There is plenty of light in the summer balcony, which is why it is so easy to make it a small garden in its own right. The containers are placed wherever they can find a place, fixed to the railings for planters or hung on wall-mounted racks for suspensions. By occupying the entire volume of the balcony – width, height and depth -, balconies and suspensions allow amazing plant settings.
Balconnières and supports
On the balcony, the balconies are queen. There are 80 cm long, but the usual measurements are around 40, 50 or 60 cm. If the plants grow indifferently in earthenware or plastic containers, the latter are generally preferable because of their lightness.
Solid and secure, the most reliable supports are those that attach directly to the railings by a set of bolts and nuts. Some supports, known as universal, have two anchor hooks that secure the support and the container. Less expensive, they are also less safe. To maintain peace of mind, many balcony owners have become accustomed to having the balcony brackets inside the railings, house side. Some condominium regulations require them.
Well watered plants
A water supply to the balcony makes watering the balcony boxes a lot easier. Placed at ground level, it is discreet but, positioned at height of man, it is more practical to the use. You can then directly connect a spiral pipe taking up little space and unfolding easily.
If there is no water intake on the balcony, connect to the kitchen or bathroom faucet, usually using an adapter. In the last end, you can always get the water inside the house with a watering can.
Flowered balcony: everything is played in mid-May (or almost)
The range of summer balcony flowers is certainly the one that has seen the greatest diversification in the last ten years, proof, if it were needed, of the popularity of these balcony gardens. It is difficult to produce oneself plants for garnishing its balcony. The seeds are little offered by the horticultural retail trade and many plants are grown from cuttings by the producers. They then require a management of the mothers’ feet quite impracticable by the amateur gardeners. Especially since diversity is the rule on the balcony. Plants are therefore most often purchased in pots in the spring and put in place after mid-May.
Plan the watering of the flowers on the balcony © Gardena
Geraniums on the balcony
Blamed, banalized, criticized, geraniums remain the eternal kings of the balcony. And for good reason ! Continually new varieties with upright, semi-drooping or drooping habit, ever more floriferous and ever brighter colors are proposed in the spring. These are much less demanding plants than is usually thought. A lot of sun and a minimum follow-up ensure an abundant bloom from May to the first frosts.
- Remove faded flowers at the point of insertion of the peduncle and remove the withered and wilted leaves.
- Water regularly but no more, an excess of water affecting the abundance of flowering.
- Bring an organic fertilizer every 10 days. And voila !
Geranium ‘Rozanne’ – F. Marre
Which plants for the balcony?
The balcony plant must be very floriferous and for a long month. It must also be easy to grow and be satisfied, if not love and fresh water, at least water at room temperature and fertilizer.
Where to get her balcony plants?
In May, horticulturalists’ greenhouses are transformed into a colorful spectacle. Many professionals at this time are organizing open houses that will familiarize you with these weirdly named plants and help you acquire the ones you need. Labeling is generally neat.
Note precisely the name of the genus or species and that of the variety in order to avoid misunderstandings.
Which flowers to choose for the balcony © Castorama
The choice but also the embarrassment
The neophyte has his head turning in contact with all these more or less Latinized names: nemesis, euryops, torenias …
To help you in your choice, we can point out:
- the bacopas, whose first varieties were white and are now also available in pink or pastel blue.
- The bidens, multiple yellow inflorescences resist all.
- The diascias and callibrachoas are particularly floriferous.
- The small flowers of the Cape daisies (Osteospermum) and those of the impatiens of New Guinea bloom all summer in bright spots.
- The luxuriant surfinias and the delicate drooping verbenas bloom until autumn.
- Scaevola and Lobelia erinus are covered with innumerable inflorescences azure or white.
Bidens ‘Pirate’s Pearl’ – F. Marre
All, and many more, are nowadays very commonly adopted on the balcony, in addition to or in replacement of the classic geraniums. Do not forget plants with decorative foliage , often as bright as flowering plants. If Gnaphalium and Iresine remain limited to a modest role of foil, others, such as new varieties of coleus in bright colors, are sufficient themselves.
