From the balcony: What I know about container gardens


One of the most difficult parts of container gardening is that your plants lean and can become one sided. This is because all of the light comes in at one direction and the plants want to be there (thus the title of my blog). So you end up with lopsided plants that you can’t really see from where you are sitting inside. You can turn them often but I wonder if this is stressful for them. Also with containers you have to worry about drying out especially if you have hanging baskets and especially with the heat here.

Spring and summer are some of the best times to experiment with your garden and watch it grow. There are quite a few things to remember. Enjoying a small break from the stifling heat I was able to spend a few moments out on the balcony checking on the plants. I thought about the work I did this spring (unfortunately no documentation as the blog is still very new) and the things that I’ve learned about gardening in containers.

  • it’s hard work and you will learn how to expertly pick dirt from your nails
  • beware of the bugs, and fight back
  • water appropriately: know your plants & use good water. I had a big problem after moving to my new apartment. Just about every plant stopped growing had brown tips and the soil began to look ashy…the tap water was the problem. I now buy distilled in jugs or if I’m in a pinch I filter tap water and let it sit out for a few days. The plants have never looked better
  • stay tuned in for signs of unhappy plants: droopy or yellow leaves, dropping leaves, ashy soil, brown tips, bugs, stretching (succulents). One of the best things I bought this summer was a plant care guide to help me diagnose the water issue
  • let there be light
  • fertilize about once a week during growth spurts. If a plant has new leaves it’s actively growing and might need some food. Read the directions so you don’t burn or overfeed your plant
  • that thing you’ve heard about talking to your plants is not crazy. I have to say I don’t talk but as I remember I do blow on them as I walk by
  • use a good quality soil! I like miracle grow
  • keep indoor plants dust free. A quick and gentle wipe with a damp cloth is all you need
  • Share! Take pictures! Enjoy! I take cuttings of my plants often. It keeps the parent active and bushy and you get free plants that you can repot and share or keep for yourself. My mom and I share plants and tips all the time
  • DSCN0098100_2232DSCN0158

    This year’s garden has had a few ups and downs, mainly I think between the move and the sketchy tap water but the plants seem to be rebounding now while some are still puny. This was the first year that I experimented with flowering annuals. I loved the splashes of color. I also expanded my herb garden to include parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and lavender. This made for very tasty meals. Now when I cook without them I miss them. I also added more succulents as they do well in the heat and come in a lot of interesting varieties. Next year I plan on adding more flowering plants, experimenting with larger containers and mixed varieties as well as adding a few vegetables which will make for even tastier meals.

    About the pictures: The pictures up top are from last spring. Those are the bottom were taken this year.


    One response to “From the balcony: What I know about container gardens

    • Brigindo

      Wow you’re garden is looking very lovely this year! My containers of veggies did not do well at all. Of course I planted them and then paid very little attention to them for the rest of the summer. I think I like the idea of gardening more than the actual process.

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