Balcony Gardening with perennials

(Question)

Can perennials grow on a balcony in the Bayview Eglinton area? I want to take some bleeding hearts and a few other perennials with me when I move from a house.

Thank you.

(Answer)

Yes, one can grow perennials on balconies. However, to do so successfully, there are several factors that have to be considered.

  • Sun exposure: in which direction does the balcony face? If it is on the south side of the building, you will have full sun; east side-morning sun, etc.
  • Wind consideration: Is the balcony sheltered or exposed to prevailing winds or wind-tunnel effect? Wind is perhaps the biggest challenge to balcony gardening–wind will dry out the soil in containers easily–consistent and effective watering is required. And the higher your balcony is from the ground, the windier the conditions.
  • Size of containers: If you plan to grow perennials, you will need large enough 4-season insulated containers that will withstand the changes in temperature throughout the seasons. Note: You should check with your building management for regulations in use of balcony space–safety concerns and weight considerations. For perennials, containers will need to be at least 40 cm. (16″) in height and width. You may need to consider lightweight alternatives for containers and soil.
  • ‘Right plant, right place’ is even more important on a balcony than on the ground–one must consider the recommended growing zone for perennials; select plants that are at least 2 zones hardier than the normal zone [i.e. for Toronto (zone 6a), plants should be hardy to zone 4].

Assuming that you plant your Bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis) in adequately large containers with good organic soil, they should do well on your balcony as long as the container is situated in a shady or part shade area of your balcony and the soil is kept consistently moist with regular watering.

All the best on your move; hope that you will be able to continue to enjoy the perennials from your garden for years to come.

For more information about balcony gardening with perennials, please see:  http://www.sheridannurseries.com/garden_tips/container_gardening/hardy_plants_in_year_round_containers

http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/balcony-gardening-2/