Foliage plants for west facing balcony
I am a newbie here and this is my first season growing anything. I am gardening in containers and mostly post on the container forum. I have a west facing balcony that gets direct sun from about 1:30-6:00, dappled sun til around 7:30. I have mostly herbs, and stuff to cook with. So now I am trying to figure out what else I want to plant. Being a newbie I am not sure where to start.
What I do think I want though, is more color. I hadnt thought much about esthetics cause I mostly wanted stuff to eat. But now that I pretty much have the must haves, I am starting to think more about ornamentals. I do have 2 windowboxes of petunias (debudded right now, cause I am spraying for flower thrips), but everything else is just plain green. I dont want anymore flowers right now because I am terrified of bees, and if the petunias bring around a whole lot of bees I may not be able to take it. A few maybe, but I dont know if my nerves can stand a whole lot of bees flying around me.
So I was thinking about trying plants with interesting and/or colorful foliage. The bay is in a 20" pot so I was thinking of planting something around it. It has 3 main branches that start about 4" from the ground, so I thought I could plant something colorful in those spaces, then something low and trailing around the edges (the pot is 18" tall). I saw some coleus at the nursery and really liked them. The lady at the nursery showed me a potato vine. I really like the dark one with the 3 lobed leaves and I thought it went well with the coleus. But the bay likes it kinda dry and these say evenly moist so I dont think it would be a good idea to plant it with the bay. But I was thinking of trying them as a combination in a 10" pot. I have a wire shelving unit that is about 5' tall. It is on the south facing wall and one end is in the front of the balcony and the other end toward the back. I have my lemongrass in the middle of the top shelf and I have room for a 10" pot on either side. So I thought I would put combinations of some colorful and medium height plants with something trailing around the front. I know there are some coleus that like sun, but not sure about the potato vine. I also still would like to try something around the bay, but not sure what would like dryish soil in part sun. My balcony is not all that large so I dont have much room left! I have room for a couple more pots on the shelving unit, a trough planter that will have to go in the front, and 2 more 8" pots that I might be able to squeeze in next to my chaise in the back.
Any suggestions would be apprieciated.
Thanks for you help