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A balcony garden is an alternative gardening arrangement suited to small patios and balconies. Balcony gardens are often found in urban settings where green space is limited or unavailable. These gardens allow apartment owners to grow their own vegetation in pots and other containers laid out on a balcony setting. There are spatial and environmental limitations that a gardener should consider before planting.
Many factors decide the layout and structure of a balcony garden. The most significant of these is space. Some apartments and condominiums have smaller patios and balconies than others, and the gardener may need to adapt plant variety accordingly. Some larger plants have varieties that are smaller and more suitable to a balcony arrangement while providing the same aesthetic or nutritional traits.
The amount of sunlight available on the balcony is a factor that dictates plant arrangement and the gardener's watering habits. Patios that enjoy full sunlight — six to eight hours — accommodate certain plant species that shaded patios cannot. Other forms of vegetation thrive under partial exposure — between three to six hours of direct sunlight — or full shade. With open balconies, an independent structure that provides shade can be erected, allowing the gardener a wider variety of plants from which to choose.
Balcony gardeners should be aware of the regional climate and growing season. Heavy snows and rainstorms can damage the garden and decimate plants. Choosing climate appropriate pottery and containers, especially for perennials, provides the plants with continuous protection.
For some balcony gardeners, growing organic fruits and vegetables is an appealing notion. Beginner gardeners will often select resilient plants such as carrots, beats, and peppers that can thrive in any setting. Rosemary, garlic, and basil are examples of easily cultivated herbs and spices that can be grown on a patio. Strawberries can be adapted to small-scale gardening.
A balcony garden can offer an apartment owner solitude without taking up too much space. Hanging potted plants at various heights is a simple and easy solution, affording privacy without losing valuable floor space. Some gardners grow tall plants like bamboo along a trellis. Flowering plants like sunflowers, foxgloves, and hollyhocks can add privacy and an attractive color scheme.