Balcony gardening can be tricky for those who do not know how to utilize limited space efficiently. No matter how big or small your balcony, you can still create a green garden and make that space one of your favorite spots. Read on to find some of the best pots for balcony gardening and unique DIY ideas to add some color to your garden:
Important Considerations for Your Balcony
You just moved into a new apartment with one or two small balconies. Even though your previous home had a large garden to grow trees, vegetables, and flowers, the current living space does not permit you to have such an extensive gardening plan as before.
Did you know you don’t need a large garden to grow luscious plants and flowers? It’s definitely possible to utilize limited space and make it greener than ever, allowing you to snack, read, or spend some ‘me-time’ in the natural space.
However, before you begin to purchase plants and pots for your balcony garden, some preliminary steps need to be followed. These steps include studying the limited space of your balcony, understanding what plants would grow there, and if there is timely access to water, sunlight exposure, etc.
What can I plant on my balcony? What is the easiest way to grow more plants? Can I efficiently utilize the limited space? If you’re asking yourself the following questions, you’re in the correct place. Here are some steps you should consider the space you’ve been provided with:
Location, Size and Weight
Ask yourself how big your balcony is and if it is well-suited for large plants that stem across several meters. Try to create a cognitive outline and picture large and small plants neatly placed on the edges of the balcony railing.
After this, research online and study the type of plants most commonly planted in a balcony that is about the same size as yours.
By applying your ideas and finding inspiration online, you’ll understand how to utilize the space you’re working with efficiently. Nobody wants a cramped space with no walking or sitting space in their balcony.
Not all balconies can hold plants, containers with soil, gardening tools, and furniture in one space. It is always better to check with your landlord or building engineer on the amount of weight your balcony can bear.
If you choose to plan large trees, their roots extend deeper into the soil, making the pot heavier than before. Hence, the weight you apply on the balcony flooring is significant before you face any construction defaults, creating a financial burden on you.
In terms of location, consider if your balcony is located under several other balconies on top. If yes, your plants will not get direct exposure to sunlight and rainfall.
Moreover, the balconies above will create a larger shadow and shaded area, making it difficult for the plants to grow.
To work around such issues, it is always advisable to choose plants that are ideal for low sunlight and water exposure.
Wind and Temperature
South-facing balconies have more exposure to sunlight than north-facing balconies that have only two hours of light a day. If the sun is too hot for south-facing balconies, the temperature can be lowered by spraying water on the floors and walls during the late afternoon.
Contrastingly, if the temperatures are too low for north-facing balconies, mirrors can be added all around the balcony walls to increase reflected light on the plants.
Depending on how high the balcony is, the amount of wind your plants receives also varies. The higher the balcony, the stronger the winds. Some plants are used to such types of winds, however, most house plants are not used to it and result in wilting.
To avoid extreme winds, open-textured screens or plastic barriers can be installed to protect the plants in any way possible.
If your balcony is exposed to high sunlight and wind, your plants would require continuous water as well. While rainfall is a good source for water, it cannot be relied on all times. This is because rain evaporates quickly in small soil surfaces such as pots and containers.
Additionally, rainwater can also flow directly onto the balcony floor rather than the pots, resulting in the plants receiving insufficient water.
Due to this, the balcony garden-owner should be the primary source of water distribution. Some simple tools to ensure efficient water being given to all plants include:
- Nylon hose attached to the kitchen faucet
- Water sprays for plants, walls, and floor
- Large water gallon
Selecting the Best Containers and Pots for Your Balcony Garden
Choosing the best pots for balcony gardening is equally important as studying the space and figuring out the rights plants for your balcony. Personal preferences often dictate the type of containers to opt for.
However, the size, shape, color, and material affect the way in which a plant grows inside the pot and eventually, sprouts to its optimal capacity.
Not only are pots and containers useful, but they also add versatility to your garden. If you choose to use colorful pots that hang on the walls, sides of the balcony, or the ceiling, your balcony will automatically look aesthetic.
Read on below to find some of the considerations before you purchase the best containers and pots for your balcony garden:
It is almost always easier to grow plants in larger pots than in small ones. This is because large pots hold more soil, which stays moist and provides the plants with necessary nutrition. Small containers are more prone to drying out, and oftentimes require watering twice a day.
Factors such as the type of plant you want to grow help determine how large or small the pot should be. The size of the pot works directly with the root system of the plants.
For instance, those that are root-bound plants require more soil and tend to dry out rapidly in spaces they have utilized each inch of soil available. In such a case, large pots are recommended so the plant can grow well.
