Window sills and balconies make excellent locations for a wide range of container gown plants. They may be in an open position, catching more light than at ground level, where they will also escape the worst frost. If the situation is very open, however planting part way up a building may be exposed to wind which can strain plant stems and dry the soil out quickly. Low growing shrub like potted plants are better suitable.
Regular maintenance is straightforward, provided windows give adequate access by tilting, or moving up and down. You can suspend a window box type planter below the window so you can open it up to water and tend to the plant materials. Hanging pots work good also if you can reach them when opening the window.
Both windowsill and balcony areas are limited in size and narrow containers ten to work very well here. If there is more room than a larger container can work when placed in a corner. A balcony can't easy be accessed so you want to make sure that you are using durable containers.
Pot like poly resin, concrete and metal are all long lasting and won't have to be replaced for a number of years. On a balcony you must be careful of the weight of the pot once filled with soil.
Some veggies planted can act like a wind breaker if necessary. You can also grow radishes, spring onions and other shallow root plants. On a windowsill you want to make sure to use some flowering plants so that you get the color from the inside when looking out.
This is the time to create an eye catching display. Of course you can always plant evergreen shrubs that stay green all year long but try to keep them container by pruning. Don't let them over grow or the weight may be to much.
If the area gets a lot of sun light or mostly shade you need to take that into consideration. Try to put the kinds of plant materials that fit that amount of sunlight. We love to see herbs growing outside a kitchen window, bulbs outside a breakfast nook and lush green plants outside a living room window or on the front of the house. Use trailing ivy when you have the room for it. It's light weight and really adds a lot of interest to any display.
Don't let the fact that you only have a balcony stop you from creating a small garden, or fragrant floral arrangement. There are plenty of plant materials and pottery choices to make any situation work perfectly.
Tall Italian cypress or willowy weeping birch, lacy Japanese maple, or fragrant sweet bay - trees bring natural grace wherever they grow. Container trees modest in height, yet still tall enough to look dramatic, can enhance even the smallest entryway, patio or balcony.
Decked out in green all year long, potted conifers and other evergreens create a lush background for blooming annuals and perennials. Many deciduous trees stage seasonal spectacles worth showing off to friends.
Blazing with color in autumn and elegantly bare branched in winter, they burst into bloom come spring, then spend the summer in leaf. Trees bring more than good looks to their surroundings, they help to shelter the places where they grow.
With proper care most slow growing small trees will prosper in large containers for years. Make sure your choose a container that is large enough for your tree. Any container - no matter how large - slows a trees growth and limits the height it can achieve. For example a tree that grows 30 feet may only grow 8 to 10 feet in a garden pot.
The best time to plant a tree is early autumn. Most trees perform best in a mix of one part garden loam to tow parts potting soil mix. Keep soil slightly on the dry side, but deep water. Apply fertilizer once in spring and once again in summer.
During the first years, even a small tree may be top heavy. Use a stake to help for support. Most garden containers can be used for tree potting. We like a durable pot like ceramic, concrete or poly resin instead of a pot like terracotta that will break down over time. Try to choose the largest you can handle so that you don't have to worry about transplanting for a couple of year.
Below are a suggestion of some trees that we like and work well in containers.
Cool, tranquil water, shimmering in a garden pool, seems to wash away cares and tension. To bring water-garden refreshment to your container collection, you will need only a few springtime hours and a few simple ingredients: a suitable container, a sunny site, gallons of water, some bog or aquatic plants and a few water snails and goldfish to help keep the pool clean.
Container Tips: If you want a good sized water garden, buy a 25 gallon at least container; almost any leak proof vessel of the appropriate capacity will do. Avoid terracotta pots since it is meant to absorb the water and will break down faster.
A colorful glazed bowl is a great place to start. You can also use concrete, poly resin, sandstone, black clay that is high fired, metal or any other strong and durable material. It is best to select a container without drainage holes, but if there are pre-drilled, be sure to plug them tightly before filling with water. There are many silicone products available at your local home depot.
Selecting a site tips: Because a water filled container is heavy, it makes good sense to set up your water garden in its permanent location. You may prefer to place it on garden ground rather than on a deck or patio: the pool will have to be drained and scrubbed once a year, and there's always some chance of seepage.
As you evaluate possible sites, remember that it's important to provide plenty of sunshine: most aquatic plants need at least 6 hrs of full sun daily.
Filling & planting tips: Before placing the pot in it's permanent home, fill it with water, then clean out any debris that may be in the pot. Drain and refill the pot and let it sit for a week before planting. With the exception of plants which simply float freely on the surface, aquatic plants must be potted before being placed in the pool.
Plastic pots are best, since they hold up. Fill pots with garden loam and inch thick and top with sand to keep them from floating.
Submerge planted pots in the pool, usually positioning them so pot tops are 6" or more under water. A few plants do best if only partially submerged. To raise plant to the proper height, you will need to set up pedestals made from bricks or overturned plastic pots.
Add a goldfish or two to keep the water free of insects. A few snails help keep the pool clean by nibbling algae and decaying matter. Once a year drain the pool and scrub it out with a mix of water and bleach.
Suggested plants: Umbrella plant, dwarf papyrus, water hyacinth, horsetail, japanese iris, water lily and arrowhead.
Here is a simple and fun project. By following these simple steps you can create your own inspirational containers for your home or gardenareas. The brilliant colors of the Mediterranean are recreated with these painted terracotta pots. While the plants thrive in the climate of the Mediterranean, they also perform perfectly in less predictable weather conditions.
Materials you will need:
4 Terracotta clay pots of various sizes
Selection of bright colored acrylic paints
Loam based compost
Large Red Pelargonium
Step 1. Paint the pots with solid colors or with patterns using two coats if necessary. The terracotta absorbs the moisture from the paint, so they will dry very quickly.
Step 2. Paint the rim of one pot with a contrasting color.
Step 3. Create a zig-zag pattern using masking take and painting alternate sections.
Step 4. Fill pots with compost, then position the plants, firming them in place with extra compost.
Step 5. The aloe does not need a large pot. Plant it in a pot just slightly larger than the one you bought it in.
Step 6. Plant the thyme and pelargonium in separate pots. Finish the plants with a top dressing of gravel, water well and place in a sunny window.
For commercial reasons the plants you buy will probably have been grown in a peat compost, although they prefer a loam based compost. Gently loosen the peat around their roots and mix with the loam based compost before potting up in the new mixture. Plant in late spring or early summer.