Who doesn’t dream of a lovely little balcony where one can enjoy their morning cuppa or a romantic night with the moonlight filtering down. All of us have that tiny space which would be perfect for a bit of greenery. Here are a few simple ideas for a sunny balcony.
Add a creeper
Creepers like Bougainvilleas are hardy plants that not only brighten the space but can be easily trained to trail up a wall. As Bougainvilleas bloom on new growth, you will have flowers almost throughout the year. However, this means pruning is essential to maintain the desired size and encourage more blooming ends. The ideal time to trim the plant is right after a flush of blooms.
Find a spot for a hanging basket
You can choose either perennials like Geraniums or seasonal varieties like Petunias to create a lovely little basket of flowers. These will do well in pots made of coir as well any other container – but do ensure that the pot has enough drainage holes to avoid root rot. Allow the plant to dry between each watering and then water thoroughly. Remove dead heads to ensure proper growth.
Railing planters or Planter boxes
Here, the options are varied. Every garden store or nursery sells planters in various shapes, sizes and colours made from varying materials. For hanging planters, choose plants that spread out and dangle. You can use perennials or seasonal plants if you like these spots to change over the year. Select from the list below.
Cuphea Hyssopifolia: Likes full sun to partial sun. Foliage colour best in part shade. Moist soil but tolerant to short dry spells.
Portulaca Grandiflora (Moss Rose): These prefer loose, sandy or loamy soil. A well-draining composition is important. When grown in containers, allow the soil to dry between watering.
Thymophylla/Dyssodia Pentachaeta: These are perennials and resemble the yellow Chamomile plant. This plant is called the Common Dogweed, however in Indian nurseries, these are likely to be called daisies. Prefers full to partial sun and likes the soil to be semi-moist when kept in a pot.
Select a spot for seasonal flowers
Petunias, Salvias, Chrysanthemums, Zerberas, Nasturtiums, Phlox, Cineraria are a few of the common varieties which can be potted as seasonals in India. Most of them require full sun to bloom well. Plant them in bunches. You can keep changing the types of plants in this spot, to bring in some variety into your garden as the seasons go by.
Your favourites in single pots
Another idea is a single pot with a single variety like jasmine or some herb of your choice like mint.
Jasminum sambac (Mysore Mulli): Grows well in warm and bright light conditions, full sun to semi-shade. When growing in pots it needs lots of direct sunlight; cover soil with mulch and water when the soil feels dry to touch. Needs pruning for bushy shape.
Mint: When choosing a location for mint, remember it needs to receive morning sun and partial afternoon shade. They thrive in light soil with good drainage. Be sure to water them regularly to maintain it evenly moist. Water when the top soil feels dry to touch. The soil should not dry out. Pinch heads till the next node for a bushier look and use those for garnishes in your food and beverages.
Mixed potted plants
According to me, this is the most interesting concept for a small balcony. It enables a lot of variety in terms of plants, height, and colour. Pick a single big pot or a cluster of two to three pots of varying height. What you need to do is choose a plant of your liking for each pot and pair it with a couple of more varieties which have similar soil and watering needs. It’s mix and match heaven in a pot!
Iresine (Herbstii Brilliantissima): Prefers partial shade with well-drained, moderately fertile soil as full sun tends to make the foliage fade. Keep the soil evenly moist all summer by watering well. Water when the soil feels dry at a depth of about an inch. Pinch out the growth tips while the plants are young to promote a dense growth habit and attractive shape. You might also consider pinching off flower buds.
Clerodendrum (Delectum): The Bleeding heart vine needs plenty of room so ensure you are using a large pot, especially when clubbing it with another plant with similar sun, soil and watering requirements.
Plants – Schefflera, Golden Philodendron, Alternanthera dentata ‘Purple Knight’, Boston fern
All these plants adapt to a variety of soil. You can use regular soil and make sure the pot has good drainage. Water when top one inch of the soil feels dry. Keep the tub in a place which receives partial sun. Mist the plants, at least, a couple of days a week to have clean, shiny and healthy foliage.
Wishing you all a lovely balcony from Houzify! Don’t forget to check out our app!
Photo credit: Gargi Bhuyan