Even if you have a garden at home it is still efficient to grow some herbs in flower boxes. Most of them prosper very well in that environment, and you can move them freely to find which place suits them best. The balcony or the window ledge can serve you in this way as a small herb garden.
The cardinal direction which the balcony is facing is among the most important factors that affect the planning of an herb garden. If there is a really tall tree growing in front of a west-facing balcony, the circumstances for growing some herbs there change drastically. Home gardeners often think that they’re placing their flower boxes on really sunny places, only to see their plants wither later.
Are you sure you know how much sunlight reaches your plants over the day? The best way to know it is to reserve one weekend day at home and make notes of how long and where the sunlight falls on your garden. By considering the cardinal direction of your planned seedbed and its daily exposure to sunlight, you can pick the best spot. If you still want to plant your favorite herbs in a north-facing, shadowy place, though, then by all means go ahead and give it a try. Even though the circumstances won’t be exactly optimal for them, the herbs will still grow for a limited time and make you happy. Let’s now have a look at which herbs are the ideal ones for your balcony or window ledge.
Northern orientation isn’t very good for growing herbs, but don’t worry – if you pick the right herbs, they will prosper there even in the long term. You just need to pick those which love shadows. The advantage is that you won’t have to water them so often.
Northern orientation isn’t suitable for any vegetables or strawberries, since they won’t get enough sunlight to turn sweet and ripe. It is suitable for chives, garden parsley, garden chervil, watercress or garden cress, though, and you can try mint and lemon balm, too. Other shadow-loving herbs with which you can enrich your herb garden are begonias and fuchsias, ivy, periwinkle, coral flower, and ferns, or, in larger flower boxes, hostas.
Although most popular aromatic herbs originate from the hot areas of the Mediterranean Sea, the searing southern sun can be too intense for some of them. If you’re growing plants in metal boxes and the weather gets really hot on some days, shadow them – the metal will heat up really quickly and the plant’s roots will practically boil in the soil.
Be sure to water them often, sometimes even several times a day. Also the size of your flower boxes affects how often you should water your plants: the smaller the flower box, the faster will the soil dry out and the more often you have to water it. Do not water your plants at noon on really hot days – the plants could get shocked by cold water and the water drops also function as a magnifying glass, so your plants might get burned. We recommend watering them in the morning or evening hours.
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