Stunted Plant Growth with Low Light

Zinnia flower grown in low lightUnfortunately, many apartment gardeners have low light in their balcony gardens. You may have low light and still want to grow beautiful flowers that require high light. Unfortunately, you will be disappointed with your container plants if you can’t provide them with the correct conditions. Plants that require a lot of sun will look scraggly, less full and will grow slower when kept in shade. 


The zinnia flower (pictured on the right) was grown in the brightest spot of a partly shady balcony. It is a pretty bloom, but this zinnia variety’s blooms are large half-globe shapes, and they have five or more rows of bright-colored petals. Small, scraggly growth will occur with most container plants kept without enough sun, and plants that aren’t strong may succumb quicker to garden pests. If you want to have a thriving, fast-growing garden, it is important to know the amount of light in your garden and to match your plants to your growing conditions.

A solution for balcony container gardeners with shady balconies is to keep indoor plants, such as ferns, pothos and philodendron, on their balconies. Low-light indoor plants will perk up when they get a little bit more sun (as long as it’s not direct sun, or in too hot or too cold weather). The pothos, for example, will have larger leaves and will develop variegated yellow and green leaves when placed outside in more intense indirect light. Other typically indoor plants will grow larger and faster if kept outdoors in a little more sun. With darker conditions, use indoor plants to quickly achieve a beautiful and lush balcony garden.

Instead of trying to grow your dream garden with lots of large, colorful flowers, realize that you may need to compromise. Variegated leaves and lush foliage will be more beautiful and rewarding than a balcony garden full of thin and scraggly, slow-growing flowers! And besides, if you just do a little research (such as reading "Tips for 4 Types of Shady Balcony Sites"), you may just find low-light flowers for containers, such as the bush lily, and many other shade-loving plants for the balcony garden!

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