Colorful perennial shrub for sunny Toronto balcony container




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Growing in containers on a balcony is a great way to garden but can be challenging. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a perennial shrub for your balcony:

  • What are the regulations in your building regarding balcony gardening? Can planters or trellises be attached to walls or railings? Are there balcony weight restriction?
  • Will the plant you choose fit inside the building elevator?
  • The soil dries out faster on a balcony due to high winds and the simple fact that plants are in containers. The overhang from the next floor also reduces the amount of rain your containers will receive. So, you will need to water frequently.
  • Containers need to be sturdy and secure enough to withstand the wind and the elements. Wet soil is heavy, so factor weight restrictions into your choice of planter. Plastic or fibreglass containers are lighter than clay, concrete or metal. All containers should have drainage holes.
  • The higher up you are located, the more challenging the growing conditions.
  • Overwintering perennials on a balcony take some care. Containers should be at least 40 cm. (16″) in height and width and should be insulated. Here are some tips on overwintering containers:

As far as specific shrub selection, look for a tough variety. A good rule of thumb is to choose a plant with a hardiness zone lower than your local zone (6a in Toronto). Also, check the ultimate size of the shrub before buying to make sure it will not outgrow your balcony. Here are a few ideas:

  • Blondy Wintercreeper, (Euonymus fortunei ‘Interbolwi’) compact broadleaf evergreen shrub, yellow foliage with a dark green margin.
  • Golden Sword Adam’s Needle, (Yucca filamentosa ‘Golden Sword’) cactus-like evergreen shrub, green and gold spear-like leaves radiating from the center, tall spikes of nodding white flowers in summer.
  • Dwarf Korean Lilac, (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’) compact, deciduous shrub, rounded leaves emerge burgundy turn dark green, fragrant lilac-pink flowers in late spring.
  • Lemon Thread Falsecypress, (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Lemon Thread’) slow growing, semi-dwarf conical evergreen shrub; attractive lemon-yellow threadlike foliage


April 22, 2021