If you live in an apartment or a condominium, balcony container gardening could be for you. Balcony container gardening is also enjoyed by people who live in town houses. This can be because this kind of gardening has several advantages over the traditional style of gardening.
When you’re gardening in a container, you have a lot more control over the gardening environment. In a situation like this, you’re using a potting soil that has low soil content. This means that the soil will be clean, free of bugs, and free of diseases.
Also, if you’re living in an apartment that is significantly above the ground level – not many insects will fly into your home. This would mean that you wouldn’t have to deal with nearly as many insects as other gardeners have to.
Because your plants are on your balcony, they are only a few steps away. For this reason, you can move them according to your needs if a storm comes of if there happens to be an early frost.
Watering your plants and grooming them according to your needs is also a lot easier since they are always in your balcony. As a result, balcony container plants care for a lot more than plants that are in a person’s garden.
You can enjoy the benefits of gardening from the comfort of your own home without ever having to go out. Mostly, the only thing separating you from your garden is your living room. There are several container ideas that you can use to improve the overall look of your garden. But before you start improving your garden creative container ideas – you need to first evaluate the space you have.
Evaluating Your Garden Space
When you’re growing plants in your garden, your options are limited. You can easily grow shrubs, small trees, flowers as well as vegetables. Before you start gardening in your balcony, you need to consider the following aspects of balcony container gardening:
- What is your plan? How large is the area you’re planning to use as your garden space? Do you want this area to be private or do you want it to be a place where you can relax with your guests? Are you mainly interested in growing herbs or vegetables?
- Try to figure out the climate of your balcony gardening space. Which way is your balcony facing? How much sunlight does your balcony receive daily? Does your balcony have enough access to rainwater? It is important you spend some time evaluating your garden space for factors like sunlight, shade and wind. These factors make a big difference to the kind of plants you can grow on your balcony.
- Try to evaluate the safety of your balcony. Most buildings suggest that a building’s balcony can support up to 60 pounds per square foot. The weight, however, can be different for every building. So before you start gardening on your balcony, make sure you know the weight limit.
High-pressure winds, strong amounts of light, and excessive cold and heat conditions can make your balcony a harsh place for young plants. Before you start putting plants in your balcony, understand the shade and sunlight patterns before you expose your plants to the environment.
Once you’ve taken out the time to understand the conditions in your balcony – you’re ready to pick containers for your balcony.
Considerations for Gardening With Containers
When it’s about gardening on your balcony with containers, there are few considerations you need to make. These considerations don’t apply to every container you can use. The most important are the:
- Selection of Containers
- Plant Watering
- Use of Space
Selection of Containers
Try to garden with containers that are either made from fiberglass or plastic. These kinds of containers are your best choices. They are attractive and lightweight, which makes them easy to carry or move around. Another benefit is that these containers won’t crack like the ceramic, terracotta ones. If left outside in freezing temperatures – these containers can crack.
If you’re trying to pick a container made from wood, try to pick cedarwood. It is lightweight, and it also looks pretty. Try to use a potting mix that has very little amounts of soil in it. This can be another way of keeping your containers light. The best kind of soil for this purpose are peat-based soils.
Moths, butterflies, beetles and bees won’t be able to pollinate your plants since they won’t necessarily fly to your second or third story apartment. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that pollination isn’t important for your plants! If you’re growing vegetables, it is essential that your plants are pollinated. If your balcony is a windy spot – wind pollination might be enough. The wind might help pollen fly very easily.
But if you have little wind and little to no insects in your garden, you will have to pollinate your plants on your own. This is essential for plants like cucumbers, squash, peppers and tomatoes. To pollinate, gently shake the cage of pepper and tomato plants every week. You don’t have to do anything else; you just have to shake the pollen a bit so it can travel from the male part of the plant to the female.
Try to hand-pollinate during the hot part of the day. When the temperature is hot, the humidity is low. Plants like beans, peas and lettuce can pollinate on their own, and they won’t need your help. When you’re choosing your plants, their descriptions will explain whether these are plants for the full sun, partial shade or partial sun.
If a plant says full sun, that means it will need at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. Partial sunlight means that it needs around 3 to 6 hours of sunlight a day.
