The Q&A Archives: Apartment Gardening

Question: I am trying to find good plants to put in containers for my balcony. I get partial sun in the late afternoon and thats about it. it usually gets really hot during the summer here so im looking for few good hardy flowers to spruce up my balcony.

Answer: Nearly all plants can be grown in containers; however, some plants are just better adapted to ?container life?. For vegetables, try tomato, eggplant, peppers (all types), squash, leaf lettuce, cucumbers, and green onions. Nearly all herbs do well in containers; favorites include parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, mint (all types), basil, chives, fennel, marjoram, dill and coriander. Many types of fruits do especially well in containers but will get lanky and large without proper pruning. Consider dwarf spur-type apples, peaches, thornless blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries (use a strawberry jar type container!). Most annual and perennial flowering plants, as well as ornamental grasses do well in containers. Some favorites include the ?cascade? types of petunias, coleus, lobelia, dianthus, verbena, and lantana. For those transitional times of the year, consider using bulb crops. Fall planted bulbs, like crocus, daffodil, and tulips can be planted and enjoyed throughout the late fall and early winter, inside or out.The most common cause of premature plant death and disease in container grown plants is over watering. Over or under fertilizing is the next most common cause of plant problems. When watering container grown plants, make sure sufficient water is applied to the plant so that water comes out of the bottom of the container. This will help flush out fertilizer salts that accumulate in the soil and ensure the entire soil profile is wet. Plants can be arranged by form, color, and texture to produce beautiful arrangements. When planting, consider the mature plants, color bloom, foliage texture, and growth habit. If you are growing only one species, evenly space 3-5 plants to completely fill the grow area. However, if mixing ornamental or herb species place tall plants or those with coarse foliage toward the center. Weeping or cascading plants and plants with fine foliage should be near the edge. With a little work and some basic knowledge of plant growth, anyone can produce beautiful flowers and good vegetable yields from container grown plants. Remember, good container design, appropriate soil mixes, and proper cultivation is essential for success in your container garden.

Best wishes with your container garden!

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