Vertical gardening is a design technique that can be used not only in gardens. To turn balconies into real summer oases, you don’t have to be limited to just balcony boxes and a potted garden. With minimal space but beautiful flowering walls, you can achieve a stunning immersion in wonderful colors and scents. Growing ordinary annual vines, placing a large number of ampels on the wall or creating a real green fur wall – there are plenty of options for decorating balconies with flowers.
Using vertical gardening in summer, the balcony can be turned into a real garden. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com aboutespanol
Benefits of vertical gardening for balconies
In summer, the balconies turn into a real resting area. Many indoor plants migrate here, and minimal costs and care efforts allow you to create a full-fledged potted garden on the territory of even the smallest balcony. Indoor and heated, open, large and miniature, balconies can be a beautiful blooming oasis in summer. Surrounded by vibrant flowering plants, it is a pleasure to enjoy your morning coffee, cool cocktail, evening breeze or conversation in the sunbeams of the sunset.
Even displaying simple summer houses in pots or several balcony boxes can make the balcony space elegant. But nothing, perhaps, can compare in showiness and beauty with flowering walls. This method of vertically landscaping a balcony creates the impression of a solid wall of plants. At the same time, the flowering wall does not have to be the wall of the house. A flowering wall can be created at the end, partition or part of the balcony facade, used as a screen or protection from the bright summer sun.
Eco-friendly, creating not only a joyful atmosphere, but also a pleasant microclimate on the balcony, saving from excessive heat and purifying the air, vertical walls recreate the comfort of a blooming garden in a small balcony space. And the best approach to creating them is when inspiration and satisfaction from work is drawn from landscaping and gardening techniques.
Drawing up a sketch, determining the landscaping zone, initial conditions and selecting plants for them to implement the idea – these are all the steps that need to be taken at the planning stage.
Plants for vertical gardening of balconies
In vertical gardening of the balcony, you can use indoor plants – those species that love fresh air and are not afraid of drafts, “with joy” moving to gardens and balconies for the summer. But the bulk of the plants should be made up of annual stars – crops that have abundant and long flowering and are able to create color spots and elegant accents in the design.
Even in the creation of continuous phytowalls, annuals are the main favorites. Lianas or bushy plants allow you to freely form crops and achieve their maximum decorative effect without the need to save the plants for the next year and strictly adhere to the rules for growing them.
The choice of plants should be dictated by three main factors:
- own preferences for the shape, color, details of the structure of flowers and leaves;
- the conditions in which the plant will grow (orientation of the balcony to the sunny or shady sides);
- the ability to provide thorough care for capricious plants or a preference for more hardy species.
When creating vertical gardens and landscaping the walls of the balcony, you can either create neutral background compositions, or try to plant the plants so as to get a lush and bright canopy. The color scheme can be changed and selected to your liking, combining flowering and decorative deciduous plants so as to achieve the maximum effect.
Harmonious pastel colors, bright one-color compositions or contrasts between the main garden colors – it’s up to you to choose the options for decorating the balcony. The main thing to remember is that plants should complement and emphasize the beauty of each other, contrast in leaves and flower shape, while maintaining their individuality.
Seedlings for growing annuals or colorful vines can be grown by yourself or you can buy ready-made, already blooming, healthy seedlings. With the latter option, it is better to choose plants in containers, carefully assessing the condition of the leaves for traces of pests and the consequences of improper maintenance.
The main ways of organizing vertical gardening of balconies
When vertically landscaping balconies, today it uses three design methods:
- Creation of a vertical canopy, screen or screen from vines.
- Creation of a vertically positioned pot garden – placement on a stand or directly on the wall using the mounts of a series of pot and ampelous plants.
- Create flowering walls using hydroponic methods or growing on a fur wall.
Each of the balcony design options has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you love tinkering and experimenting, you can set aside a larger budget, you can also afford a hydroponic wall. If you need the least time-consuming and complex option, then it is worth stopping at the vines. And if you like Italian, Scandinavian and Spanish motives, then you might think of colorful potted gardens on the wall.
