The balcony is a great space to use, but can also be quite a pain when it comes to choosing good trees for balcony gardening. For years I’ve been hearing from friends who have their own balconies, asking me which trees are best. One of the biggest challenges is the ability to control the privacy of a balcony without blocking the view of neighbors. Fortunately there are some easy steps that you can take to create this intimate space within your apartment.
First and foremost, be aware that trees that are too tall can actually interfere with your views. This is why most balcony plants are usually shorter than those used in houses. Taller plants are able to provide privacy, while the shorter varieties provide a more open airy feeling that allows you to enjoy the space. You’ll also want to choose plants that will work well together. If you have a design concept in mind for your apartment balcony, look up pictures of existing balconies to see how plants were arranged then match those plants to the spaces you have in mind.
Also keep in mind that your plants need to complement the overall style of your home. Black slate tiles are very popular in many new high-end apartment buildings but might look out of place in a home where they are a natural, earthy color. Similarly, you don’t want to choose pink roses if you live in a white home. Keep in mind the scale of your home when selecting your plants and other accessories.
Next, be sure to take into consideration your balcony’s shape. If you live in an older house, that might be all you need to do to spruce up the space. You can add climbing plants to the sides, or install a wall of hanging plants that will provide color as well as shelter for the plants. If you are lucky enough to have an extra large balcony, you can build a structure that will allow you to grow trees right up to the edge of your balcony. That way, you get the benefit of shade, while being able to see beyond your apartment window. However, if your space is rather narrow, then consider installing flowering plants, like roses, that would grow well even on a small space.
The amount of space that you have available for your balcony will also be a big factor in choosing the types of plants you buy. A tall, mature tree may not look right for a balcony, but there are plenty of low maintenance options that look nice and still get the job done. Most climbers and flowering plants like blueberry vines and hibiscus will look great when they are out of the ground but will tolerate being in the apartment all year long. Just be aware that they will need regular watering and monitoring to ensure that they stay healthy and look their best.
The climate of your apartment is also something you need to consider before you pick plants. Some plants can handle the heat of summer and the cold of winter, and some cannot. Azalea and rhododendron are ideal plants for both kinds of climate, as are some flowering plants like clematis and tulips. If your space is not typically hot or cold, then look for flowering plants that do not require much maintenance and do not like a lot of sunlight.
The location of your balcony will also play an important part in your choices for good trees for balcony plants. If you live near a beach, then you might want to choose trees that can withstand the heat of the sun or that naturally shade from the beach. Some examples include manzanita, geraniums, and oleanders. However, don’t forget that some varieties are poisonous and should be kept out of the reach of kids and pets.
If you have a balcony that spans across the front of your home, then you may want to get good trees for balcony placement. Since there is nothing that will really compete with a tall, mature tree, you can put it right in the middle. However, you need to make sure that you have enough height to allow it to grow comfortably, or it might not survive. For shorter balconies, consider using shrubbery to create a nice backdrop. Examples include clematis, gardenia, and asters. While these plants won’t provide a great deal of foliage, they will provide some color and can add an attractive focal point for your home.