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Balcony Garden Planters Guide

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Dicentra spectabilis – great plant for early season colour in containers for balconies.


Many people these days live in apartments and flats, but that does not mean that they cannot be involved and enjoy doing some gardening on their balcony. Recently we discussed planters on the patio and many of the points of creating balcony gardens are similar when creating balcony planters as well.

Conditions of Balcony Planters  

One of the more important things that you need to remember when you are planning which outdoor planters are the best for your house is the weather conditions. That is critical since it directly affects the species that are able to survive as well as thrive on balconies.


What amount of sunlight does your balcony receive on a daily basis? If the area gets plenty of sunlight you will have a different selection of plants that are available for you to use compared to if the area gets less sunlight. Maybe part of your balcony receives more sunlight than the other parts. In that case, you will need to plan which garden planters to put there. Planters that are fixed to railings or hung will likely receive more sun and will need to be watered on a more frequent basis, especially in the summer.


Depending on the exposure and height of your building you might find that your planters are affected by winds that can dictate the option of plants that are available for you. If your balcony is especially exposed to high winds then mesh or screen can be used to block it somewhat. Doing that can help to create a micro-climate to offer a broader range of range that can survive in it.

Natural Water

Unless you happen to be on your building’s top floor you will frequently have an overhanging building or balcony that can limit how much rainwater that your balcony planters receive. If that is the case then you need to be aware of watering the balcony planters frequently and that it’s possible that you might need to add some plant food because of the limited nutrients that tap water contain.  


Different Kinds of Balcony Planters


Hanging Planters

If you have a very small balcony, then you will have to maximize your available space. If your balcony is similar to this then you may want to consider using hanging planters that go well on railings or maybe from the ceiling is there is an overhanging from the floor over you. It is worth it to note that if you have a weight restriction that you can buy lightweight compost and soils that are made for this specific reason.

Potted Planters

This one is the most obvious choice and is similar to what you see on garden patios. Containers and pots come in many different sizes and shapes and you can choose the ones that suit your taste the best. If you are choosing heavy balcony planters you should place them near load-bearing joists or walls.

Vertical and Stacked Planters

We discussed recently how to create vertical gardens, and that can come in very handing when making a balcony garden. There many different space-saving ways and enjoy an entire range of plants like attaching window boxes on the wall, or use wooden pallets or old furniture to bring your balcony completely to life.


What Are the Best Types of Plants to Use for Balcony Gardens?


Plants That Are Weather Tolerant

The result of likely added wind and sun exposure means that it is very important to find plants that are wind and drought tolerant. If your balcony happens to be susceptible to those conditions then the best plants for you to use may include Cordylines, Wollemi Pines, and Cedars. If you are unsure then choose low growing plants since they are all wind resistant for the most part.  

Evergreen Plants

Deciduous plants are less tolerant of wind and heat, but they are also are not that aesthetically attractive during the winter. If you are considering using your balcony during the wintertime with an outdoor heater and comfortable seating, and it is preferable to having some year-round greenery to keep things interesting for you.  

Well-Suited for Potted Life

It might appear to be obvious, but you have to keep in mind that your plants will be in planters for their entire lives, so they need to be well-suited for this purpose. At a minimum, you should choose slow-growing plants that are able to be pot bound for many years. Using a soil based compost for planting is a good idea as this will help to retain moisture.


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