Flowering annuals for windy sw balcony?


Unfortunately I missed your sessions on balcony gardening. Could you please advise what types of flowers would be most likely to succeed on a small balcony near Islington and Bloor. My concern is that we frequently experience high gusty winds, even on the 9th floor.
Also, are there any online sources you could recommend?


A windy spot has two issues: 1) wind can damage or rip delicate petals and leaves, and 2) wind can be drying for the plant and soil. You’ll want a plant that is fairly resilient (for example, with small, tough leaves and flowers, less likely to be damaged by wind) and also somewhat tolerant of drought – this is especially true, as your southwest-facing balcony is exposed to strong sunlight.

Always on a balcony, pay extra attention to how quickly your pots dry out, and water when the surface of the soil is dry. For annuals in containers, it’s also wise to add a slow-release, organic fertilizer at planting time and/or feed with a liquid fertilizer (mixed at 1/4 strength) every time you water. Growing annuals in containers is one of the few situations where we don’t say “feed the soil, not the plants.”

Some plants you might consider:

  • Ivy-leaf geraniums, especially those with single (not double flowers), with more leathery leaves and smaller petals
  • Calibrachoa (sometimes called million bells), which look like a miniature petunia in both leaf and flower
  • Hybrid Euphorbia Diamond Frost makes an airy filler and also will stand a certain amount of dryness
  • Osteospermum, a fairly drought-tolerant, daisy-like flower with interesting blue centres
  • Annual Phlox, which stays compact and is somewhat drought-tolerant
  • Verbena, a spreading annual that comes in colours from white and purple through red and salmon.

I hope this helps give you some sturdy choices for your balcony garden. Happy gardening!