Right Plant, Right Place
A successful balcony garden begins with understanding the growing conditions in your space. Balconies are often exposed to extremes like hot sun and wind or shaded by buildings and trees, with little light for plants to thrive.
So, the key is to use plants that are tailor-made by nature to thrive in the conditions that your balcony offers;
- If plants are exposed to lots of sun, then opt for heat-loving succulents or tough native plants, that flourish with little water.
- If the area is shaded then look out for beautiful shade-loving, woodland or rainforest plants.
The Potted Family
The best way to introduce collections of pots without clutter is to look for potted “families". Each pot in the set has the same look, style and colour but the containers come in a whole family of different sizes so you can nestle them together to create a beautiful, designed look. Potted families also create wonderful opportunities for a diversity of planting!
You can plant small trees like weeping Japanese Maples or large shrubs in the big daddy pots and work your way down to groundcovers or small shrubs in the baby pots. Bigger pots also allow you to combine different plants together in one container to create exciting potted combos.
Remember bigger pots don’t dry out as quickly and provide more space for planting but they can be heavy, so be aware of any weight restrictions on your balcony. Also look out for lightweight pots that are made from a combination of fibreglass and clay, so they have all the charm of a clay pot, but are roughly half the weight.
The Right Potting Mix is Key
If you want your potted balcony garden to look its best then start with the best!
For a lush, healthy, long-lasting potted display start with Scotts Osmocote Premium Plus Superior Potting Mix. It contains lots of added goodies to help your potted plants to flourish, like a wetting agent, water-storing crystals and Scotts Coir which aids in moisture and nutrient retention.
Plus, Osmocote controlled release fertiliser, which releases nutrients to your plants as they need it for up to 6 months!
An Extension of Your Living Area
A balcony is often an extension of your living space, so why not bring the outside in by filling your living areas with lush indoor plants that blend seamlessly with your balcony or bring the inside out and extend your indoor space onto your balcony with matching paint colours, materials or similar styles of furniture.
If a balcony is your only outdoor space, why not make it an inviting room to spend time in by introducing a little table setting or reading nook. Look out for seating that doubles as storage, so you can make the most of your space.
Since you’ve likely got two blank walls to work with, think about how you might use that vertical space to bring interest to your design. Here are some ways you could achieve this:
- You could hang decorative wall pots at different heights or create a vertical garden that brings floor-to-ceiling charm to the area. Or you could fill big pots with climbing plants like Jasmine or Clematis.
- Don't forget to make the most of balcony railings with window boxes filled with flowers and herbs. Just be sure to hang them on the inside of the railing, so that nothing falls onto the street below.
- Mirrors are also a wonderful way to double the feel of the space, just be sure to capture the right reflection, or you’ll ruin the illusion.
You might not have thought about introducing water, but a boutique table top fountain can bring movement and the soothing sound of water into a small space.
You could even include a meditative water bowl with floating flowers or table top gravel garden in the design to bring a Zen feel to the space.
Ingredients for the Kitchen
If your balcony has enough sun, think about turning it into an outdoor pantry full of fresh ingredients.
Fill window boxes and hanging baskets with fresh herbs and bigger pots and bowls with compact growing vegies like dwarf tomatoes, colourful rainbow silverbeet and loose-leaf lettuces that can be picked leaf by leaf as you need them.
You could even grow miniature fruit trees like Peach ‘Pixzee’ and ‘Lots a Lemons’ in big pots and containers.
Chop & Change
Bored of your balcony look? The beauty of pots is that they’re portable, so don’t be afraid to mix things up and change your pots and plants from season to season.
Tip: Bring nature onto your balcony with compact, bird-attracting native plants like Banksia ‘Birthday Candles’ or nectar-rich flowering plants that attract butterflies or beneficial insects to your little patch of paradise.
Note: Always check with your body corporate to see if any building rules apply that might affect your balcony design.