How to make a garden on your balcony

I live in an appartment, but it doesn’t keep me from having my own garden. This spring I’ve decided to transform my balcony into a relaxation area with flowers, herbs and vegetables. My small garden can be viewed through the windows of my room, so I can have an eye-catching display without leaving the flat.

To make a balcony garden, you need only 3 things: pots or containers, soil and seedlings.

My colorful balcony garden

Source

Petunia, morning glories and pot marigold


Microclimate

My balcony facing south and it gets a lot of sunshine during the morning hours and the air is relatively dry, so I’ve chosen summer bedding plants tolerating drought and direct sunshine.

Containers or pots

I began to grow plants in April and used plastic pots, because they usually need little space and they are easily maintained and movable. To tell you the truth, using pots is not always a good decision. Herbs and vegetables generally need more space, so I recommend you to apply containers if you want to have enough yield.

Soil moisture

I made an other mistake too. I hadn’t filled the bottom of the container with gravel before putting soil in it. Gravel usually improves the drainage of plants.


Summer shelter which hides bare walls
Summer shelter which hides bare walls | Source

Growing seedlings from seeds

I germinated some plants from seeds (morning glories, balcony tomatoes, basil, pot marigold). If you don’t want to toil over germinating seeds, you can buy seedlings at the florist’s shops, at the market place or even in supermarkets.

I planted the seeds in empty yogurt boxes and covered them with glass or plastic so that the seedlings would have constant temperature and moisture. I put the boxes close to the windows so that the seedlings could get as much light as possible. I regularly checked the soil moisture. In fact some of the seeds failed to germinate (for example basil seeds). They might have needed higher temperature or maybe I should have soaked them before planting.

Planting the seedlings

When the seedlings are mature enough and the weather is warm, you can transplant them in pots or containers and put them on your balcony. As they are used to a constant room temperature, it’s not advisable to leave them outside overnight or if you do so, cover them with plastic or glass for some days or even weeks, especially if the plant is very sensitive.

Watering

It’ recommended to water your plants once or twice a day on hot summer days.

Fertilizing

Soil doesn’t provide enough nutrients for plants, so you should use a slow-release fertilizer once a week.

Matching color combinations

Choose matching combinations of colorspots to create colorful flower patches providing harmonious views such as purple and yellow or pink and white.

Yellow pansy and fragrant purple petunia with chives in the background
Yellow pansy and fragrant purple petunia with chives in the background | Source
Pink wax begonia & white and pink impatiens
Pink wax begonia & white and pink impatiens | Source

Balcony Plants

Here comes a list of popular and easy to keep balcony plants with their main features.

French Marigold

Physical characteristics

This is an annual, low-growing plant with yellow and red flowers and a distinctive pungent smell. The plants are in flower till late autumn.

Potted French marigold, Mint and Morning glory
Potted French marigold, Mint and Morning glory | Source

Fragrance

Its essential oil is used to produce ’genda attar’ by blending it with sandalwood oil. In India ’genda attar’ is used during meditation.

Gardening

It’s usually planted in the companion of vegetables, because it keeps away pests.


Petunia

Petunia is a popular summer bedding plant with colorful tubular flowers.

Source

Petunias with big, bright flowers


Morning glory

Habit

Morning glories are annual plants and used to create summer shade. They are in full bloom in the early morning hours. They like full solar exposure and humid soil (when keeping them in pots). With their long creeping stems, they can easily climb the fences.

Experiences

Due to the fast growth of the roots, the pots are too small for my plants, that’s why I have to water my morning glories quite frequently. The leaves are relatively small and some of them yellow, maybe because of the lack of nutrients.


Giving Fresh Orchids To Someone is Always Elegant

Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis )

It’s widely cultivated as an aromatic herb with bright yellow, gold and orange flowers. It’s recommended to remove the dying flower heads on regular basis to maintain even blossom production. Pot marigold is a food plant for the larvae of some moths and butterflies, so it must be checked regularly.

It’s used as colouring in meals. Home-made Calendula cream is good for skin disorders, because it has an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effect.


Pelargonium or scented geranium

They are extremely popular garden plants, as they are drought and heat tolerant perennials.

