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Container plants for sunny balcony

MolamolaMolamola BelgiumPosts: 4

This is my first post (:  I would love some advice on container planting for my front balcony - which can get very hot and sunny.  It is c. 4m x 0.8m (the exposed part). 

Could I plant an evergreen climber to spill down/trail along the railing (maybe a clematis or star jasmine), or would I have more success with some well-structured drought-tolerant plants - maybe succulents, artemisia, or an euphorbia? Could I do both in different containers - and how big should they be? 

This is my first experience with proper gardening, and because containers are expensive, I thought I should figure out the plants that would really thrive before getting the right containers.  

Thank you!


  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 869
    You'll get lots of suggestions here for plants that would work, but before you rush out and buy expensive containers, why not think about using anything you have to hand.  It won't necessarily look pretty, but it will mean you can focus on the plants (and see how successfully they grow, and how much maintenance they need) and you could then buy containers at a later date.  

    You can use virtually anything that will hold soil, and which has drainage.  The internet (and programmes like Gardeners World) are full of lockdown-friendly container ideas, from old yoghurt pots, milk cartons, etc.  Once the foliage has grown, you won't even notice them.

    There is also a free seed swap on this forum, so another way to build up a good plant collection at minimal cost.  If you know any gardeners, ask if any of them have spare plants or cuttings you can have.  Take a zero/low cost approach, to trial what works, and then invest what you can afford later.

    I would treat every space I had, including a balcony, as it if were a garden.  I'd include a small tree, one or two shrubs (evergreen, flowering for some interest), some perennials, and a few annual plants that you can change each year.  Although you have a small space, try to include one or two larger plants/pots.  It will look more impactful than lots of tiny ones.  I love the minimalist railing, plus it will let in lots of plant-loving light!
  • MolamolaMolamola BelgiumPosts: 4
    This is great advice thank you (: Try plants out and worry about nice pots later. I also love Gardener's World - it's what inspired me to really start trying to garden (and how I found this forum)!  
  • PyraPyra Central Scotland Posts: 99
    Hi Mola. I used to have a balcony just like yours! I managed to grow clematis along my railings, which were older and much closer together. In pots I had lavender and lots of herbs such as rosemary, oregano, thyme, fennel and curry plant on mine. In fact the curry plant loved it so much it basically bullied out everything else in the pot, so got it's own. Small annuals like pansies or nemesia loved it too. 
    And there was room for a very small table and chairs from IKEA! 
  • Dirty HarryDirty Harry Posts: 794
    Mediterranean plants are an obvious one.

    Lavender, rosemary, thyme etc.
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 3,902
    If the balcony is exposed to harsh winds, always go for plants with stiff branches and small leaves. Preferably with waxy and leathery leaves. Arbutus Unedo, and there are dwarf varieties too. Good all-round and evergreen too. Sedums from low growing to tall growers, all easy to grow in containers. Added winter structure a bonus. For colour, Nemesias and Diascias all do well in pots. 
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