If you have a balcony, chances are you don't have a lot of green space in which to plant your own garden. With hanging planters, however, your balcony can be your garden and still leave space for lounging. Hanging planters can be used to grow flowers, herbs and even some vegetables, resulting in your own little above-ground garden.
There are three basic types of hanging planters for balconies. Box-style planters are long and rectangular in design; they hang horizontally along a railing. Alternatively, you can display baskets that hang from the ceiling of the balcony or use upside-down vegetable planters, which also hang from the ceiling. The style(s) you choose depends on aesthetics and your balcony's setup. If you don't have a way to install hooks to the ceiling or if there is no ceiling, railing planters the way to go. If you want to grow tomatoes, an upside-down hanging planter will yield better results than a box planter.
Box planters need a railing to attach to. They may be held onto the railing with a bracket or they may feature two connected planters that drape over the railing, evenly balancing each other. Some box planters require hardware installation. Any hanging planter will require a very sturdy hook that's been installed into one of the ceiling's beams. Hanging plants are heavy, so make sure that the hook is installed properly. If you don't have a hook installed and your building won't allow you to install one, use a standing wrought iron plant hanger.
Plant flowers and vegetables in the spring, following recommended planting instructions. Herbs can be started indoors on a windowsill and transferred outside when the weather warms. Use a potting mix designed for containers as small boxes or pots have different needs than a regular outdoor garden, and use a mix appropriate for the plants. For example, if your flowers require soil with a low pH level, use a potting soil with a low pH level. To plant in a hanging or box planter, fill the container halfway with soil and then add fertilizer and water. Set the plants into the planter, top them with soil and water again.
Watering and Care
Plants in railing boxes or hanging baskets require more water than plants in an outdoor garden because they are confined to such a small amount of soil. Water your balcony garden once a day in temperate weather and twice a day in hot weather. Add fertilizer to the water every 1 to 2 weeks. Trim herbs and flowers regularly, removing any dead blooms. When the weather gets cold, you can move herbs and hanging plants indoors; annuals and vegetables should be cut or harvested, with the planter covered or stored until the next season.
- Photo Credit balcony image by gajatz from Fotolia.com
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