No these colorful flowers are not throwbacks to the 1960s! Pure and simple these plants fit the conditions of a demanding micro-climate on a balcony, make great additions to your balcony garden, can be grown in containers & beds and are easy to grow. Oh did I mention too that they are PRETTY! Here they are –
Canna – it is a very tall plant grown from bulbs in summer and in cooler climates they must be dug up and stored over winter indoors. You can plant them outside in the spring during that time that you would plant tomatoes. Depending on the variety they can grow from 50cm to more then 2 meters in height. They must not be allowed to dry out and like a rich soil. Also all bulb plants following their bloomingperiod must be allowed to wither a bit before cutting back since this is a big part of storing food for the next year. If you do not do this they may produce inferior specimens and in fact may die.
Black Eyed Susan/rudbeckia hirta – This perenial plant is pretty easy growing up to 80cm tall. There are even larger varieties some perenial, some annual and some vining (although I think the vine one is actually a different family but they use the black eyed susan name.) There are some other colors but this variety is a deep yellow. By the third year the plant will have extended itself and can probably be divided – best time to divide is in March or early April. It is a prolific bloomer.
Shown above the rich yellow blooms with dark brown centers of rudbeckia growing at the botanical garden in Cluj.
Echinacea – Echinacea purpurea is a perenial plant known for its medicinal qualities and pretty pink petals. It is a prolific and hardy plant that can survive the roughest conditions. It thrives even in extremes such as very sunny or very windy locations making it an excellent choice for the balcony – even the lazy balcony gardener. The drooping ray-flowers are long lasting and this plant blooms throughout the summer.
This picture was taken at the Chalice Well Garden in Glastonbury, England. It is one of my favorite places to visit where one of my nearest and dearest friends lives – Lyda 🙂
Note: behind my bloc there is an area that is filled with sand and rocks that cries for plant life. It is here that my dearest echineacea will be subject to an experiment in growing there – will keep you updated. back.
Butterfly Bush/Buddleia (Varieties for Cluj b. davidii and b. alternifolia) This is a rapid growing woody to semi-woody shrub that flowers the first year (with the exception of the variety alternifolia) and all summer long. It is not however compact, the branches grow up and long and it produces quite a few clusters of flowers. Thus it should not be grown as one would grow a shrub – instead it should be included as a background plant for your perenials and annual flowering plants or alone to make a statement.
The flowers are very fragrant but not overwhelming. There are different varieties – especially popular colors include white, pink, light purple and a rich bluish purple. You can cut it back throughout the season if it grows like crazy. It is simple to grow. At the end of the season or in the very early spring you can cut it back pretty severely to encourage a new season of growth.
Chalice Well Garden in Glastonbury
Oh and of course you should know that it attracts butterflys!
Roses/rosa – They can be grown in containers although the containers will need to wrapped during the winter – if grown in beds then it is recommended to put some burlap or coir or another heavy mulch around the base of the plant for extra winter protection. There are so many varieties of roses so if you are working with a color theme, it will not be hard to find one to meet your needs. There are also many climbing roses which can create a colorful wall if you decide to extend your balcony garden vertically.
Botanical Garden in Cluj
More plant recommendations to come in the next weeks.
Happy Balcony Gardening!