What Plants to Choose for Your Balcony Garden
Find out what you need to consider when choosing plants for your balcony, as well as a few leafy suggestions
If you want to create your own lush landscape, but you’re wondering what kind of plants would work best in your outdoor space, there are several things to consider. How much space do you have? How much sun exposure does your balcony get? And how much effort do you want to put into maintaining your greenery? Here are some recommendations to help you get growing.
One of the first things to consider is how much space you have to work with in your balcony, and how you want to use that space. For smaller areas, it could be better to pick one larger feature plant for impact, such as a tall palm or a box of lucky bamboo, rather than lots of smaller plants. A multitude of smaller plants in individual pots can make a compact space look cluttered, however, in a larger space they could look charming and refreshingly green. Make sure, when choosing your plants, that you check the size they will grow to and pick accordingly.
Knowing how much sun your balcony is exposed to throughout the day is essential when choosing. If your balcony is south-facing, for example, and gets a great deal of light, succulents, palms, citrus and many Mediterranean herbs will work well, whereas orchids and ferns will dry out and burn.
Another important factor to consider is how much wind your plants will be exposed to. This may not be an issue if you’re lower down, but those on high floors will need to consider this. Low-growing plants are ideal, while anchors may be necessary for smaller pots. Heavier pots may be better suited to windy balconies, just make sure they’re not able to tip over any edge. Vertical gardens can also be a good option in these conditions, as long as they’re securely fastened to the wall.
Also remember that more watering may be needed for plants in windy environments, as evaporation will dry them out quite quickly, even in high humidity.
With Singapore’s temperature being fairly consistent year round, the temperature in your balcony will mostly depend on how shaded it is, and what time of day you get the most sun exposure.
The high humidity level in Singapore makes it perfect for growing tropical plants, including ferns, rubber trees, bamboo and much more.
Do you want plants to screen off your balcony for privacy or extra shade? Or would you like plants to act as a deterrent for mosquitos and other pests? Maybe you’d like to grow some herbs to have them fresh year round. Have a think about what you want your plants to do for your home, to enable you to better enjoy your outdoor space.
How much time are you willing to spend looking after your plants? Will working in your garden every day bring a sense of calm and achievement? Or is caring for living greenery just added stress that you’d rather keep to a minimum? Some plants are temperamental and require daily care, where others will thrive if left to their own devices. When you’re choosing your plants, make sure to consider which species will best suit your lifestyle, not just your preferences. For example, if you travel a lot, plants that can more or less look after themselves, such as succulents, palms and air plants may be the best choice for you.
Baby rubber plant (Peperomia obtusifolia) is a native of tropical locales such as Mexico and the Caribbean, so it thrives in high humidity and temperatures, and in full sun. The plant has waxy, glossy leaves that can be either solid green or variegated, and can also survive in part shade, so long as it gets plenty of indirect sun. Be careful if you do have pets or young children, as the leaves of this plant are toxic if consumed.
Not only do these hardy palms look lovely in pots, either on their own as standalone plants or clustered together for maximum effect, they’re also very easy to care for, and they act as air purifiers in enclosed spaces, filtering toxins out of the air.
Jade plant (Crassula ovata).
Together with other succulents, jade plant is happiest in full sun and is very low-maintenance – the less attention you give it, the happier it will be. It is known as a bringer of friendship and prosperity, so is a very lucky plant to have in your home.
Lucky bamboo (Dracaena braunii). This is perhaps one of the most popular plants throughout much of Asia, as it’s believed to bring good luck and prosperity. Bright, but indirect, light is the best choice for lucky bamboo as it needs lots of light but full, direct sunlight will burn its leaves. The plant can be grown in soil or in water, but it is lower maintenance if grown in water.
Make a ‘Kokedama’ String Garden
Orchid (Orchidaceae). If your balcony receives low light, isn’t exposed to wind often and you’re happy to have a plant that thrives on neglect (or near enough to it) orchids may be a great option for you. These popular flowers are often given as gifts, and are generally kept as indoor plants. However, in the right conditions, they will grow well outdoors as well. Just remember that orchids don’t like direct sunlight, and that they prefer not to be too moist.
Read this guide to help you get the most out of your orchids, if this is your balcony plant of choice.
Native to Central and South America, this tropical plant enjoys high levels of humidity and heat, and while it doesn’t mind bright light (as long as it’s not direct sun), it will thrive in low light conditions. The hardy nature of this plant makes it quite easy to care for, and as an added bonus they are completely non-toxic.
Which plant do you have in your home? Share your tips on plant care in the Comments below.