Intro: The epiphytic vriesea bromeliads are native to Central and South America. They are prized for their interesting and brightly colored flat (swordlike) flowers. They do well as indoor plants in shady conditions, and they can be kept outdoors as long as they are kept warm in shadier balcony gardens.
Intro: Sage is a wonderful-smelling herb often used in medicines and in food dishes. Sage is a great addition to an urban kitchen garden for gardeners who like its smell (for a better smell, rub a leaf between your fingers) and who like to cook with sage. Sage’s flowers, which bloom in late spring or summer, are most commonly blue to purple, but some sage varieties can have pink or white flowers.
Intro: Common daisies are beautiful flowers found in many flowerbeds and vase arrangements. The white-petaled daisy flower with its yellow center does well in plant containers and is easy to grow and care for in balcony gardens. Daisy blooms are most commonly white, but they can also be light pink to purple-red, depending on the variety. Daisy blooms should appear from early spring to late autumn. Many other flowers go by the name “daisy,” but the common daisy is usually what gardeners picture when thinking of the typical daisy flower. Daisy flowers bloom close to the ground (it only grows to about 6 inches tall) and are rather small (about 2.5 inches in diameter).
Intro: Bleeding heart plants have ferny leaves that grow in a basal rosette form, and their dangling heart-shaped flowers bloom on leafless stalks. Their unique pink or white flowers are what give this plant its common name of bleeding heart. Blooms will appear in late spring to early summer and will last for several weeks (after which the foliage will begin to lose some of its attractiveness). Flowers of the old-fashioned bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) look most like hearts, while other flowers can have different shapes. The best bleeding heart plant species for plant containers is the smaller Dicentra formosa, which grows from 9 inches to 1.5 feet tall. Gardeners with shady balcony gardens should try this plant, especially if they have morning sun.
Intro: Chrysanthemum flowers, also called mums or chrysanths, come in many varieties and colors that are suitable for a balcony container garden. The two main chrysanthemum variety types are hardy and florist chrysanthemums. Hardy chrysanthemum flowers (aka garden hardy) do well in cooler weather and can be overwintered outside in the container garden. Florist (aka exhibition) chrysanthemums do well in mild need more attention (i.e., staking, overwintering indoors) and are more delicate, but they produce some of the most beautiful flower blooms. The late-blooming chrysanthemum flowers give gardens color throughout the fall season and are often the last flowers to bloom before winter.