Are you dreaming of an urban garden but just don’t have the suburban quarter acre? Your balcony, courtyard or even window box can offer you the perfect piece of real estate to get your green thumb on.
But I know what you’re thinking, my balcony is a windy, baking hot spot, nothing will grow! Well with some proper plant selection your balcony garden can thrive despite the micro climate.
Succulents, such as agave, are a great low maintenance and drought tolerant option for all pot sizes big and small. With the current trend of creating miniature gardens contained within glass containers known as terrariums, the options and styles are endless with designer succulents available at most nurseries. Mix and match styles to create arid landscapes with a variety of forms and textures.
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Bougainvillea is a trusty climber with a vibrant pink flower that can soften and barren balcony or courtyard. It is especially useful over a bare balustrade or large heat sink walls. Place a growing frame near or in the pot to encourage creeping growth but be careful of the spikelets which can make care and pruning a little tricky.
You must water plants regularly! Irrigation systems can be perect for the forgetful and time poor gardener.
Patio Roses & Nasturtiums
Patio roses or miniature floribunda roses are surprisingly indestructible as are nasturtiums. Both are a great option if a bit more colour is what you’re after. Water twice weekly and during the growing season fertilise with some high-quality liquid fertiliser every few weeks. Nasturtiums like a sunny, well-drained position which makes them perfectly suited to container gardening. Pick the flowers regularly to prolong the flowering period. Plus if you’ve got inquisitive toddlers, both the flowers and leaves are edible!
Rosemary is a fantastic hardy shrub which can be planted in both pots and directly in the garden. Especially, coastal rosemary is an ideal balcony plant. This trusty native can be pruned into more formal shapes such as hedges and balls, has low water needs, loves direct sun, eats up windy conditions but unfortunately is not of the edible variety. Swap out for an edible species if you’re keen on a Sunday lamb roast.
Feed plants with slow-release fertiliser in spring and summer and add liquid feed when needed.
For something fragrant, the Gardenia is an always popular choice. They grow everywhere, from the cold to the tropics, have big milky white flowers with a soft scent not as overpowering as jasmine and has a fragrance that blends with its surroundings. But be warned, gardenias can be a difficult customer and do like to be kept moist and require regular liquid feeding.
For something a little more maintenance free, try lavender. There are hundreds of varieties available all with beautiful fragrance. They’re basically drought tolerant and love plenty of sun. Cut off the dead flowers as they’re produced and the plant will be triggered to produce more! Plus even the dead blossoms keep their scent, so you can collect a bundle and keep them inside your home.
Need some help deciding how to plant out your new inspired balcony garden? Check out our article here for great tips on using pots in your garden design.