Have you ever been in doubt as to what to grow on your balcony?

The good news is there are many plants you can grow on your balcony!  They need to be site responsive though – suitable for how much sun, shade and wind your balcony gets.  For watering they need to fit in with your lifestyle and the drainage design of your balcony. If you have drainage on your balcony and you are able to install an irrigation system you can grow almost any pant, as long as they are site responsive to your balcony.  It becomes tricky if you can’t, you will need to hand water your pots from your closest tap.  If there is no drainage remember your neighbours under you, we don’t want to water them too – so it’s best to pick succulents! 

What to plant!? We have listed a few plants to get you started for your balcony garden:

Sunny to part sun balconies

Trees –

  • Plumeria obtusa – Singapore Frangipani

  • Olea europaea ‘Tolley’s Upright’ – Olive Tree

  • Dracaena draco – Dragon Tree

  • Citrus trees

Shrubs –

  • Sun loving bromeliads like Alcantarea imperialis ‘Rubra’

  • Carissa ‘Desert Star’ – Natal Plum

  • Radermachera ‘Summer Scent’ – Fragrant Jasmine Tree

  • Rhaphiolepis ‘Oriental Peal’ – Indian Hawthorne

  • Kalanchoe ‘Copper Spoons’ or ‘Silver Spoons’

  • Agave’s like Agave Attenuate or Queen Agave

  • Crassula ovate or Crassula arborescens – Jade Plants

  • Kalanchoe ‘Copper Spoons’ or ‘Silver Spoons’

Vines –

  • Bouganvilla bambino

  • Mandevilla vine

  • Trachelospermum jasminoides – Star Jasmine

Shady balconies

Trees –

  • Ficus lyrata – Fiddle Leaf Fig

  • Ficus elastic – Rubber Plant

Shrubs & Groundcovers –

  • Rhapis excelsa – Lady Palm

  • Radermachera ‘Summer Scent’ – Fragrant Jasmine Tree

  • Asplenium nidus – Birds Nest Fern

  • Aspidistra elatior – Cast Iron Plant

  • Spathiphyllum ‘Petite’ or ‘Sensation’ – Peace Lily

  • Peperomia obtusifolia – Baby Ruberplant

  • Neomarica gracilis – Walking Iris

  • Philodendron congo

Vines –

  • Epipremnum aureum – Devil’s Ivy

  • Hoya carnosa – Wax Flower

  • Trachelospermum jasminoides – Star Jasmine

Lastly remember less is more! To avoid the ‘Frustrated Gardner’ look that Mr Hoppy has from the movie Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot with many pots that cramp the space, choose a few large pots instead.  Larger pots will also make the space look bigger, we recommend using fibreglass pots as they are lighter for weight restrictions on the balcony.  Not only will a collection of larger pots look more stylish, plants need adequate soil to thrive so if they are planted in a large pot they will be better off. Last tip – Trees need to be planted in a pot close to a meter wide and a meter tall so they get enough soil and root ball space.

Image Credit: Chris Barbalis

Eva Porter

Eva Porter is the founder and director of Porter Designs a landscape architecture design studio. She has a bachelor of design with honours, majoring in Landscape Architecture. Eva is a Registered Landscape Architect with the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA). She is also a director on the national board of the Australian Institute of Landscape Designers & Managers (AILDM), helping to shape the industry nationally. Eva is also an award winning entrepreneur locally and regionally.

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