1. If you live in an apartment building or apartment, does your building allow it? Before you begin, be sure to check the regulations for your building. Some buildings do not allow plants on balconies or only allow flowers (because vegetables can attract birds or pests).
2. Can your balcony or roof handle the extra weight of pots full of soil? Terracotta and ceramic pots are heavy, so you may need to use rice pots, plastic or fiberglass containers or cloth bags in combination with light soil mixes.
3. How do you get water to your plants? If you grow on a roof, it’s a long way to lug jugs of water! You may want to consider drip irrigation or self-watering pots. You can also invest in a watering can that is easy to fill from the bathtub. Will excess water from your plants rain down on neighbors below? Be polite and put trays or trays under your plants to collect the overflow.
4. What are the best plants to grow on a balcony or terrace? Choosing the right plants for your site is most important. Don’t waste space on something that won’t thrive. The amount of sunlight is the most critical issue.
Is your balcony facing south and getting DIRECT sun all day? Cacti, many flowers and most vegetables – if kept well watered – will love it there.
If your balcony faces north or is shaded by other buildings for most of the day, look for low-light plants such as coleus, ferns, impatiens, hostas and begonias.
Some vegetables such as chard, spinach or lettuce can grow with less than half a day of sun. Some herbs also make it, which is great for culinary uses!
Many people overestimate the amount of sun they get. Keep in mind that most vegetables need at least 6 to 8 hours of sun a day to really grow well and produce!
5. Is your balcony or terrace windy? Be aware of possible extreme conditions. The higher up you are, the more wind you’re likely to have, and hot drying winds can quickly dry out your plants. Get double-duty from a trellis or wire trellis that can block prevailing winds while providing support for climbing vines as well. It will also add a touch of privacy. Because the wind dries, you really have to keep an eye on watering. Look into self-watering pots.
Some of your houseplants may appreciate a summer vacation outside. Gradually expose them to their new location to avoid sun and wind burning the leaves.
6. How warm is your balcony or roof? Without the sun reflecting off the windows, heat is usually a problem. Lettuce would simply wilt. If heat is a problem, maybe go exotic with tropical plants! Just a pot of alocasia, banana or canna can give the space a jungle feel. Succulents will thrive! Think of your balcony as a small conservatory. If you have space, add tables and chairs and enjoy sitting among the greenery. If your venue is too noisy, a bubbling fountain or some wind chimes can help add some soothing sounds to the background noise.