Balcony Garden in Barcelona

MagicBobJune 26, 2005

G'day people !

I'm a complete novice to cultivating anything green and plantlike, hoping some of you might be able to help me out with a few ideas !

I've just moved into an attic aparment in Barcelona. It's on a SW facing corner and has a two metre wide balcony going all the way round, so it gets the sun the whole day round. It's crying out for some greenery and plants. Some flowers would be cool too. I want to concentrate on the west facing side which is in the sun from around midday through to sunset.

I'm thinking of some pot plants and pot 'trees' (can you say that?!) to go on the edge of the balcony, and some hanging baskets to go on the walls. Ideally I'm after stuff that is pretty easy to look after, and doesn't need much more than basic watering. Because of the amount of sun and the fact that temperartures can get quite high, i guess i'm gonna need something quite hardy.

Can anyone gice me any recommendations on some plants to go for ?? (And if you happen to know the spanish name for them as well, even better ;) !!)


Magic Bob

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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Hi Bob and welcome!! :-D There was a regular Balcony Forum poster here named Ines who lives in Madrid and also gardens on a balcony. She might have a slightly different climate from yours (where you are closer to the water and she is in the middle of the country), but I expect that some of the plants that she is growing should do well where you are too.

Here is a thread by her last year describing a few things that she is growing. Hopefully she is still visiting the forums and will post.

Basically, you should be able to grow many mediterranean plants that can take hot/dry conditions and occassional frosts. I think many plants that grow in parts of Southern and Central California might do well, although I believe that you have a dry winter and California a rainy one, but the climate isn't that much different.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 6:36PM
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szozu(z9 SE France)

Hi Bob,

I live in Cannes, in the South of France and have nothing but sun from noon till sunset, as well as a long growing season. Over the years I have been trying different things in an effort to find what can put up with the relentness solar rays. I often have to water twice a day to keep plants from wilting.

I have a long balcony, but it is only one metre wide so I have to be careful with plants that spread too much in all directions; this happened with an aloe saponaria that has grown into a monster and now needs to move downstairs next to the front door. I also have a problem with a wind called the Mistral which blows with such force that it can knock over pots and shred the leaves of climbing plants.

Pelargoniums are great for sunny balconies although budworm can be a problem. I like planting lobelia around the borders of the pots. Red flowers surrounded by blue lobelia look particularly nice and is a combination I used to see frequently in England. The pelargoniums provide a bit of shade to the lobelia which otherwise does not do well once the temperatures rise.

Kalanchoes do well although they have to be checked carefully for black aphids every spring. The plants can be destroyed incredibly fast unless you are vigilant.

I have waxy begonias, though the leaves never get very big and are slightly curled if the plants are in full sun, though they do bloom profusely. The leaves look normal if a bit of shade can be provided by other plants.

Dwarf marigolds are very easy to grow and love the sun. I don't think they are prone to any kind of problems.

I have a lot of snapdragons as they self-seed like crazy. These too can be prone to aphids. I grow sweet alyssum as a border to the snapdragons.

I have some miniature roses, but they constantly have to be inspected for signs of black spot, white mould and green aphids. Some kinds are more resistant to diseases than others. Roses are known for aphid infestations but the springtime problems I have with the kalanchoes are much worse.

Plumbago is another sun-loving, flowering plant that doesn't present any problems. These grow into enormous bushes here and are not compact plants so I keep mine in a corner.

I have a trellis and am growing morning glories and have grown moonflowers in the past. I also have a jasmine that is climbing up the trellis but no flowers yet.

I have a jade plant and once stuck the seed of a nisporo I ate into the soil and is now on its way to becoming a tree.

When I lived in Sevilla a friend had something approaching a hundred pots of petunias on her azotea. Unfortunately, they all came down with a disease and died, but normally petunias love the sun and can make great hanging baskets.

As mentioned already, the aloe species will grow very fast in full sun and high temperatures. A pot of aloe vera is good to have on hand for burns, including sunburns.

You can grow herbs such as parsley and basil or pots of strawberries or even tomatoes.

You can grow bourganvilla if you want something that climbs. You can also try passion flower, though I've never grown it so can't speak about any pitfalls, however, I do see it growing in gardens here.

There are many flowers that are very easy to grow from seed--marilgolds have got to be the easiest. It's cheaper and a lot more fun. One of the ways of discovering what does well in Barcelona is to look up and see what other people are growing. I'm not sure if the winter temperatures in Barcelona are colder or the same as what we have here but all of my plants stay outdoors during winter and the pelargoniums even continue to put out a few flowers.

When I lived in New York I was used to having houseplants that grew slowly. Here it's a different story. Flowers come up so quickly and are so easy to grow that I've begun finding the kinds of mostly non-flowering houseplants that I formerly grew to be a bit boring! And of course here most of those plants can survive outdoors.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 9:45PM
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