Balcony Gardens

We are not all blessed with large yards to landscape and fill with beautiful plants.  Some of our customers have just a balcony or an area they can hang a basket or two. To that end, here are some great suggestions for those customers.

Hanging baskets or container plants require the same type of care as regular garden plants.  First, start with a good quality Potting Mix such as Fertilome Ultimate Potting Mix or Miracle Gro Potting Mix to ensure a healthy plant growth.  These products are designed for container plantings.   You can use just about anything you want to plant in- whether it be a beautiful container, an old teapot, a child’s wagon- whatever you would like.  There is one caveat though- it must have drainage.  If there are no holes in your container, you should create some. 

For those customers that live directly on the salt water and plants are exposed to direct sea breezes, ensure that the plants you are acquiring can tolerate the salt and not just the sun or shade. 

Almost anything can be planted in containers- flowers, vines, succulents and even vegetables- assuming your light conditions are correct for the plants you are using.   If you have areas that have both sun and shade – plants that normally require full sun, such as geraniums, are very appreciative of the afternoon shade. Here are some great suggestions:

Plants for Shade: 

Begonias- the “winged” variety of begonias such as Dragon Wing or Angel Wing are stunning bloomers that will cascade out of a basket or hanging planter.  Colors are usually available in pinks or reds.

Impatiens- You can’t beat regular garden variety Impatiens for masses of color in the shade.  They come in a whole host of colors.  Sunpatiens also tolerates a lot of shade but for those areas that get a combination of both sun and shade, these will work well. 

Mona Lavender- a beautiful leafy green plant with a dark purple underside on the leaf that blooms with gorgeous purple/lavender small flowers.  It loves the shade but can take some sun as well.  

Holly Fern/Boston Fern/Kangaroo Ferns- all ferns love the shade and will do extremely well -even in the deepest of shade conditions.

Pothos- Comes in a variety of shades and shapes and is the ultimate easy-care plant.  Does best in planters because can be invasive if in the ground. 

Sanserveria (Mother-in-law’s Tongue or Snake Plant)- This plant is a “cast iron” plant when it comes ultimate low maintenance.  It comes in various shades of greens and yellows and tolerates the lowest light as well as some sun.  It can go without water or care for days if you forget about it. 

Xanadu Philodendron- a dwarf version of Philodendron that makes a gorgeous lush green plant.  Does not flower but is a lovely planter none the less. 

Plants for hot and scorching conditions: 

On balconies or porches that have extremely hot and dry conditions make sure you use plants that can tolerate the heat as well as the dry conditions.  Some good choices are:

Purslane or Portulaca- both of these plants will cascade out of planters or baskets and can tolerate the hottest and driest conditions.  They come in a variety of colors and types of flowers. Can thrive on neglect. 

Dipladenia (Mandevilla)- These plants feature beautiful trumpet shaped flowers and come in a variety of shades from pinks, reds, white and yellow.  They will have trailing blooms and as they are tropical in nature- love the heat.  They don’t require much water either. 

Blue My Mind- This gorgeous plant which is most frequently used as a ground cover, can also make a stunning hanging basket or planter.  The deep blue flowers that appear in masses on this plant make it a showstopper. This plant is a number one seller at Verdego!

Crown of Thorns or Succulents- Don’t want to be a slave to a hose? The Crown of Thorns which comes in color ranging from pink, red or white/pale yellow will flower non-stop and seldom need watering.  They are thorny but require so little care, it is seldom and issue.  Succulents of various sizes and descriptions also make great low maintenance container or hanging basket plants. 

Pentas- Also a big seller due to the fact they are not only butterfly attractors but bloom non-stop in the hottest sun.  They are available in shades of purple/orchid, pinks, reds and whites usually.  Great container choice. 

Vegetables for Container Gardening

As previously mentioned, even vegetables take well to container gardening. Some good choice for containers is:

Peppers- especially smaller hot peppers do extremely well in containers.  Throw some cilantro in with the peppers and have your own “salsa” garden!

Herbs- all herbs thrive in containers- such as basil, parsley, cilantro, dill, oregano or thyme.  They can even grow in hanging baskets if space is at a premium.  

Tomatoes- Tomatoes do extremely well in containers if you are using a container large enough for the variety you choose.  Cherry tomatoes are the easiest to grow and often do better in baskets or containers because they avoid less bug issues and the nutrients they often lack (such as calcium and boron) can be easily added.

Strawberries- Great plants for hanging baskets for the same reason as tomatoes.  They are seasonal though and plants set their fruit in the late fall to early winter for a late spring treat!