Gardening on your balcony

Gardening on your balcony

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Just a few square meters outside to taste the joys of gardening. Provided you take care of the needs of plants, all can flourish in pots and in urban areas: from the smallest spring flower to umbrella pine, olive or hydrangea for which you will have a crush during your vacation. Each balcony has its own specificities (surface, covered or open, orientation, materials of the floors and walls, colors, etc.) to take into account when setting up the garden. In addition to these structural constraints, it is essential to know how much time per day or per week we are ready to devote to our green corner.

How to arrange a garden on your balcony?

For a south-facing balcony , it is essential to create shaded areas and to moderate the brightness in order to avoid the "oven" side. For this, canisses, palisades or braces can dress the railing and walls. The ground concrete can be covered with wooden slabs or synthetic grass which will avoid too much reverberation. For a north-facing balcony , it will be better to plant shade plants, because many plants and flowers cannot stand a lack of sun or too little exposure. For a balcony with half exposure (east or west), almost everything is allowed! Whatever the exposure, it is a matter of favoring dense plantings which will create a micro climate beneficial to all plants (shadows, humidity, friendly plants, etc.).

What containers should you choose to arrange a garden on your balcony?

For a balcony, it is preferable to opt for water reserve containers. Without this device, the roots dry out faster. Without watering, you can lose plants in just two days! Each container material has its own qualities and disadvantages: Plastic is very light (ideal to avoid an overload of structure). It allows many colors and shapes, and can be fitted with casters. In summer, it heats up in contact with the sun and dehydrates the roots very quickly. Terracotta absorbs moisture and returns it to the roots. It maintains a good temperature of the foot and avoids "hot blows". On the other hand, a planted terracotta pot weighs heavy and is difficult to move. In addition, the porosity of its material retains diseases, which requires disinfecting the pots before any subsequent use. Wood is a good compromise provided that it is treated class 4 minimum. The pine is suitable but its lifespan is limited (4 to 5 years maximum). Teak, acacia or chestnut are more expensive but rot-proof. The wooden containers have various shapes and a range of colors allowing any type of decoration.

What plants to choose to arrange a garden on your balcony?

The choice of plants is directly linked to exposure (sun, partial shade, shade). All plants are allowed: from the smallest flower (pansy or geranium) or the smallest vegetable (radish or basil), to the tree (umbrella pine, wisteria). It all depends on the exposure, the style of the balcony and the space available. Heather earth plants - hydrangeas, heather, camellias and other conifers - will be welcome on a balcony, without the constraints they present in the ground. On the other hand, the rhododendron (very sensitive to pollution) does not tolerate urban air well and withers away very quickly!

How to maintain a garden on your balcony?

It is not enough to plant and then let it go! The plants on a balcony are neat and require a minimum investment (from a few minutes a day to a few hours a week). watering : It's a priority. Too important, it wastes water. Too weak, it weakens the plants and slows their growth. Most plants appreciate that the top of the soil dries up before being watered. In the summer, we will water in the evening. This will create beneficial humidity and allow the roots time to drink overnight before going on a new day. Avoid watering during the day and especially in the sun. This will avoid too rapid evaporation of the water, too great a thermal shock from the roots and a "magnifying glass" effect of the water drops on the plants which will burn them! In winter, we will water in the morning. This will prevent the water from freezing the roots overnight. During prolonged absences, it is essential to call someone to come and water the plants. Otherwise, a vending machine will be installed. You should know that rainwater only waters the leaves and the surface of the earth and is absolutely not sufficient to meet the needs of a plant. If the balcony is covered by another balcony or by the structure of the building, it is good, 2 to 3 times a year during the growing season, to "shower" the plants. This replaces the absence of rain which rids the plants of dust and dirt on the leaves and on the stems.
Size : Even in pots, plants need to be pruned to encourage the growth of new stems and limit their development. Indeed, too large, a plant can create too much shade or limit the light to the detriment of other plants on the balcony. Each plant requires a specific size (refer to specialized encyclopedias). Cleaning : On a balcony, you must be able to clean regularly and easily between and under the tubs in order to keep a healthy and clean space. Clumps of dead plants promote the development of diseases and unwanted insects. The water drainage holes on the balcony must not be blocked by these same heaps of plants. Ultimately, the tightness of the structure would be threatened. In addition, it would create a strong and constant humidity, conducive to the development of cryptogamic diseases (fungi). Fighting diseases : Regular inspection of plant health is also required. Due to the promiscuity of plants on a balcony, diseases and insects develop very quickly. Favor curative treatments rather than preventives with too broad a spectrum which do not make the difference between "good" and "bad" insects. The decoration : Depending on the space and style you want to give your balcony, anything goes! Furniture, candlesticks, lamps, chimes, sundials, fountains, feeders and nest boxes ... The choice available in garden centers or on the Internet is vast ... Thanks to Find the pots and planters in the shop! Our practical gardening videos