Square, rectangular, or cylindrical-shaped pots need less water than tapered pots. The latter has more soil on the top half of the pot, where it dries out quicker. Square, rectangular and cylindrical-shaped pots hold more soil in the bottom half where moisture is retained and the plant roots receive sufficient energy.
Plant roots also follow water downward, which is why straight-sided containers tend to have healthier plant root systems. The primary plant roots often begin at two to three inches in the soil, making soil volume higher in straight-sided containers compared with those pots that fan outward from the top.
Once you’ve selected the size and shape of the pot, drainage holes are essential. Without a proper drainage system in the containers itself, the soil will become waterlogged and the plants will begin to die. The holes at the bottom of the pot do not need to be large, but sufficient enough to drain excess water in the soil.
In such a case where there is no hole in the container, try drilling one yourself. Often times, such pots are used as cachepots to hide the primary growing pot. You can grow your plants in a regular nursery pot and fit that in the decorative cachepot for aesthetic purposes.
Not many people are aware of this, but the color of your pots affect the heat and moisture available to the plants growing inside. Lighter colors reflect light and keep the plants cooler on the inside.
On the other hand, darker colors absorb heat and the plants tend to dry out quicker. During the spring and fall when sunlight is faint, dark pots will best suit heat-loving plants.
However, your taste dictates the color of your pots. Depending on the theme of your balcony garden, you can decide the color variants and patterns to opt for.
Clay or terracotta containers are convenient to use but easily breakable. In the Northern hemisphere, such pots need to be stored in a frost-free location to prevent unnecessary cracking.
Other materials, such as cast concrete are long-lasting and come in various different shapes and sizes. Due to their strenuous material, they can survive all types of weather, but people may find it hard to move them around.
Concrete mixed with vermiculite or perlite is a lighter alternative to hard-concrete, which can easily be placed on balconies.
Wooden planter boxes are also a great option for growing vegetables and different plants. They are durable, cheap, readily available, and come in different shapes and sizes. They do not heat up in extreme temperatures and are also lighter than concrete pots.
Plastic pots are also cheap, lightweight, and readily available in various shapes and sizes. However, one of the biggest disadvantages of plastic containers is that the sides heat up quickly and the soil inside dries up. It is in these pots in which the roots are barely moisturized no matter how much you water the soil and plants.
Glazed ceramic pots are also an alternative for the type of materials you’d like to use. Despite their heavy-weight, they do not stain due to leached soil and do not prevent moisture from evenly spreading throughout the soil. They are also available in several different colors, making them appealing for your balcony garden.
Creative Ideas for Balcony Garden Pots
No matter how small or large your space is, you can always go creative with your balcony garden. From the colors you choose to the ornaments you add to your plant pots, there are various ways you can make your balcony the best spots in your apartments.
We’ve listed some simple and creative ideas to achieve the best pots for your balcony garden. Read on below to make sure of your limited space sufficiently:
Hanging baskets on the side-walls that contain small intricate flowers and striking foliage are the best way to appeal the eye. They brighten up the walls and make the ideal decoration pieces in your limited balcony space. What’s better is that you can create hanging baskets from any container available in your home.
Hanging baskets are also small and easily maintainable. If you have a busy schedule or are unable to look after your balcony garden daily, hanging baskets are the perfect starter options. Small plants in them do not require extensive care, and can easily add color to your space with low maintenance.
If you are interested in growing your vegetables, hanging baskets are ideal for herbs. The evergreen color of the herbs will brighten up the balcony garden and make the perfect environment to produce the necessary herbs you require.
DIY Pot Ladder
Using old timber and wood available in empty plots or abandoned construction sites are also perfect to create your mini-ladder.
By watching tutorials available online, a ladder can be designed to place your plant pots on them. Not only will this add life to your dull balcony, but it is the ideal way to put more pots in a limited space.
The ladders you make can stand on their own, or against the wall for support. Either way, it is bound to fit more plants (approximately three small pots in each step), giving you the ability to experiment with different plant variants all at once.
Old Container Pieces
If you’re short on money or time to purchase brand new containers, you can easily opt for old watering cans, glass bottles, large boots, or jars to act as containers for your plants.
The creativity in such materials strikeout and give your balcony garden a vintage look. There are rarely any limits when you consider the best containers and pots for balcony gardening.
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The Key Takeaway
No space? No problem. If you’ve recently moved into a new apartment, make use of the limited space to create your balcony garden. If you consider the points mentioned above and experiment with the best pots for balcony gardening, you’re bound to have a luscious and aesthetic-looking garden within no time.
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.