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Last updated on January 21st, 2020
Balconies are typically considered a very small outdoor area, one insufficient for a large garden but that does not mean you cannot grow suitable plants in your small space. No matter how big or small your balcony might be you can still create your garden using pots and other containers.
When you are looking for the best types of plants for your balcony you need to consider the weight of the container and the plant itself. Larger plants will be heavier. They will require more compost and sturdier pots such as terracotta. You need to know how much weight your balcony is able to sustain. You might be better off buying lighter plastic containers for the time being. You should also look for compost formulated for its lighter weight.
Once you have considered the size, consider the exposure. If your balcony is open with very little protection, and it is very windy most of the time you will have to provide some form of shelter for the plants. Alternatively, you can choose plants that are designed for highly exposed areas, usually plants that do well along the coast.
Tangentially you will have to see how much sun your balcony receives. If most of the day your balcony is in the shade you will need to find shade-loving plants. If your balcony has clear glass windows or sliding glass doors be aware of the fact that plants can be exposed to sun scorch as a result so you might be better off picking plants that have silver foliage, as this is more effective at preventing sun scorch.
Best Plants for a balcony
Consider growing herms with the added benefit of using them in meals
Some of the best plants for a balcony are herbs. Herbs bring with them fresh, aromatic growth but not only helps provide some aromatic break from the streets nearby or perhaps the neighbours next door, but they also give you an opportunity to reach out on your balcony and grab a fresh handful of herbs for your next meal. Most herbs will remain relatively small even at full maturity so they do particularly well in containers. If your balcony is sunny most of the time you can grow things like chives, rosemary, thyme, or sage.
Strawberries and tomatoes are perfect for trailing over a balcony
On a similar note, strawberries are one of the easiest fruits you can grow in containers and are great for young children too. They do quite well in hanging baskets affixed to balcony railings or in pots on your balcony. There are even special strawberry containers that have a tiered design to allow the strawberries to burst out at every turn.
Tomatoes are quite versatile and can be grown in window boxes, hanging baskets, or containers as long as you have a sunny balcony. You can grow small cherry tomatoes such as tumbling tom or tumbler mixed with spring onions, beans, even lettuce.
Bring house plants outdoors over summer when the weather allows
There are also typical house plants that you can grow outside on a sunny balcony such as cacti or succulents. There are even shade-loving houseplants that you can put out on your balcony such as tender ferns or calatheas.
Bedding plants come in so many varieties that you can mix and match. There are perennials and annuals so you can change up the display you have on your balcony every year. If your balcony is in the shade some of the day you can add begonias to your containers but if you have a lot of sun try zinnias or coleus.
Consider climbers such as jasmine and clematis
Jasmine is a highly scented plant that is also a climber. So if you are looking to grow something on your balcony that adds fragrant and can be used to provide some form of screening, Jasmine is perfect. Clematis is also another good option with many patio clematis being perfect for balconies.
Pot grown Acers make stunning shrubs with both upright and weeping varieties being suitable
If you have a sheltered spot on your balcony that is in the shade, you can pick a slow-growing dwarf variety of the Japanese maple which won’t get too large and can be grown in a pot. It loves the shade so slugs are not going to be a problem.
You can always grow different bulbs all year round to add colour and texture to your balcony no matter the season. You can pick snowdrops for the wintertime, tulips and daffodils for the spring, and plenty of options for summer.
If you want a lush perennial that will grow quite vigorously and give you an array of flowers, catmint, lamium, Heuchera, Hosta and Lady’s mantle are perfect.
And don’t forget that these plants are not the only thing you can add to your balcony. When you grow any of these top plants in containers you can always spruce up your balcony by adding things like lanterns, bee hotels, or a small set of tables and chairs on which to place some of the more aromatic plants.