which direction is best?

Justine_London(5b-6a On.,Can.)July 1, 2006

Hello and help!

I'm trying to decide what direction to choose for my balcony to face. I am moving from a townhouse to an apartment (it's a fairly new building).....and I'm unsure of what direction to face. I'll be on a corner 2br and I think South is best? and bedrooms facing west or east?

I want the best growing options. Please give your opinions. Thanks a bunch, Justine

Here is a link that might be useful:

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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Hi Justine - I posted in your other thread but want to comment about south-facing... One of my sisters used to have a south-facing balcony when she was in an apartment and she found it to be a blessing but a nightmare as well... This mainly because in summer, it became extremely hot and she had to find ways to shade her plants to help reduce the wilting and watering requirements.

Alternately, north-facing, at least in summer, might present a similar amount of sun as south-facing due to the sun rising and going high, which would provide a decent amount of light. However in winter, there would be little or no sun due to the sun movement (parallax) and it remaining relatively low in the sky while moving along the south). I face NE and have no direct sun in winter (the sun rises down at the other end of my building parallel to my balcony, where in summer, it's almost head-on).

Not sure what to recommend as it will also depend on how high you go in the building. If you are down lower and facing south, you may have something block the sun part of the day that will make it easier to deal with. Alternately if you are up higher and facing north with nothing blocking, you should get a decent amount of sun - at least in summer. I suppose balconies facing east or west are probably the best! LOL

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 7:04PM
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If you have the option look into a unit that has an east balcony (and the majority of you windows facing that direction). I've lived in a couple of condos in Chicago and found that I could grow almost anything on an easy balcony. You'll get a good half day of light in the cooler mornings and spare your plants some heat in the afternoon. The friends that I have with South facing units have to keep their blinds closed in the afternoon to cut down on the heat.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 12:19PM
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john_z(Z 7b Ga.)

Justine, I think that Jenny and Patrick gave good words of advice. Having lived in apartments with balconies for years, I learned that it was far more desirable to have south and east-facing exposures than northern and western ones. So much depends on what you want to grow. In my experience, it was better to have lots of light than to not have enough. Plants preferring filtered sunlight can get it by either screening with shade cloths or by using taller woody plants to filtre them.

In Canada you will definitely have much longer days during the warm/hot months than we do here in the southern part of the U.S. Much to consider, so again, it depends on your plant preferences.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 8:16PM
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Justine_London(5b-6a On.,Can.)

What a warm welcome:

Thanks for your suggestions: Jenny, Patrick, and John!!!

I've been "lurking" outside the building at different times of the day to get a visual of the light....and I've noticed the NSWE aren't "true". The building is on an angle to compass directions-eg,the units they have named SE (balcony facing S, bedrooms facing E)have balconies facing more of a S-SW angle. I assume this is to prevent anyone from getting direct western sun, or all northern darkness in the winter.

I think I've decided to go with the S-SW / bedrooms facing towards the West. Ive spoken to the supers in the building and she pointed out that the balcony will give us a view of the holiday/festival parades, and the bedroom windows will allow us a view of the balloon festival and any downtown fireworks.

I'm bringing a veritable forest from my present home. My 10 ft. tricoloured beech tree (I'm "bonsaiing" it down to 6 or 7 ft), Japanese red maple, peonies/2-treeform/1-shrubform,
3 pots of lillies, pompom ecinacea, bonsaiied azaelia, low-growing sumac, hosta, various sedums in a pot, japanese fern, weeping pussywillow standard, 2 rose of sharons, and hooks and hangers for some hanging baskets.

I figure if movers can move a stove, they can move my "forest". I'll post pictures when they're all in place.

great (balcony) gardening to all, Justine

    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 8:19AM
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