Many of VIDA’s apartments and townhomes include balconies. These not only give our residents a convenient place to spend time outside but also the chance to exercise their green thumbs. Whether you want to grow your favorite herbs and vegetables or create a beautiful oasis of flowers and plants, we have some great tips for balcony gardening success.
Consider Light First
The first thing to consider is how much direct sunlight your balcony gets. When gardening at a house, you have the luxury of placing your garden in a spot that gets the correct light for what you’d like to plant. Since you can’t move your balcony, you have to plan your garden around the light you get. Check the instructions for the plants you want to use. Full sun means 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Partial sun means 4-6 hours. Anything less than that is considered full shade.
Plan for Plant Size
The care instructions for any plant will include the average height and circumference (spread) when fully grown. Since balconies limit what you can accommodate, plan ahead when choosing plants and make sure they’ll fit when fully mature. Plant size also determines container size. Since you’ll be growing your plants in containers, they can’t thrive if their container is too small for the space they’ll eventually require.
Think Low Maintenance
One of the biggest benefits of living in an apartment or townhome is that you don’t have to worry about maintenance. When planning your balcony garden, be sure you don’t initiate a major project that ends up preventing you from sitting back, relaxing and enjoying it. Also, since watering plants can be a chore when you can’t have a hose, invest in water-saving granules to increase the time between waterings.
Chances are, you have some furniture on your balcony and that limits the remaining footprint for plants. Go vertical with stack planters, railing planters, vertical wall planters and hanging baskets. It makes better use of the space and creates the feeling of being surrounded by nature.
Trust a Pro
If you’re new to gardening, buy your seeds, plants, soil, and containers from a local garden store. Their staff will typically have more experience and expertise than those working at the big box stores, so they can help you choose what will do best in your situation. It’s also a good idea to snap some pictures, take measurements, and have the data on how much sunlight your balcony gets before you go.