Blooming Pelargonium
Blooming Pelargonium | Source
Parsley and dill
Parsley and dill | Source

Mentha or Mint

Mentha is an aromatic, perennial herb and it prefers moist soils. I doesn’t need much care. The leaves can be harvested at any time. Fresh leaves are used in teas, beverages, syrups, ice creams, etc. Mint tea is good for stomach ache. Mint is also popular in aromatherapy as an essential oil.

Rosemary

This is a perennial herb with evergreen, needle-like leaves. It’s pest-resistant and tolerates drought. It’s a common ingredient of mediterranean meals. Rosemary cream is excellent for muscle strains.

White petunia and majoram
White petunia and majoram | Source
Source

Marjoram (Organum majorana)

This herb is cultivated for culinary purposes. If you liked to use your own herbs in winter, cut the top of the plants before they begin to flower and dry them slowly in the shade.

Majoram is a common herb in Hungary. It works well with chicken dishes and it’s also used in potato soups and liverwurst.

Balcony tomatoes

Balcony tomatoes are relatively small plants and produce small fruit. I think it’s no use growing this plant for fruit, but it can be interesting for children to observe them as they grow.


Decorating ideas

Besides plants, you can apply other decorative elements such as tables and chairs. Lampions and lamps can create a relaxed atmosphere.

Garden Feeling

Combine flowers with herbs and put them at different height because this way the balcony gives the feeling like sitting in a garden. Use fragrant flowers such as petunias, mainly purple ones. Your balcony can become a multifunctional place where you can relax or just pick some herb leaves to make your meals more delicious.

Garden solar light among flowers (French marigold, petunia, pansy )
Garden solar light among flowers (French marigold, petunia, pansy ) | Source

Edible Flowers

Flowers can be edible too. You can garnish your dishes with them. Flower cookery used to be popular in ancient times and today this art seems to be reviving.

Some edible flowers:

Pansy, begonia, pot marigold.

Decorate your desserts with edible pansy flowers
Decorate your desserts with edible pansy flowers | Source

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Comments 10 comments

A.CreativeThinker 5 years ago

This is a very nice hub plinka. You have done a lovely job of planting a container garden in such a small area.

Voted Up! Take Care :)

Regards,

A.CreativeThinker


plinka profile image

plinka 5 years ago from Budapest, Hungary Author

Thank you very much for your comment.

Have a nice day! :-)

plinka


Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 5 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

Your balcony looks lovely and you take a pretty cool snapshot yourself. Looking forward to many more.


plinka profile image

plinka 5 years ago from Budapest, Hungary Author

Thank you for your comment. This was my first try to decorate my balcony which is quite bare and dull without plants. Next year it might be nicer, because now I have some experiences.


Derdriu 5 years ago

Plinka: You have wonderful ideas for making a balcony an outer room of a home! Your choice of plants - such as pot marigolds and morning glories (what a name!) - is colorful and practical, what with the ornamentation and the uses. Your photos are clear and show what a treasure garden you are building up.

Thank you for sharing, voted up, and all categories as well,

Derdriu


plinka profile image

plinka 5 years ago from Budapest, Hungary Author

Hi Derdriu, in fact, it's just a humble balcony garden with the cheapest flowers you can get, but it's colorful and mine. And I usually feel relaxed when I look at the plants I have.


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 5 years ago from Essex, UK

Nice to see Plinka,and a useful page of inspiration for anyone who doesn't have a garden. There's always something which can be grown to provide colour and life to an appartment, and a new interest, particularly for children in the appartment. Perhaps in such situations, people enjoy the success and appreciate the beauty in even growing a single plant, which would just be overlooked in a big garden.


plinka profile image

plinka 5 years ago from Budapest, Hungary Author

Hi Greensleeves, thank you for your comment. I think, having plants around you have a relaxing and stress relieving effect. Listening to a nice music, tasting a delicious meal, smelling a beautiful flower... all these things heal your soul and your body. And yes, children can learn about plants and how to look after them.


Injured lamb profile image

Injured lamb 5 years ago

You have the successful first try Melinda, and it is really fantastic...looks like I have been influenced by you and wanting to have some plants around me too…


plinka profile image

plinka 5 years ago from Budapest, Hungary Author

Hi Injured lamb, thanks for your comment. Next year I will move into another flat and I may not have a balcony (not to mention a garden) so I'm sad with it a bit, but if you have enough space, make a small garden for joy. :-)

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