Plants To Grow On Balconies

Your balcony may be just a tiny space or have room for table and chairs but whatever the size it is worth using every inch of floor and wall space to provide a display that gives maximum effect.

Using the floor

If you have the room, a group of pots of different heights and in varying widths can create a waterfall of colour in one corner. Short of space? Then screw shelves to side or back walls and place narrow boxes at different levels.

Hang boxes on the outside of the balcony rail to enlarge the area, but make sure they are well secured. In the same way use the top of a wall.

Consider the aspect

Balconies are usually viewed from two opposite sides, so remember both these aspects when planning the space, and when choosing plants consider the direction the balcony faces — north, south, east or west. If the position is very windy, line the railing with transparent polythene.

An outdoor roomPlants To Grow On Balconies

If you have a large balcony you can turn it into an extension of your home. It is important to achieve a balance between plants, pots and furniture. Choose summer-flowering plants to extend your garden theme and, for maximum privacy, erect a trellis for climbing plants.

Practical tips

  • For even growth, turn plants around periodically and, if necessary, switch them from one spot to another.
  • In hot weather, water plants daily as containers and hanging baskets dry out quickly.
  • If in doubt, get an expert to check if your balcony can take heavy weights.
  • Secure containers on or close to walls — accidents can happen with high winds.

Colour scheming

Stick to a maximum of two colours if you want to create the most stunning effect. This need not be a restriction as you can alter the scheme between winter and summer planting.

When choosing plant colours bear in mind the tones of the surrounding walls and choose or paint containers in a colour that will best show off your plants. You will probably see your scheme most often from the inside of the house, so make sure that the colours harmonize with the room’s scheme. The use of the same colours inside and out will also create a spacious effect. If you mix colours choose those that are sympathetic and close on the spectrum — pinks and blues, or yellows and oranges.

If you are surrounded by other balcony owners who are keen gardeners discuss colour schemes with them, so that your balconies will harmonize.

Plants or climbers positioned at the base of an outside wall will become part of a scheme for a balcony so consider these in the scheme.

Food for free

There is no reason why a balcony should not supply delicious home-grown herbs, fruit and vegetables – even edible flowers! Pick varieties that are well-known for their taste, or unusual and therefore difficult to buy.

Runner beans, mange-tout peas, blackberries, loganberries and tomafoes can all be grown up walls. In boxes try the decorative red and green salad bowl lettuces, curly endives and red-leafed winter chicories. Intersperse with salad herbs like chives, parsley, sorrel, and the salad flowers, pansies and nasturtium, for colourful salads.

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