A balcony provides a wonderful opportunity to create a beautiful and productive green space. It is perfect for green thumbs with limited time to garden. Typically balcony gardens are planted out with pots and free standing raised beds.
1. Weight: it is important to determine how much weight your balcony can hold. Remember to factor in that containers get even heavier when you water them.
2. Space: make the most of it but don’t get so carried away with pot plants and a worm farm that you have no where to sit and enjoy them. Remember the option of going vertical: hanging baskets, planter boxes, tiered shelving and window boxes can all be utilised.
3. Light/shade: select plants that will grow in the conditions of your balcony. If you have a south facing balcony you will struggle to grow plants that need full sun. Better to select shade tolerant plants. Most plant labels will indicate the sun/shade preference of a plant.
4. Wind: balconies can be subject to strong winds that can dehydrate foliage and topple over any top-heavy pots. Select wind tolerant plants that don’t grow too tall and avoid light plastic pots. Attractive screens of matting can also be attached to balcony railing to reduce wind exposure.
5. Water: potted plants dry out very quickly so consider self-watering pots that have their own water reservoir.
This is particularly important when you intend to go away for a couple of days or in hot weather. For standard pots, make sure excess water runoff is collected in pot saucers.
6. Neighbours: prevent water from cascading down to your neighbours’ balcony below every time you water. And make sure your pots don’t become missiles by appropriately securing them to your balcony.
7. Owners Corporations: check to see if your Owners Corporation has any specific rules relating to what you can put on your balcony.