Plants On A Balcony

In today’s urban yards and postage stamp lots, it can be difficult to have the garden and landscaping you desire! You won’t even need a patch of earth to plant in with today’s downsized options! 

A porch, patio or even a balcony can become a slice of paradise with some of the newer varieties available to gardeners these days! Even if it is just a staircase you let vines wind up the railing or line with potted plants, there are so many pint-sized alternatives of larger counterparts. 

Going smaller, or using plants that are dual-purpose, or trees that grow straight up instead of out. There are plants that conform to your needs instead of the other way around, and are readily available to everyone in all climates and budgets!

Functional Double Duty

Lawns are shrinking and even being replaced by gardens. And why shouldn’t your landscape serve double duty? Edible landscaping and growing edible ornamental plants that serve more than one purpose are all the rage! Choose selections that will serve more than one purpose, even in the front yard!

Why just mow it, when you can add it to your breakfast too? Why fertilize something all year just to have nothing to show for it at the end of the growing season? 

With ornamental options such as the Cabernet Splash Blueberries amazingly vibrant purple leaves, or a Carmine Jewel Dwarf Cherry for spring blooms and fruit. Or, hedges that feed you as well as provide privacy like Aronia and Gooseberry. Shrubs like Regent Saskatoon Serviceberry are just the start! 

Even if you don’t want to eat the shrubbery, there’s an astounding spectrum of weeping and columnar alternatives available to those caught in a tight spot! Skeeter’s Broom Japanese Maples, Sky Pencil Holly, and Hemond Pillar Barberry. For more living sculptural accents, the columnar and weeping Evergreens are the way to go.

Downsizing With Direction

With garden space at a premium, the need for plants that do in a pinch is at the top of everyone’s list! You are by no doubt familiar with dwarf plants and their ability to grow with minimalist efficiency. Plus the dwarf tree and shrub varieties are broadening by the day.

Your fruiting shrubs and fruit trees each have their own miniature versions that work in any sized setting! The compact varieties and downsized plant offerings are almost as infinite as their larger cousins.

Cherry trees are such modestly sized options that you can grow one about anyplace! All you need is a sunny spot to have these lovelies providing blooms in the spring, fruit in summer as well as fall color! Mixing your garden or orchard with your landscaping is a great option! Your vegetable gardens and perennial beds won’t mind sharing some space with ornamentals in raised beds! 

Bushel and Berry’s Raspberry Shortcake or the Baby Cakes Blackberry for a tasty planter addition on your balcony. Strawberries enjoy being tucked around trees and look lovely spilling over window boxes and acting as ‘spillers’ in a planter. Dwarf fruit shrub varieties mingle well in planters with your carrots and lettuce. Even hanging pots won’t miss out on the action, plants like Midnight Cascade Blueberry create lovely hanging baskets from your sunny porch as a pot of Petunias would!  

The tried and true Improved Dwarf Meyers Lemon, Clementine Mandarines and other dwarf Citrus do as well in containers on your patio as they do in front of a sunny window! 

Grow Vertical for a View

Trellising and supports such as obelisks, fencing, and arches are as varied as your imagination. Of course, the well-known Vines and climbing Roses that raise a garden to new heights, but you’ll love the many options that grow upwards to the sky! 

Vines are amazing at covering vertical spaces and even create living walls, or even a roof of greenery. Climbing and upright versions of many plants will cover whole pagodas and provide shade, privacy and living rooms within your garden. 

No arbor or awning would look complete without a blooming Rose cane draped over it romantically. Or a Wisteria vine gracefully spilling over your patio to provide shade and perfume the air. Have you ever picked a few grapes while on a shaded hammock?

Hand in hand with climbing are trailing plants, and these leafy creepers and ramblers, while not the best at climbing, can easily be encouraged to grow vertical. Honeysuckle happily clambers walls and pyramidal supports, or ramble over your mailbox. While Ivy and Euonymous fill in shaped forms of chicken wire for a sculptural appeal!

However, this style of plant does something even better. When left to do their own devices, trailing Ivy’s and Clematis can be wonderful in hanging containers to create curtains of verdant living privacy

Grapes are also amazing fruiting options that will serve double duty in limited spaces. Grapes are well known for their ornate leaves and jeweled fruit and often used for more than just their fruit. Trailing vines and creepers offer so much variety and versatility for those tight outdoor spaces! 

Grow Skinny In Cramped Spaces

No living roof or walls is complete without art and decor. Space-conscious decorating is easy with such delightful ornamentals as Topiary and Tree-form Roses or an amazing Amber Jubilee Ninebark Tree-form. These handy plants are either trained as tall, narrow trees or grafted to a standard for upward, instead of outward, decor!

Many columnar trees rise to modest heights while keeping a trim profile. Sized just right to fit anywhere, narrow growing trees and shrubs like Sky Tower Ginkgo, Alpha Upright Canadian Hemlocks, and Taylors Juniper. These are easy to sneak into any size available to create narrow rows and privacy. Fruit trees too have their columnar cousins. 

Columnar fruit trees like Blushing Delight™ & Golden Treat™ Columnar Urban® Apple Trees Combo for instance, maintains an easy-to-reach 10 foot in height, while only sacrificing 2 feet of width each! The Sugar Pie Columnar Nectarines grow full-sized fruit on a diminutive 5’ wide plant. Cara Cara Sweet Oranges create skinny evergreen hedges in warmer growing zones.

Smaller sizes and narrow widths mean you don’t even need a small yard, to have the garden of your dreams! These plants are often easily grown in planters and containers on the smallest balcony or patio.

Other Outstanding Options

An unusual form of vertical gardening is Espalier. Specially pruned to fit flush against a home’s foundation or flat against a wall, these high-style, old-fashioned space savers have been around since the 17th Century. Found in Medieval gardens and modern urban yards alike, Espalier is the epitome of efficiency in the garden!

Even if you don’t even have the wall, your Espalier trees can become the enclosure themselves and create living walls or rooms on their own. Hedges of columnar trees or well-groomed Espalier kicks style up several notches on their own!

Living wall planters are another way to create vertical greenery where space is at a premium. Even if you don’t have ground to plant in, you can always plant perpendicular. Growing right out of containers and planters or even window boxes attached to the walls themselves; Living walls take up a niche, sometimes an oft-ignored portion of any landscape. Your options are only limited by your imagination!

One last way to save space savers to consider is High-Density Planting, Succession Planting and Square-Foot Gardening. You can utilize space big time with some careful pruning or the right selection! Visit our blog on all three topics for more information. There is a world of other options available for gardeners working with a small gardening footprint

So whether you’re in a city apartment or are working with a tiny balcony, go ahead and break out those gardening gloves. You’ll always be able to have a garden within arms reach when you call the experts at Nature Hills today!

Happy gardening!