Many city dwellers with a green thumb struggle to find a place to grow plants. There isn’t much space in tiny studio apartments. Furthermore, if you’re surrounded by tall buildings, natural light can be hard to come by. It can be challenging, but just because you’re living in a dense, crowded city, doesn’t mean you have to give up on gardening. In Japan, most apartments have a balcony. Although Japanese people commonly use their balconies when doing laundry or for storage, you can use yours for growing plants. Whether you want to plant some flowers that’ll brighten your day or grow some produce, there are plenty of plants that can be easily grown on balconies. Here is a guide to the best balcony plants that you can grow.
Herbs are some of the best plants you can grow on your balcony. A small herb garden takes up little space, but can provide you with plenty of fresh ingredients to garnish your cooking with. You can grow lots of herbs in one large pot or use multiple small ones. If you want to be eco-friendly, you can reuse plastic water bottles as pots. Some amazing herbs to grow include basil, chives, parsley, rosemary, and mint. Be warned that mint is an invasive species that can grow out of hand very quickly and needs to be pruned often. Most herbs do best when they can grow in the sun, so if your balcony is always in the shade, it might not be the best spot for a herb garden.
Herbs aren’t the only edible items you can grow on your balcony. You can also grow a variety of fruits and vegetables. We all know how expensive produce in Japan can be. If you grow your own, you might be able to spend less money on groceries while having some fun. Tomatoes, eggplants, lettuce, and potatoes can easily be grown on balconies.
Some fruits, like strawberries, don’t require much space and can be grown in hanging planters. If you have a larger balcony, you can even grow a small fruit tree or two. Pomegranate trees can be kept small, and there are dwarf varieties of nectarine, peach, and cherry trees.
This flowering shrub is both aesthetically pleasing and useful. In addition to adding some color to your balcony, it can be used for a variety of purposes. Lavender is a key ingredient in many botanical cosmetics, so if you like to DIY your skincare, it’s the perfect plant to grow. Additionally, sachets of dried lavender can be used to keep clothes that are tucked away in dresser drawers smelling fresh. They can also be placed under your pillow to help lull you to sleep. While it’s not well known as a herb, lavender buds are edible and can be used to cook and bake.
Cacti are great plants for those who are forgetful, but still want to give gardening a shot. Like herbs, cacti thrive in the sun and aren’t the best plants for shady balconies. That being said, they are very tough plants that are hard to kill. Some varieties will stay alive for up to six months without water. Since they can survive without being watered for a long time, cacti are ideal plants for those who travel a lot. Just make sure you don’t forget about your cactus altogether.
Pansies, marigolds, and geraniums
If you’re looking to brighten up your balcony with some flowers, pick up some pansies, marigolds, or geraniums. These flowers come in a variety of gorgeous, vibrant colors. They can be kept in fairly small pots and don’t take up too much space. All of these flowers are easy to grow. Pansies can even bloom and do well during cold winters. Beautiful and perfect for novice gardeners, you can’t go wrong by adding some pansies, marigolds, or geraniums to your balcony.
Make sure to leave some room on your balcony for other things
In Japan, very few people use the clothes dryer function of their washing machine. Instead, most people choose to hang their clothing outside to dry, either in their yard or on their balcony. This is done because electricity can be quite expensive in Japan and using the clothes dryer function requires a lot of energy. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on your electric bill, it’s best to get in the habit of hanging your clothes outside. Be sure to leave some room on your balcony for a clothesline and/or drying racks. In small apartments, the balcony is often the only place you can hang your clothes to dry. As wonderful as plants are, don’t let them take up all of your precious balcony real estate.