General gardening topics

Some of the best types of plants for a balcony from strawberries and herbs to shrubs and bulbs

Last updated on March 16th, 2022

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Balconies are typically considered a very small outdoor area, one insufficient for a large garden but that doesn’t 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.

Initial Considerations

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 and they will require more compost and sturdier pots such as terracotta. You need to know how much weight your balcony is able to sustain because 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 is very windy, most of the time you will need 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 because this is more effective at preventing sun scorch. 

Best Plants for a Balcony

Best herbs for growing on a balcony

Consider growing herbs that have 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 help 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 when they are fully established, 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 trailing over balcony

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 and even lettuce.

How to grow aloe vera plants

Bring houseplants outdoors over summer when the weather allows

There are also typical houseplants 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 balconies such as tender ferns or calatheas.

Ferns hanging over balcony

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, however, if you have a lot of sun try Zinnias or Coleus.

The star jasmine is a vigorous and medium-sized Evergreen vine that brings to your garden dark green leaves up to 8cm in length along wiry stems. At the end of spring, you will see an abundance of sweetly fragrant flowers that are white in shade and star in shape, reaching 2.5 centimetres on average. As the flowers age, they take on a creamy hue.

Consider climbers like 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 fragrance and to provide some form of screening, Jasmine is perfect. Clematis is also another good option with many patio clematises being perfect for balconies.

Pot grown Acers make stunning shrubs with both upright and weeping varieties being suitable

This Japanese maple tree is best known for the stunning foliage that takes on reddish-purple to green colours depending on the variety. It's quite tolerant of rabbits so if that is a pest you contend with currently, you won't have to worry once you plant your Japanese maple.

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 that 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.

Planting bulbs in containers on balconies

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 winter, Tulips and Daffodils for the spring with 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 for planting on containers to place on a balcony.

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.

Other Options

And don’t forget that these plants are not the only thing you can add to your balcony. When you grow any of these 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.

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

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