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Apartment Balcony Gardening

Picture this: you just moved into your gorgeous apartment at Walnut Creek, it has nature-y views for days, trails, and each home has its own patio/balcony, which we've been told is the most favorite feature of them all! You want to make the most of your outdoor space as well as indoors, and luckily, you've been blessed with a balcony. The only thing is all of your neighbors have balconies as well. You're a renegade. You want your tower of Zen to stand out and inspire those around you to compliment the natural beauty around you. There are many creative ways to embellish the space you have and turn it into your own personal oasis. One of the best ways to do this is with outdoor plants!

For this blog post, we will be focusing on the best types of outdoor plants to get, their basic health needs, and where to showcase them on your balcony.

Plants are such an amazing feature you can use to really brighten a small or otherwise mundane space, plus there are literally hundreds to choose from! Their variety ensures that you can personalize your arrangements and truly represent yourself through these leafy gems. The catch-22 about plants is that you get from them what you give to them. They will flourish if you give them water and the right amount of sunlight and keep them bug-free. If you forget to water them, water them too much, or give them the incorrect type of sunlight, they are gonna look sad, y'all. A great way to determine which plants to buy is to figure out what you want them to bring to your space. Are you looking for privacy? Do you prefer low-maintenance plants, or do you want to feel like you just stepped out into The Amazon? Making this distinction can be tough, especially if you are still unsure when you go shopping. You'll do what most people do, BUY ALL THE PLANTS! There's no shame in that unless you have zero clue on how to take care of them. So do some research, make a plan, then head to the place with all the plant babies.

Everyone has it in them to be a good plant parent. You just have to, um, be-leaf in yourself! Below is a list of the best types of plants to create your high-rise haven.

Best Balcony Plants for Creating Privacy

Sometimes, you just want to be on your balcony with some coffee and relax. IYKYK!

Golden Bamboo

If you’re feeling a little too close to your neighbors, adding a few of these golden bamboo plants will provide a natural barrier. These are perennial plants, meaning they die every fall and winter and return in the spring. They can live for more than two years.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade.

Watering: Should have moist to wet soil with very limited drying out between waterings. Water 2 to four times per week through fall.

Potting: Golden Bamboo is an invasive species, so if you’re looking to add these to your patio on the ground floor, they shouldn’t be planted in the ground. Choose a vessel with good drainage, like a terra cotta planter or a wooden one.

Location: Since we’re going for privacy, place these tall guys along the front of the balcony or patio to create a tree line. Keep in mind that they can grow to be nearly 20 ft in height!

a bunch of bamboo in a bamboo forest

Hollyhocks

If you’re looking for privacy with a splash of color, the Hollyhock is for you! They can reach heights around 9 ft and will definitely stand out while giving a green screen effect. They also attract hummingbirds and butterflies. If you’re a fan of tall plants, always prune them so they can continue growing.

Growing Conditions: Ideal for a balcony or patio with full sun.

Watering: Provide regular water and keep the soil moist for starting. If you buy an established plant, keep in mind that they’re pretty drought resistant and won’t require as much irrigation. You’ll want to bottom water them as opposed to spraying the foliage because spraying can lead to diseased leaves.

Potting: Choose a planter that has depth to give. You want them to reach their potential and avoid root rot. Again, a wooden or terra cotta planter would be best.

Location: Along the length of the balcony/patio.

a flower in a garden

Best Plants for Busy Folk

There’s never a break when you work full-time. Add that to offspring, pets, in-laws, and ARGHHH ... there’s not enough time in the day to sing your special plant song to your special plants. Don’t fret. Here are a couple of selections that will basically take care of themselves and take care of you at the same time!

Succulents

You’ve heard it before; succulents are quite easy to take care of, and there are so many to choose from! They’re drought-resistant and cute as all get-out! You can hang them, make them a centerpiece, or put them into a bell jar, and they’ll do their thing.

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Watering: About once a month or until the soil is completely dry.

Potting: Succulents need good drainage, so choose something really porous, like clay, timber, or paper pulp.

Location: Because they vary in size, succulents make adorable centerpieces for a small table you may have in that space.

a wall of succulents in a garden

Azaleas

Most azaleas are cold-tolerant and make great low-maintenance potted plants.

Growing Conditions: Direct sun.

Watering: Only water it when the soil is completely dry. This will depend on which direction the sun is facing.

Potting: Railing trough planter, wooden if you can find it!

Location: Azaleas go great in wooden planters that can hang on the railing.

a close up of a flower

Best Hanging Plants for a Balcony

Hanging plants are sort of a mainstay when it comes to outdoor spaces. They can elongate your balcony and provide a cozy feel.

Spider Plant

Spider plants are great for beginners. They’re inexpensive and can live outdoors just as well as indoors!

Growing Conditions: Mostly shade. Avoid direct afternoon sunlight.

While tolerable to dryer climates, they are sensitive to the type of water they need. Let them soak up the rain for a bit when it comes or use distilled water.

Potting: Spider plants are great because they are not very picky about their potted home. For a boho look, place them in a macramé planter.

Location: Hang it!

a blue and white vase sitting on top of a white table

Tradescantia zebrina

These beauties will add some pops of color to your balcony arrangement! Sometimes called the Wandering Dude, it’s also another great choice for beginners, as it doesn’t take much effort for them to thrive. Another bonus is that they’re super easy to propagate! Yay, you!

Growing Conditions: Bright, indirect sunlight

Watering: You want the soil to be slightly moist all of the time, so water frequently but not too much, just enough to keep the soil damp. About ½” deep into the soil.

Potting: Since this one needs the extra moisture, or if you’re prone to forgetting to water, use a ceramic planter.

Location: Hang it!

a row of potted plants sitting on a window sill

Best Plants for Full Sun and Partial Shade

Full Sun: Bee Balm, Peony, Hardy Geranium, Lavender, Daylily.

Partial Shade: Hydrangeas, Chaenomeles, Lady Ferns, Coleus, Caladium.

Whew, that was a lot of plants! But seriously, we could go on and on about the many plants that can bring vibrancy to your outdoor oasis. Whether you go with pots, troughs, or hanging macramé, you can’t go wrong with anything on this list! Not only will they provide a welcoming environment for you and your friends and family, but they’ll also be a visual treat to your neighbors and the on-site team! A quick bit of advice is to use this blog mostly for reference and not as an actual care plan for any of the listed plants. Since the location of balconies/patios varies, you will have to determine which plants fit the location you’re in best and can thrive there. Check out how to make a herb garden on your balcony. Please check out our resources page for more tips, tricks, and hacks for your tower of Zen.

Your Resident Relations Specialist, Bri

Resources:
Best Balcony Plants
Hollyhocks
Root Rot
Low Maintenance Outdoor Potted Plants
Best Hanging Plants for Balcony
Growing Spider Plant Outside
Full Sun Plants
Shade Loving Plants

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