Plant Life Balance

A quick guide to balcony gardens

No garden? No worries! For many apartment dwellers, the closest they can get to having an outdoor garden of their own is their balcony. But not to worry – you can still have the outdoor garden of your dreams, even if your space is high up in the sky.

Not only are plants a great way to add a touch of life and style to your balcony space, they can also soften a bad view, and create privacy if you’re a little too close to a neighbour. If you’ve got a bare balcony that could do with a green make-over, here are a some considerations and plenty of inspiration to get you started.

Position

The level of sunlight can make or break your balcony garden, so this should be your first consideration. Choose plants that suit the balcony aspect as it’s easier to work with nature than against it. Some plants like bright areas without direct sunlight, so a solid balcony wall or heavier balustrade can help. And don’t forget – as the days get longer and shorter, the amount of sunlight will change too.

North aspect gets sun throughout the day. Plant String of Beans, Lavender, Dahlia, and most succulents and cacti.

East means softer, morning sun and afternoon shade. Plant Marigolds, Dahlia, Philodendron, and some of the more robust ferns. Summer vegetables can work with an east position if you have the space.

South is typically shadier. Choose ferns of all types, Peace lilies, Calathea, Fruit Salad plant and Kentia palm. Many indoor plants will work on south-facing balconies.

West gets the hot arvo heat. Succulents are ideal: Jade plant, Carissa, Pig’s Ear, Silver Spoons and any cacti.

Wind

Make sure everything is weighted or tied down, or sheltered from the wind. Some plants don’t like the wind so make sure you check this as balconies can get blasted due to their height. Wind can also dry out plants, so you may need to factor this in as well.

Arrangements

Don’t be shy with the quantities, as long as there’s enough room for you to have a sit! Your local nursery will have lots of hanging pots. You can also use small tables and clothes racks to create tiers of pots. Letting plants drape over your balcony or through the balustrades creates a beautiful look, it might even reach down to your lower neighbour!

Watering can

You’ll need one.

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