North west balcony suggestions pls


Hi !

I am new to gardening and while reading about gardening I came across Toronto master gardeners website and it has been very helpful to understand some basics, do’s and don’ts. So thank you for that.

I am looking for suggestions for setting up my balcony’s a north west facing balcony in Etobicoke, 3rd floor of 20 storey building. Can you pls suggest any year around plants I can grow in my balcony ? Also any climber type plants for trellis setup pls ?

Thank you.


Welcome to gardening, and thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners ! Before you select the plants for your garden, there are a number of things that need to be considered. For example, what are your building regulations about attaching planters and trellises to walls and railings, are there any weight restrictions (containers full of wet soil/media can weigh hundreds of pounds depending on their size and what material they are made of), how will you water your plants (they will dry out quickly and you might need to water more than once each day) and where will the run-off water go (consider what is directly below you). Below are some links that will help you get started. They also include plant suggestions.

Container Gardening: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide

Blooming Our Balconies

Successful Container Gardens – University of Illinois Extension

When selecting your plants, you will need to consider how many hours of direct sunlight your balcony gets. North-west facing usually means that plants that prefer partial shade are your best choice (partial shade meaning 3-6 hours of direct sunlight, usually either in the morning or the afternoon, with protection from the hot midday sun). Your balcony might have different lighting, for example if other buildings are blocking direct sunlight, so you might need to adjust your plant selections accordingly. If you are going to grow year round plants, it’s best that they are hardy to zone 4 which is 2 zones lower that the usual hardiness zone in Toronto, to take into account that they are in containers and above ground height. Successfully overwintering year-round plants will probably be your biggest challenge. You might want to stick with annuals or perennials that you treat as annuals, at least initially. You will also need to consider how windy it is on your balcony, and how hot it gets.

The Toronto Master Gardeners have answered many questions about balcony gardening. All of these previous answers are available to you by entering ‘balcony’ in the Search box under Find it Here on our  homepage

Below is one of these previous answers that might be of interest to you.

Balcony flowering shrubs and evergreens

Have fun planning and planting you new balcony garden !


April 26, 2022