South Balcony--every year no plants make it

bfl13April 22, 2006

I have a long narrow balcony that faces directly south and gets FULL sun. It is essentially a 3 sided box so it gets very hot out there due to lack of air flow.

I have tried all different places, containers and plants with almost no success. Some things I have tried: hibiscus, peony, basil, sage, rosemary, oregano, chives, and assorted flowers.

Any insights on what I can do to increase my success. Most important to me would be herbs as I am an avid home chef!

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This may sound crazy but have you tried putting a fan out there for circulation? If all else fails get a small hydroponics system and do the herbs inside all year round:>)I am getting one in the fall and can not wait!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 11:07PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

One of my sisters used to be in an apartment with a south-facing balcony - literally blazing sun all day. What she did was grow her veggies back against the wall away from the rail and she found miscanthus grass in a half-barrel seemed to do well along with an asparagus fern. For her herbs in her windowboxes, she mulched them but also had to water continually.

What you might consider is putting up a piece of lattice - maybe in one corner, and then maybe grow a vine up that and place the rest of your plants by that corner with the hope that the lattice would diffuse some of the blazing sun in that spot. I have seen one person in my building using a folding room divider out on the balcony and that might useful to create a sun block (you could even make your own with strips of wood and some lattice or shade cloth stapled on it).

    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 8:17AM
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john_z(Z 7b Ga.)

One problem could be that even "full sun" plants (needing 6+ hours of direct sunlight) are not acclimated to being placed in intense sunlight after we buy them. Many times they are grown in greenhouses during the autumn and winter months receiving sufficient light for growth, but this is nothing like the "el scorcharoo" hot spring/summer sunlight we situate them in. They probably are being in a shaded in a garden centre for weeks afterward too.

I'm embarrassed to say as a professional horticulturist that I killed half of my CACTI collection one year by placing them in hot sunlight during the spring months, after they had been indoors receiving sunlight in a south facing window. Since they were no longer under a ceiling and surrounded by walls, that made all the difference. They burned up. Oh me, oh my.

Take Jenny's suggestion and slowly over the weeks bring full sun plants into full sun.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 6:37PM
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my tips and tricks
sweet miilion tomatoe, bell pepper, pole beans, orpine, calla, morning glory, verbena, geranium water, organic fertilizer, Gardens Alive, good loose soil

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 10:20PM
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I have more, my computer can be horrible
PLASTIC POTS! none of mine are over 5 gal, most are 2-3 gal curb specials, I have 150-200 pots in an area 10 by 25 feet. SEa rich foliar and tomatoe alive plus from Gardens Alive. allysum, marigold, nicotiana are good, pinch them back if needed

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 10:28PM
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squeeziemonkey(z5 Chicago)

Do you have upstairs neighbors? If so, then could you put up one of those Bamboo Shades? Could you mount one on posts?

What about getting a patio Green House but then keep the doors open away from the sun? Then the light would get diffused but the heat wouldn't build up inside?

Hum, this is a tough nut to crackÂ

What about a misting system that could keep the area moist and slightly cooler? They actually donÂt use that much water and only cost like $20-$30 to get started. Oh and you can hook them to a railing and not just from high up.

Would you have the money/permission from the building owner to put an awning up? My grandmother put one in on her patio in Arizona and it made a TON of difference!!!

I hope you find a solution!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 12:04AM
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romando(9b/10a , sunset 17)

I, too, have a south facing container garden on a cement slab. Mine is ground floor; I don't know if that makes a difference or not. I do water a lot; I'm zone 9b bordering on 10a. Check out my photos on my slideshow for things that have worked for me.

Here is a link that might be useful: romando's south facing container garden

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 3:30AM
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I have the same sun situation and I'm reading all these suggestions avidly.

The *sun screen* of a climbing plant sounds like a very good idea. Esp one that you can prune out a bit so it's not dense shade.

A neighbor has put up sun screen cloth on the inside aspect of the railing. So that some plants that can sit on the balcony floor are shaded.

I'm trying not to fight Mother Nature! LOL And going with the plants that just love to be hot and sunny. Geraniums put on a nice show and are very tolerant.

Petunias. Purple Fountain Grass and other grasses. Of course they don't bloom, but they're hardy.

But all will need constant watering. Tougher for people who work. I just had an idea----if it were possible for some people's environment; it isn't for me. A timed misting system. A mist wouldn't annoy neighbors probably.

Hope more post their ideas.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 11:20AM
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Westview(Zone 8, N. TX)

One word---cactus.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 10:37PM
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