The Q&A Archives: Balcony Plants

Question: I have a large west-facing balcony with southern exposure that is sunny all day. Please recommend plants for this area. Thank you for your assistance.

Answer: The site you describe may only support a few very heat-tolerant plants. Not only will direct sunshine flood the foliage of your plant, reflected heat will also factor into the growing conditions. Couple these with the possibility of the containers retaining enough heat to nearly bake the roots, I'm afraid your choices will be limited. The first plant that comes to mind is Cotoneaster. While it's generally considered a shrub, its natural arching shape makes it perfect for training onto a trellis attached to a wall, or hanging over a rail. As an espalier, it's quite attractive with small, deep green foliage and bright orange berries. Cotoneaster is evergreen, so it will look nice all year around. Some suggestions for smaller shrubs and perennials include Hypericum (St. John's Wort), Genista (dwarf broom), Hebe, Juniper, Heather, Erigeron, Echeveria, Euphorbia and Cistus (rockrose). Heat loving annuals (poppies, for instance) can add some color to your plantings. Hope the above suggestions help you make your balcony stunning!

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