Classic vertical gardening with vines
A simple stretched mesh made of wire, twine or a fixed trellis lattice made of different materials (metal, wood, plastic), boxes for growing summer houses with installed grids are the most traditional way to create verticals on the balcony. Green and flowering screens, which will create solid screens on such a support, will make it possible to fully use the possibilities of landscaping without losing valuable space.
The creation of such a flowering wall is reduced to laying a drainage, filling the container with a substrate and planting plants, the shoots of which will need to be guided and tied up.
For southern and partially southern balconies, the selection of annual vines is especially rich. Here you can use nasturtium, modest in character, but dazzling in colors, and exotic kobei, and airy asarin, and romantic sweet peas, and the inimitable black-eyed winged tunbergia or quamoklite, which is fashionable today.
If you love original fruits, you can think of decorative pumpkins. Clematis or climbing roses can also be grown as a container plant, but in this case, you will have to take care of the correct wintering of the vines.
Lianas for shady balconies are very rare. For these purposes, ivy and grapevine are usually used, which are taken out into the fresh air for the summer. But sweet peas also grow well on the north balcony, especially if they receive proper care. Another liana that demonstrates amazing unpretentiousness is morning glory, bright gramophone and no less bright greenery of which look more elegant on the balcony than in the gardens.
Vertical pot garden
Having fastened fasteners for flower pots to the balcony wall, using multi-level stands, different variations of suspended multi-level shelves, you can create a flowering wall of dozens of pots on the balcony wall.
Today, the choice of “attached” designs is very large. Narrow racks, ladders, shelves, racks, which are often a work of art with forged elements, old ladders or whatnots will help to place plants no worse than “hooks” and brackets with circles-supports for pots, other hanging holders of different sizes and shapes. You can place a series of plants not in containers, but in sacks made of canvas or dense fabric, in containers at hand (for example, old cans or an old service).
Of course, there are very practical limitations in the possibilities of placing pots in large quantities on the wall – from the possibility of using reliable fasteners to the stability of materials and the ability to drill holes. Shelves simplify the process, but they also need to be secured to prevent the structure from toppling over.
Not every balcony will allow hanging a dozen pots on the wall. For this option of vertical gardening, it is imperative to select medium-sized, light containers and a very light substrate and drainage in order to reduce the maximum load on the structure.
Choosing plants for your vertical pot garden
Petunias, pansies and marigolds are the undisputed favorites of balconies. But with vertical gardening, it is worth considering the form of plant growth. Ampelny plants with dangling shoots capable of creating beautiful cascades are the best choice. Today, even marigolds, pelargoniums, balsams, and also begonias have such varieties.
To achieve a particularly striking effect, it is worth combining ampelous plants with bushy plants in complex combinations, which will add additional volume to the flowering wall from different pots.
For the walls made up of several suspended balcony boxes located one under the other, staggered pots with letniks or a pot garden located on a narrow rack – the choice of crops is carried out based on the lighting conditions:
- On the east and west balconies, a charming vertical garden can be created from pelargonium, balsam, begonias, petunias, lobelia, brovallia, bacopa, diastia. Any indoor plants that can be taken out into the open air in the summer will feel great here.
- On the southern balconies, heather and erika, catharanthus, gerberas, ampelous viols, marigolds, nasturtium, levkoy, ageratum, carnations, phlox, the same pelargoniums and petunias of hardy small-flowered varieties are more appropriate. Even ampelous strawberry varieties can perform a spectacular vertical task. Cacti, dracaena, yucca, agave, laurel, citrus, aloe can be taken here from indoor plants and used in a vertical garden on a rack or stand.
- On the cooler north side of the house on the balcony for a vertical potted garden, it is better to choose shade-loving indoor plants – ferns, fuchsias, tradescantia, ivy, cherry laurel, aspidistra, cissus. But the choice is not limited only to them. Forget-me-nots and mignonette, begonias and marigolds, balsams and coleus will grow on the northern balcony.
