I need help in finding plants that will survive the winds that we get in Toronto on the high rise balconies. My suite is on the 27th floor and don’t know if I can create a living privacy wall between my balcony and my neighbors. Thanks in advance
Balcony gardening is a very popular topic these days with so many people living in condos. Toronto Master Gardeners have dealt with this subject quite a few times. You can find numerous archived posts on their Website at www.torontomastergardeners.ca. Just type “balcony gardening” into the search bar, located to the right of the page and a list of articles will appear or you can click the links below.
First, you need to check with your building management for regulations governing the use of your balcony space. You probably will find you cannot attach anything to the railings and walls. Containers therefore will be the best approach to take. 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.
In your specific case, being on the 27th floor is going to be a real challenge. You do not state the direction your balcony faces. The amount of exposure to sun and shade on your balcony will determine which plants will be suitable. The wind you mention will dry out the soil, so consistent and effective watering is required. Bear in mind this will add weight to the containers. If you plan to grow perennials or small shrubs you will need large insulated containers that will withstand the changes in temperature throughout the seasons. In winter you will also need to protect your plants from those drying winds.
When purchasing plants it is recommended that one selects plants that are at least 2 zones hardier than the normal zone for your area [i.e. for Toronto (zone 6a), plants should be hardy to zone 4]. If you are able to garden on your balcony and you wish to create a privacy wall try a climber on a trellis placed in a container. You many need several to create the “wall”. You could try one of the following: ivy, climbing hydrangea, clematis, honeysuckle and morning glory. In the articles below you will find suggestions for suitable plants.
All being well you will be able to “green” your balcony and create a little oasis in the concrete jungle.