Planting Trees in Planters on SW full sun balcony in TO


Hello- I kill cactus so I need your expertise. I wanted to do a custom made Bamboo privacy screen to block just over 5ft across to minimum 8 ft heigh. A friend recommended I do a cedar hedge across instead. As I live right on the water we get very high winds and I get full sun as I face south west. I know nothing about trees or planters for cedars, or what type of cedar. What do you recommend planting strictly for privacy? What type of planter to carry the weight of a tree, what type of tree for full SW sun and high winds and how many trees to cover approximately 48-52 across. Do you plant in those square individual planters or find some large 50 inch across planter? Or do you not recommend this at all? Thank you


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

There are many challenges with balcony gardening but as we all enjoy additional privacy provided by greenery, let’s review some possibilities.

The first would be to ensure the building allows planters on the balcony, and, if yes, any additional restrictions to ensure safety is maintained as well as any height and weight guidelines. This has been detailed in the following link.

Another consideration is the type of plant. Cedars would provide dense, year-round green and would perform best if additional protection is provided in the winter. Would wrapping the hedge with burlap for the winter months detract from the view or would it be possible to move the containers to a more protected location? A previous post provides more details about the challenges.

Several possible alternatives to the cedars would be an annual vine growing on a trellis or ornamental grasses or a combination of plants providing the greenery from spring to fall without the need to worry about winter damage. This link has many more examples for your consideration.

There is a wealth of information on cedars and balcony gardening in our library. Use the “Find it Here” feature and type in your search words and you will find many more articles on balcony gardening.

Here’s to your greener world.