You don't need to own a property with endless yard space to enjoy a beautiful garden. All you need is a small balcony.
‘But my balcony is constantly in the shade.’ We hear you cry, and we’re here to say that's fine too!
Don't believe us? Keep reading for our guide on the best plants for your budding balcony garden, no matter the weather!
Make the Right Choices
Not all plants thrive in the same conditions, and a balcony garden is a unique circumstance! Unlike a yard where you can reasonably estimate where the sun will hit, your balcony might surprise you. It all depends on which direction your balcony is facing.
If it is south facing, it will likely receive direct sunlight all day long. The amount of sun and shade creates a beautiful setting for some plants.
Unfortunately, it’s also a death sentence for others.
Similarly, some balconies stay shaded all day long and may only receive slight sunlight. Other balconies experience some extreme winds, making growing plants out there tricky.
Don't worry—this doesn't mean you need to let go of your gardening dreams. There are plenty of plants capable of thriving in different conditions, no matter how intense they may be.
To help get you started, we've listed some different types of balconies and how to plant for the conditions of light and shade that they provide.
Plants for Sunny Balconies ☀️🪴🌵
The plants that thrive in sunny environments the most, bar none, are cacti. No matter how much direct sunlight your balcony gets, it isn't going to compete with the Sahara. Cacti thrive in this environment. Many types of flowers also flourish in these conditions, such as the coreopsis, purple coneflower, and blanket flower.
Your best bet is to hit up the local garden center and look at the tags. Make sure to bring home ones that say “full sun,” many of which are perennials.
Plants for Shady Balconies ⛅🌱
If your balcony gets very little sunlight, it's still possible to grow a beautiful garden. You just need to purchase the right plants!
We recommend snowdrops and bellflowers for your shady garden. They thrive away from the sun.
Just remember that not all shade is equal. Is it a consistent, blocky shade? Or are there splotches of light? These might sound unimportant, but they can make a significant difference!
At the garden store, these are the plants with the label “partial shade.” If your balcony gets zero sun, you can also opt for plants that thrive in indirect light.
Plants for Windy Balconies 🌬️🍃
The final hurdle you need to plan for is wind. It isn't just the sun that can cause havoc with your gardening aspirations. Strong winds, especially if you live on one of the upper floors of your apartment building, can prove seriously damaging to your plants.
Wind gusts can also dry plants out much faster than they usually would on ground level. Self-watering pots, protective wire trellis', and particular types of plants (such as grasses and vines) hold up against the wind much better than flowers or more delicate plants.
Have Fun With It!
Most importantly, try not to overthink it. Maintaining a garden can be an enjoyable, rewarding process that does wonders for your mental health. While it is essential to keep our tips in mind to ensure you get the most out of your balcony garden, don’t obsess over it. Ultimately, it's another way to relax and have fun, so make that your focus!