All container gardens require an adequate amount of water. It doesn’t matter if you’re living in the city or in the rural areas –adequate water supply is essential for every plant. But watering your plants daily can be tiring if you have a lot of plants in your garden. You’ll have to carry water in a pitcher or in a watering can.
One thing all gardeners can do in a situation like this is purchase a hose for their apartment. There are various apartment-sized hoses available in the market that can help you water your plants conveniently. These hoses are flexible and they curl back up when you’re done watering your plants. Buying them only takes a small investment and they are definitely worth the money you’re going to buy them for.
Another thing you can use to water your plants can be a slow-drip watering system.
Use of Space
When you’re balcony gardening with containers, you can find several ways to use the space of your balcony efficiently. Mostly balcony gardeners want to save as much floor space as they can when they’re setting up a garden space in their balcony. The two ways you can save up space is by using a tiered plant stand that helps you fit a lot of plants in one area, or you can hang pots on railings.
Another thing you can do to make your garden space look even more attractive is place your gardening pots in square boxes. These boxes compliment the corners of your balcony and make the space look tidy and attractive.
To increase the decorative appeal, hang flowering plants above these boxes.
Using the Vertical Space
When you’re balcony gardening with containers, it is essential that you make the most of the space that is available to you – and we’re talking about space other than the floor. Make sure that you use the vertical space in your garden as well. One way you can use this space effectively is by hanging baskets in the vertical space available to you.
According to experts, the concrete anchors that you use to hang your containers should be able to support four times the weight of the container you use them for. Because apart from the weight of the container, the anchor also has to support of the water you use and the extra soil, if you choose to add some.
Many flowering plants and vegetables do pretty well if you hang them in baskets. Plants that vine, like strawberries and tomatoes, are a few plants that you can use. You should try to hang baskets at a height that makes it easy to water them and that they make it easy for you to maintain privacy. Using the walls to your advantage can also help you make use of the vertical space available in your balcony garden.
Boxes or box-like containers can also be hung on walls, and they can eventually free up floor space in your balcony. If you have a lot of wall space to cover, you can group a lot of plants together. This will look great especially if you’re doing this with plants that look the same.
Creating Your Balcony
Apart from you using your space correctly, balcony gardening can take a lot of planning. A good approach would be to sketch out the balcony area plan first. You should do this before you go shopping for your containers and plants.
Try to decide where you’re going to place any of the outdoor furniture that you have in your house, and determine how much space your plants will take up. Measure the area of the walls, the floor and the railing that is attached to your balcony. Also, try to determine how much area you’re going to need if you’re trying to make a comfortable seating area in your balcony – if that is one of your considerations.
Depending on which vegetables you want to grow, try to use a 5-gallon container for cucumbers, cabbage, tomatoes, shrubs and dwarf trees. 5-gallon containers can also be used for climbing plants or large perennial plants. However, if you’re thinking of planting small plants like beets, carrots and peppers – they can do well in 2-gallon pots, too. You can plant these herbs in individual pots or you can also group them together in a planter container.
Flowers that grow annually can be planted in just about any container. The roots of these plants don’t need deep soil. Try to understand how many containers you’re going to need and decide where you’re going to place them before you buy them. When you do this, you’ll know beforehand what you can accommodate in your balcony, and you won’t have to come home with empty containers that you can’t use.
Design for Small Spaces
With the help of balcony gardening, you can decorate small spaces in your home. This allows you to show off different kinds of plants in a small space. Here’s a basic design idea that you can use:
Place a climbing plant against an upright wall. This plant is going to be the focal point of your balcony garden, so make sure this is the tallest plant that you have. One plant you can use for this purpose is ornamental grass. Fill the front space of your focal plant with medium-height plants that are bushy or compact. Conclusively, around the edge of the focal plant, display vines that fall over the edge.
You can also try to include artificial grass in your balcony garden. Great quality artificial grass can give your balcony garden a natural feeling without you having to care for real grass. This way, your garden can have the best of both worlds.
The installation process of artificial grass is fairly simple as well. You can also get creative and use the artificial grass to cover line planters or hanging baskets to give your garden a truly unique look. When you have so many ideas to get inspiration from – creating a balcony garden should be an easy task.
I am Elsa, love gardening. I spent lots of time with plants, flowers, it gives me lots of happiness.
I am sharing all the practical tips on how to grow various plants, flower plants, vegetables in the garden. Read more about me.