardening.

Vertical gardens can also help you grow in more non-traditional spaces. When we moved into our first apartment with a balcony, I built a little vertical garden that worked great on our second-story balcony!

You can also move them around based on the time of year. If it gets really hot where you live, you might want to move your vertical garden into a shadier spot depending on what you’re growing in your planter.

Vertical gardens can also help with conserving water. That’s because you generally water them from the top, and water drains from the top bed down. This is pretty similar to what I did when I hung a bunch of pots up our deck posts using pot clips.

filling a greenstalk garden with soil

What are the disadvantages of vertical gardening?

But there are disadvtanages of vertical gardening, too. First, given the smaller space of the growth area, there are some things that are better to grow than others. I’m planning to use mine for smaller things like lettuce, spinach, kale, and herbs.

I’ll also plant on including some other shorter flowers as I have extra seeds. I might try some bigger crops like tomatoes to review how they perform.

And while watering vertical gardens can help to conserve water, container gardening in general needs more frequent watering. Plants in raised beds and in the ground retain water for longer, whereas container plants generally need to be watered every day where I live.

There are also generally more start-up costs. If you choose something like a GreenStalk planter, they aren’t cheap. I went with the 7-tier leaf planter and waited for it to go on sale—snagged it for $120.

Base prices on GreenStalk planters range from $130 to $190 depending on the model and number of tiers you choose. However, if you use it year after year, this start-up cost might be worth it to you!

lettuce and herbs growing in a greenstalk

Have a small outdoor space? Check out our tiny townhome backyard in 2019, then in 2020, and finally in 2021 for lots of ideas on how to maximizing space!

What can you grow in a GreenStalk vertical planter?

While vertical gardening can limit the types of plants you can grow, you can still grow a lot of plants with your GreenStalk. GreenStalk has a handy PDF printable you can reference here, but here’s an overview:

  • Herbs: Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Fennel, Lavender Lemon Balm, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme
  • Greens: Arugula, Kale, Lettuce, Spinach, Swisschard
  • Veggies & more: Beet, Carrot, Garlic, Onion, Parsnips, Pea, Raddish, Strawberry, Turnip
  • Flowers: Marigold, Marigold

Those are all things you can grow in the leaf. In the original planter, you can grow all of the things you can grow in the leaf, plus these:

  • Veggies: Bok choy, Broccoli, Bush bean, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Leek, Pepper, Potato, Squash, Sweet potato, Tomato, Zucchini
  • Flowers & more: Alyssum, Coleus, Dianthus, Dusty Miller, Mum, Nasturtium, Petunia
  • Fruit: Cantaloupe, Watermelon

And I’m assuming that these are the things that the folks at GreenStalk have tested. There are definitely other things that would be appropriate for growing in these planters. Basically anything that can be grown in smaller containers.

I might test out a smaller tomato in my leaf planter to see how it performs. When I ordered my seeds from Baker’s Creek this year, they sent me a free seed packet with seeds for teeeeeeny tiny spoon tomatoes that might make a good container option!

beautiful greenstalk vertical garden

What is the difference between GreenStalk original & leaf?

GreenStalk has two vertical planters to choose from: the original and the leaf. Both are made from high-quality, food-grade, UV-resistant plastic that is BPA, BPS, and PVC free.

The biggest difference between the two planters is the size of the growth pockets—the original’s are larger, the leaf’s are more petite.

Here is an overview of the original:

  • Base price of $130-170
  • Comes in 5-tier and 3-tier options; individual shelf add-ons are available for $32
  • Each level on the original has 6 planting pockets, so the 5-tier option has 30 total planting pockets
  • The plant pockets are each 10” deep

Here is an overview of the leaf:

  • Base price of $150-190
  • Comes in 5-tier and 7-tier options; individual shelf add-ons are $25
  • Each level on the leaf also has 6 planting pockets, but they are only 7” deep
  • Because the plant pockets are not as deep as the original’s, the leaf can pack in more plant pockets and growing space

I decided on the 7-tier leaf because I want to use this mostly for growing greens and herbs, so I prioritized the number of plant pockets over their depth. This might be different for you, though.

oregano growing in a greenstalk

What is the best soil to use in a GreenStalk planter?

I don’t ever like to skimp on soil, but I sometimes skimp on it for in-ground soil. For containers, though—it’s extra important to get the good stuff. And to add nutrients as necessary.

That’s because the soil is completely enclosed in each plant pocket. I recommend using a lightweight potting mix from your local nursery. Something designed for containers. DOn’t use topsoil, raised bed soil, or garden soil—it will be too heavy.

