7 Tips for Balcony Gardening

Even in the smallest space you can still have a beautiful garden

Are you aching for your own plot of land in order to start getting your hands dirty with gardening but you are stuck with a small balcony to make all of your gardening dreams come true? Well, that is where I am at, I have a small space but big garden dreams. I am going to share my experiences with balcony gardening and what I have found to work (and what hasn’t worked).

I first started mine by looking at what plants I would be able to grow – my balcony gets full sun and I am in Zone 6 so that helps narrow down my plant selection. I then looked at the size of the plants, I looked for shrubs that did not get too large and would be happy in containers.

1. Pick plants that will do well in containers.

2. Create varying heights with pots and heights of plants

On a balcony you will have limited space and everything will be in containers so you want to create contrast with varying sizes and heights of plants. I have an assortment of different sized and shape pots, balcony railing planters, and a raised garden bed. I have also utilized climbing plants for some height. This helps you maximize your space on the balcony so you are able to squeeze as much out of your space as you can. 

3. Have a sitting area to enjoy your garden

Make sure you leave room for seating on your balcony! It is the best place to relax and enjoy the lush oasis you have created.

Chair on a patio surrounded by plants

4. Create a privacy wall with climbing plants

On of my biggest complaints of living in an apartment is not using my balcony due to having neighbors close on their balcony. I felt like there was never privacy to sit outside, so I wanted to created a plant wall to help give the privacy I wanted. This was trickier than I thought, I used an old pallet that I had and fastened it to the side of our balcony. Originally I got a long planter box to plant some clematis in to grow up the pallet, but they were not happy in that spot (it was a bit shadier due to the raised garden bed next to it), so I adjusted! I moved the clematis in the window box to the front of the balcony and it will be able to climb up the railing and I moved the honeysuckle I had which had taken off and needed more support to the side with the pallet. Both plants are very happy in their new spots and I got the privacy I wanted on the side of the balcony still. 

5. Utilize all parts of your balcony

I have been dreaming of having my own garden for so long I did not want to waste any gardening space on my balcony. The most important part to gardening on a balcony is being creative with the space that you have since it is probably not much.

  • Railing planters
  • Hanging planters
  • Plant stands
  • Ground/floor of your balcony
  • Tables

 

6. Make sure you plant shrubs that will thrive in your zone and exposure of your balcony!

If you want to be successful in keeping your balcony plants alive, make sure you are choosing the plants that are right for your zone and for your light exposure. My balcony gets full sun from morning until almost mid-afternoon. I realized quickly that some plants were not going to do so well with the amount of sunlight I was getting. I was able to save some by re-arranging where they were placed to get more shade and shelter from other plants and some I ended up loosing – but that is all part of the learning experience of gardening.
  • If you are unsure of your USDA zone, check here! 

7. Make sure you choose the right type of containers

Make sure all of your containers have holes! I had some that did not so I had to drill my own, otherwise you can drown your plants. Another thing to consider is the size of your container, you don’t want to plant something that is going to outgrow the container immediately, but you do not want to have too large of a container that there is so much dirt around the roots of the plant, as this can hold excess water and lead to root rot. Here are the best guidelines to follow:

  • Quart – 8-10″
  • 1 gallon – 10-12″
  • 2 gallon – 12-14″
  • 3 gallon – 14-16″
  • 5+ gallon – min. 18″

 

Then you will just repot as needed! 

No matter the size of your balcony or area you have to garden you can still turn it into something beautiful. If you have any questions or any other tips about balcony gardens, let me know in the comments below!

Written by
McKenna

McKenna

I am new to the gardening scene and love sharing information and inspiration as I continue to learn and grow with my garden. My sunny and small apartment balcony in USDA zone 6 is the current source of my gardening inspiration. I have filled this small space with herbs, vegetables, shrubs, and more as I continue to search for a house to fulfill my gardening dreams. I also will be sharing interesting tips on gardening with chickens as I grew up showing, breeding, and raising them.

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