So many people love to dabble with growing things. It seems to be an innate need to reduce our stress levels and get more enjoyment from life. Watching plants grow and bloom is a joy, but if you live in a high-rise apartment, where can you grow them? The balcony many provide the answer. Growing plants on the balcony is not difficult if you take certain factors into consideration.
Here are 6 tips that will help you create a haven in the form of an attractive, plant-strewn balcony where you can relax and enjoy yourself.
- Take note of the environment. Is your balcony on the sunny side, the shady side or the windy side? Many balconies have harsh climates, especially if they are on the sunny side and it is also windy. However, that does not mean that your plant growing aspirations are doomed before they start. Choose plants carefully and ensure that they are hardy and adaptable. If you live next to the seaside, choose plants that don’t mind some salt on their leaves.
- Remember that pot plants up high will often dry out quickly, so water them more often. Use water holding crystals and good quality potting mix. Group the pots together so that each one gets some shade from its neighbour. This is also a good way to prevent pots blowing over. Add some mulch to the top of the potting mix to help hold the moisture in.
- If your balcony gets a lot of wind, don’t choose plants that will become top-heavy as they are likely to blow over. You can mitigate the wind factor by positioning the pots against a wall. However, choose plants that are sturdy rather than delicate with long pendulous stems as these are likely to break. Small flowers and narrow leaves are better than big ones that will catch the wind. But succulents often have thick heavy leaves and these are very hardy, so should grow successfully on a balcony. Plants with berries will give you interest for longer than those that just have flowers.
- What about shade? Some balconies have almost total shade. This can be solved by growing plants that are shade-lovers. If it is not too cold, ferns should grow well in this kind of environment. There are many other choices. Choose those with pretty leaves so you will have colour all year round.
- Don’t depend solely on living plants for colour and variety. There are many garden ornaments from whimsical animals to elegant statues and casual rocks that will be great additions to your balcony and create lots of interest. Add some comfortable chairs so you can sit and relax in comfort, enjoying your piece of heaven.
- Remember the weight factor. You can reduce this by buying lightweight pots especially for balconies. Find out what weight your balcony was built to withstand and take everything on it into account, including the weight of the water you use.
You can also go into growing climbers by adding some trellis to the back or sides of the balcony, but it is a good idea to affix it permanently so it cannot blow over. This adds vertical interest and may allow you to grow more that if you just had non-climbers.