We are based in downtown Toronto. We are looking for plants that would be best suited to plant in a long narrow planter box on our balcony.
We get morning sun until about 11am.
Would love any ideas of plants that would survive and flourish here – to give some life to our balcony over spring and summer.
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.
Container/ balcony gardening has become a very popular in recent years and as a result we receive numerous inquires.
The following information is from a number of our earlier posts:
When planting in containers on a balcony you need to consider the physical environment your plants will be growing in, for example the amount of sun, wind conditions, and source of water: ie is it convenient? Although you have good sun light, how high up is your balcony? There is more wind at the higher levels that will affect taller plants and also dry out the containers more quickly. The first link below outlines some basic consideration when planning to plant in containers on a balcony. The second link has a list of annual plants that are good for dry conditions.
If you are a balcony or container gardener, you might like to view the Blooming Our Balconies guide we prepared in partnership with Toronto Balconies Bloom. You can find it here.
Before deciding on what type of planters to use, be sure to check your building regulations – check if planters or trellises can be attached to walls or railings and consider weight restrictions if you’ll be using large planters; wet soil is heavy. Consider plastic or fibreglass containers rather than heavier clay, concrete or metal. And be sure all containers have drainage hole. Consider how you’ll do the watering and if the neighbors’ balcony is directly below, ensure drainage goes the right direction in the event of overflow.
Using plants of varying heights, including annuals, wildflowers, flowering vines and potted shrubs and trees is most effective. Herbs such as parsley, basil, rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme and chives will also do well. Climbers could include nasturtiums or morning glory which you can grow from seed.
Toronto Master Gardeners has a Garden Guide on Pollinator Gardening with a good section on attracting pollinators to your balcony. You can find it at https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/gardeningguides/pollinator-garden-a-toronto-master-gardeners-guide/
For additional suggestions check the following entry:https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/index.php/askagardener/flowering-annuals-for-windy-sw-balcony/
This link provides you with some of our earlier posts on balcony gardening