Silicon Valley - Outdoor Potted plants
Evening all! I recently moved here to Silicon Valley (Mountain View specifically). My apartment has a small uncovered balcony/deck that I am thinking of putting some potted plants on to spruce up the look a bit. The balcony faces ESE and gets pretty good light, especially strong in the morning.
Ideally I am looking for plants that are easy to care for - I'm totally new to this. I also travel quite a bit, though I'd probably set up some kind of "hydrostake" watering type system for when I'm away for extended periods. Typically I am gone 1-2 weeks, but sometimes close to a month in the winter.
I am thinking of some hardy shrubs like lavender and rosemary. I am also considering small citrus trees as the idea of getting edible fruit sounds pretty neat! I am thinking specifically of a Meyer Lemon and/or an Omari Satsuma mandarin. I understand both of these are hardy and tolerant of lower temperatures.
Speaking of - temps here average low 50s (night) to upper 70s (day) in the summer with a few hot days as high as 100 and upper 30s (night) to upper 50s (day) in winter. I do get occasional freezes, from the mid 20s - low 30s, but they are very infrequent. I'd prefer to have plants I do not have to bring inside. My thought would be to put some Christmas lights or similar on the citrus trees in the winter to lend some warmth on the cooler nights.
Thoughts on this? Do these selections sound reasonable?
If I go with these - when is the optimal time to purchase / plant them?
Thanks in advance!