Plants that Suit Balconies

The balcony is a place where you can sit and relax after a hard day’s work. Having a few plants growing in pots on the balcony will enhance the look of the space and increase your enjoyment of it. However, it is essential to take note of just what the weather conditions are like. High balconies are often cool, windy places; others may be exposed to hot sun all day long, while still others may be on the shady side of the building and not get much sun at all. Then there are those that have shade for most of the day, but when in sun it is scorching hot. If your balcony is like that, choose shade-lovers and use a screen to shelter them from the sun.

Most plants need a certain amount of sun to grow successfully, but if you have a shady balcony you can still grow shade-loving plants such as ferns. To get colour, use plants that have colourful foliage like coleus and begonia. So what plants are hardy enough to withstand the vagaries of wind and weather on a balcony?

Here are a few options.

For Sunny Balconies

  • Boxwood
  • Bay trees
  • Salvia
  • Citrus trees
  • Succulents
  • Dwarf bougainvilleas
  • Gazanias and nasturtiums – for sunny balconies
  • Dwarf agapanthus
  • Japanese Pittosporum
  • Indian Hawthorn

For Shady Balconies

  • Foxgloves
  • Impatiens
  • Meadowsweet
  • Ferns
  • Camellias and hydrangeas
  • Spider plant
  • Columbine
  • Fuchsia and many more

What about Wind?

If your balcony catches a lot of wind, avoid those plants that get top heavy as they are likely to topple over. Balls on sticks may look wonderful, but avoid them unless you can tie them to the railing –  or grow them in a very heavy pot.  Add interest to your garden by adding plants with different shaped leaves. Tall spiky leaves make a good contrast with fat, round ones or more delicate oval leaves. If the leaves are variegated, so much the better. Many plants have attractive leaves and there are many shades of green, so make sure you get a good variety to add interest when there are no flowers blooming.

Generally speaking, flowers with tall this stems will not do well in windy places. Plants with wide but delicate leaves are also likely to be damaged in wind. Climbers may be okay if you have a secure trellis you can tie the branches to.

Some vegetables/fruit can be grown in pots on balconies and the best way to find out which ones suit your balcony climate is to try them in a small pot first. Usually, the smaller the vegetable, the more successful in will grow in a pot.

  • Cherry and oval (egg) tomatoes
  • Herbs
  • Lettuce
  • Eggplant
  • Peppers
  • Radish
  • Beans
  • Strawberries
  • Dwarf citrus
  • Snap or snow peas
  • Beets

Remember that vegetables have a greater need for a nutritious potting mix to grow well and they must be watered regularly. Most need at least 6 hours of sunlight for success. Larger pots are best for veggies and they must have good drainage.

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