If you decide to decorate an open balcony with a vertical potted garden, which has no wind protection, then special attention should be paid to the stability of the structures. But the flyers also need to be selected more carefully. On windy balconies, calendula, ageratums, begonias, vervains, annual asters, chrysanthemums, gazania grow well.
In order for such a prefabricated pot garden, placed not in a horizontal, but in a vertical plane, to retain its attractiveness throughout the year, one must not forget to introduce potted accents to the main summer houses. Bulbous and small-bulbous, for example, crocuses, hyacinths, tulips and daffodils, followed by primroses, forget-me-nots, daisies and violets will help to wait for the blooming of the main summer stars. And in the fall, asters, chrysanthemums, several bushes of cereals and bright decorative deciduous crops should be added to such a garden.
Blooming walls in hydroponics
On the balconies, you can also use various methods of growing plants not by the traditional method – not in the soil, but in special substrates that hold nutrient solutions.
Growing without soil allows not only to make the process “cleaner”, to reduce the real load on the balcony structure, but also opens up new perspectives in care: after all, such plants, as a rule, do not require such complex care. On the balcony, hydroponics and self-watering containers are used both for ordinary plants and for finding new ideas in the design of vertical elements.
For vertical gardening of balconies, you can use several options for hydroponic “walls”:
- vertical walls of moss with hanging gardens laid out on them;
- the use of a bag or a suspended soft wall, a “canvas” with sewn pockets in which plants are planted (usually their base is made of waterproof durable fabrics – tarpaulin, burlap with complex impregnation);
- planting plants in plastic pipes with holes;
- creation of a vertical garden in pallets (pallets) converted into a “wall”;
- planting plants in converted tubs, cans and drums with drilled holes for planting plants.
Organization of vertical structures in hydroponics
The most perfect type of flowering walls on balconies are structures that migrated to balconies from interiors (phytowalls). This is a special narrow design with an automatic irrigation system, and often with supplementary lighting, in which plants are planted in clean peat or ion exchange substrate.
The essence of all such walls is the same: a base (structure) is selected or altered, which will hold the moisture-absorbing substrate in an upright position, with holes or pockets for planting plants. In fact, this is a balcony version of vertical beds and strawberry gardens. Sometimes the space is lined with foil as an insulating layer.
Any base is suitable, in which holes with a diameter of 4-5 cm are located at a distance of about 15-20 cm. At the bottom of the wall, container, pipe, there should be a hole for water drainage. The structure is filled in the same way as any container – from the drainage layer at the bottom to the complete filling of the space with the selected filler substrate and the installation of capillaries, conductors for an aqueous nutrient solution – thin tubes or branches that will help maintain high water permeability. The addition of hydrogel and loosening admixtures is only welcome.
For vertical walls on the balcony, ion-exchange soil, expanded clay, coconut fiber, peat are used. But moss is still the best choice, especially for hot balconies. As a filler, it not only provides a much more efficient moisture retention, but also protects the plants from overheating. The main requirements for the filler are the combination of coarse texture with large particles, the ability to retain water, resistance to any decay and rot, neutral reaction and non-toxicity.
Growing flowering walls according to the principle of hydroponic installations is possible only when using nutrient solutions for hydroponic crops. Strictly following the manufacturer’s instructions for concentration and frequency of treatments, hydroponic solutions are applied less frequently than watered and fed conventional crops.
Both annuals and perennials can be used to create flowering balcony walls using the hydroponic method. The main thing is that the selected species bush densely, be able to grow, create a continuous cover, or develop in the form of compact, but curly bushes. Periwinkles and anemones, marigolds, pansies, verbena, alissum, begonias, gamolepis, carnations, godetia, ivy, lobelia, balsams, armeria and all types of annual ampelous plants are planted in such walls.
Maybe you already have a vertical flowering wall on your balcony? Tell us about it in the comments to the article. What plants are planted there? Do they require a lot of attention?