I generally like to pick up a big bag of Fox Farm soil from my favorite local nursery. It’s more of an investment up front, but it’s generally worth it when you are rewarded with lots of healthy growth!

soil for a greenstalk garden
lettuce growing in a greenstalk vertical garden
catnip growing in a greenstalk

How many bags of soil does it take to fill a GreenStalk planter?

The number of soil bags you need will depend on the planter you choose. Each shelf on the original model holds about 1 cubic foot of potting mix (8 gallons). Each shelf on the leaf holds a bit less—.75 cubic feet, or 6 gallons.

Take that measurement and multiply it by the number of tiers you have. I’ll be doing a mix of roughly 90:10 Fox Farms soil to lightweight leaf compost, and I’ll need a total of just over 5 cubic feet of growing medium for my 7-tier leaf.

Want to try a GreenStalk vertical garden? Use my code BYBRIT at checkout when purchasing your GreenStalk to get $10 off!

What fertilizer should I use for my plants?

This is totally up to you. I am not a fertilizer snob and do not have strong opinions on the topic. Sometimes I use those gnarly blue Miracle-Gro crystals, and other times I use organic stuff.

Because I’m a big fan of Fox Farm soil, I’m going to be trying out their “Grow Big” fertilizer for vegetative growth. It’s a liquid concentrate that you just add when you water your planter through the top reservoir. (I also used this for my seed starting this year.)

fox farm grow big fertilizer
lettuce and herbs growing in a greenstalk vertical garden

How often do you water GreenStalk vertical planters?

And speaking of watering, you’re probably wondering how to water this bad boy. Since it sits outside, it will obviously get rain in all of the individual pockets as mother nature sees fit. 

However, the main method to water your GreenStalk plants is through the top reservoir. You add water to the top, and GreenStalk’s patented watering system delivers water down through funnels on the inside of the planter.

That means that you don’t have to water each individual plant pocket. Just add water to the top. Add it to the reservoir until it’s full or until you see water draining from the bottom tier of the vertical structure.

The disc between each shelf drips water into each of its plant pockets, and excess water them drains to the shelf below it. Pretty cool.

water tray on a greenstalk leaf
adding a water tray to the greenstalk leaf
lettuce and herbs growing in a greenstalk vertical garden

Like this? Check out my My Click & Grow Garden Review!

Things to keep in mind with the water holes

I have read in some reviews that the watering holes can become blocked with soil. This is one reason why it’s so important to use a lightweight soil that doesn’t get super compacted.

If soil gets too dry, that can also lead to compacting. So make sure to monitor your plants and soil to determine how often you need to water them. I have to water my containers daily in July and August (if it doesn’t rain)…much less when it’s not god awful hot.

Can you direct sow seeds in the planter pockets?

While the water reservoir is awesome, GreenStalk still recommends watering the pockets individually when you are direct-sowing seeds. This will help to ensure the surface level of the soil stays moist and the seed can germinate.

spinach growing in a greenstalk vertical garden
purple basil growing in a greenstalk leaf

Do I need any of the add-ons GreenStalk offers?

Ah, add-ons. They get me every time. I try to never buy add-ons until I determine what functionality is missing from the base model of whatever product I get.

However, I did decide to get an “ultimate spinner” so I could spin my planter around for maximum sun exposure. It will be on my patio, which gets much less light on the house side. You can also pop a little tube into the side of it to help drain water away from the spinner.

GreenStalk also has a “mover” with caster wheels. And an ultimate spinner/mover combo for ultimate mobility. I didn’t think it would be necessary for me.

You might also consider if you need to purchase the GreenStalk plant supports. These are trellises specifically designed for these vertical planters and are generally for the original model when growing larger plants. I don’t have these, but I’ve included a few pics below from GreenStalk to give you an idea.

You can buy them individually on the website if you only need one or two. Or you can buy a three-pack. There are other things on the website like frost protection covers and plant marker labels, too.

adding the drainage tube to the greenstalk

What is the warranty on GreenStalk?

And if it helps ease your worries, GreenStalk vertical planters come with a 5-year warranty that covers cracking and fading. You can send pictures of damaged pieces to their support team, and they’ll replace the individual pieces.

GreenStalk vertical planter review wrap-up

So, obviously I think it’s worth it because I bought one. The sale price wasn’t bad (definitely wait for a sale!), and it was super easy to put together. Great, small family company and good customer service.

I am looking forward to seeing how this vertical garden produces this spring and summer! And, as with all of my review posts, I’ll update this post when I have more to share and say about how it’s holding up. Plus, hopefully lots of gorgeous pictures of the growth. Until then, happy growing!

Want to try a GreenStalk vertical garden? Use my code BYBRIT at checkout when purchasing your GreenStalk to get $10 off!

Pin my GreenStalk vertical planter review!

collage that says greenstalk vertical garden overview including pictures of the garden

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