Top tips for keeping that much loved Christmas plant alive. We've tested a plant sensor and mixed it up with some good old gardening knowledge...
You can fit all of your favourite elements of a garden into a balcony. Unless they include the horse stables.
If there’s one thing I believe in, it’s this: an outdoor lifestyle is for everyone. That’s true if you own an estate in Suffolk, a castle in the Highlands, or if you live in a tower block. I speak from experience. I spent four years of my childhood in Hong Kong, and whilst there is probably more greenery and attractive outdoor space there than you would know if you haven’t visited, in reality most people live quite an urban lifestyle.
But an urban lifestyle doesn’t stop children from having adventures. My sisters and I had all of your typical childhood experiences… just in slightly less outdoorsy settings. I can clearly remember learning to cycle in the underground car park, and my sister suffering some pretty bad damage when she fell off the (very small) climbing frame on our balcony. Admittedly, my parents did draw the line at buying the pony that I had on my Christmas list… which looking back, seems pretty unfair.
Gardening on a balcony has its challenges, but if you can fit a climbing frame onto a balcony, then you can sure as heck fit your favourite elements of a garden as well. You just have to think carefully about how much time you want to spend maintaining it and what you want to grow:
- Our top tip is to use annual plants – not all plants overwinter well in pots and using annual plants will allow you to grow different flowers and vegetables every year, which is more interesting from both a gardening and an aesthetic perspective.
- Vertical planting and climbing plants are a great option as they can use the walls and railings as a natural support structure, and will soften the hard edges of your urban environment. Fragrant options like jasmine can not only clean the air but make it smell good too!
- Vegetables are a really rewarding choice and grow surprisingly well on a balcony, particularly as these often act as a heat trap. Check out our top 5 veg to grow on a balcony.
- Don’t let a shady balcony put you off: shade-loving plants like begonias and camellias can thrive on a north-facing balcony.
Finally we have prepared a board that includes equipment you might need when you start up your balcony garden.