All that is missing is the potting soil. Even if the dealers propose for each plant, or almost, a specific type, opt for a special potting medium geraniums that will satisfy all the
plants of balcony. A rather dark color, a good potting soil has a certain elasticity when compacted between the palms of the hands. Plant or, if necessary, plant the flower boxes before installing them on their supports.
Greenery on the balcony: it’s planned! © Ikea
Mini-clumps for a mini-balcony?
Mini-clods are very young plants, often sold by mail. Many are for balcony boxes. Their acquisition is tempting because of their relatively low price.
However, they must be adopted with caution. These baby plants – their motte does not exceed 3 cm in diameter – require attentive care before their final planting and are rather addressed to experienced gardeners. But the lucky owners of a veranda will be able to start these mini-plants warm.
Balcony waiting for flowers © Alinéa
How to plant a balcony?
The potting soil is marketed in bags of 20, 40 or 70 liters. Allow about 10 liters for a 40 cm balcony with two plants, 15 liters for a 50 cm balcony with three plants, 20 liters for a 60 cm balcony with five plants.
- Place the empty box on a small improvised potting table. Check for drainage holes. Fill the container two-thirds with the potting soil.
- Open a cavity with your fingers together in conch. Position the plant and add two new potting soil handles. Pack vigorously to adhere clod and substrate. Proceed in the same way with other plants. Do not exceed 3 feet for a 50 cm planter. Do not repot plants with dry clods. If necessary, dip them for a few seconds in a basin of water.
- Put the balcony on its support and water. This watering and the following are facilitated if we take care to maintain between the potting soil and the top of the balcony a rim of at least 2 cm.
- Wait until the top of the potting soil dries to water again. Never pour water on the plant, but water with your foot.
- Three to four weeks after repotting, add a soluble organic fertilizer to each irrigation water. Avoid alternating diets and overeating: a light but regular intake optimizes plant growth. Stop these contributions in September.
A flowery arch
If the balconies fill the railings of the balcony, the suspensions occupy the upper parts. Consisting of a fastening system attached to a container – pot or metal basket – they occupy an often impressive volume in summer.
- Opt for a wide pot, provided with efficient drainage holes. Some have a similar water reserve.
- Pay attention to the weight of the whole: container, soil, water and plants.
- The plants used to garnish the balcony boxes are also suitable for suspensions, and vice versa. And it is not forbidden to harmonize the two.
Four seasons at the balcony
It is in summer that it is nice to be surrounded by flowers on the balcony. Most of the balcony or summer suspension plants are then condemned or stored in the cellar until the following season. Some species, however, bear the frost of the bad season. By the end of September or October, they are the ones who take over the summer blooms.
Choosing the right plants for a balcony © Castorama
Balcony plants for fall-winter
Most small evergreens support the usual winter frosts. It is of all shapes and colors. Marketed in small containers of 13 to 15 cm in diameter (1.2 to 2 liters), it is easy to combine them with the appetizing varieties of heucheries (‘Caramel’, ‘Crème brûlée’, ‘Marmelade’ or ‘Chocolat’ ), whose leaves in warm tones are also maintained throughout the winter.
The red berries of Gaultheria procumbens are a good match for the various callunes , which bloom in autumn but whose evergreen foliage is maintained until at least the following spring.
The evergold sedge , with ribbons of leaves brightly colored with yellow, brighten up the gray days.
Skimmia japonica – especially in its ‘Rubella’ variety – is rather a heather plant, but is often offered in small potatoes. He then integrates with happiness the compositions of autumn and winter. During periods of intense cold, however, it is safer to put all these plants under cover or to bundle them snugly in a wintering veil.
Skimmia japonica – F. Marre
Flowered balcony in the spring
To have beautiful potées in spring, nothing like preparing them … in autumn. Bisannuals and bulbssupport the reasonable winter frosts and cohabit willingly. In a single container, group in October daisies , forget – me – nots , wallflowers or thoughts with muscari of Armenia , various low tulips (Tulipa greggii and T. fosteriana), narcissus ‘Tête à tête’ and hyacinths . The primroses of spring will allow you, when the vegetation awakes, to remedy the empty spaces untimely created by the cold.