Common Balcony Problems: Shade, Debris & Space

common balcony garden problemsThree common balcony container garden problems are shade, debris and lack of space. Even though there are some downsides to a balcony container garden, they can be easily fixed with some effort and compromise.


The Problems

Shade. Trees beyond the balcony can shade the container plants. Other close-by buildings can block light.

Debris. Trees can drop leaves or pine cones onto the balcony garden floor. Birdseed is a real mess, but can become a burden if you cannot easily sweep the balcony.

Lack of space. If there is no garage, bicycles and gardening equipment must be stored on the balcony. Some apartment balconies are smaller than others.

The Solutions

No matter where you live, you have to plan your garden around what you have available to you. Having a balcony doesn’t change this. You’ll need to make sacrifices. If you’re moving to another apartment or condo, put your balcony desires on your list of what you want at your new place (along with the in-unit washer and dryer, low pet rent, nice area, etc.).

So until you get our dream balcony, move plants around to areas where they get the most sun (even if you don't like that pot's placement), and try more shade-loving container plants (click here to see a list of 25 shade-loving plants). Factor in maintenance, such as sweeping debris off the balcony and picking it out of your plant containers (for the health of the plants). And you’ll have to compromise when it comes to the amount of space you have. One solution to the lack of floor space is to plant vertically. Build yourself a DIY plant shelf and use hanging plant containers. Balcony container gardening is full of compromises, but a small container garden has its benefits. It’s easy to move plants around so they get better light conditions, plants can come inside on too-hot, too-cold or too-windy days, and maintenance is much less than a large garden. You can have a small apartment garden to enjoy without the burden of having to constantly plant, trim, weed, mow and scare off animals that might eat your plants!

Additional information