Today, our balconies and loggias from warehouses of used things and rooms for drying clothes are increasingly turning into cozy corners where real small gardens turn green. Touching nature without leaving the house, breathing in a delicate floral aroma, delighting neighbors and casual passers-by with luxurious hanging flower beds - all this is undoubtedly beautiful! But how many enthusiastic gardeners regularly come across the fact that a bright fragrant balcony by the middle of summer looks tired and dull. It would seem that unpretentious flowers were picked up, and they were grown with love ... So what went wrong? If you are familiar with such problems or you just plan to decorate the balcony with flyers, our advice can be very useful to you.10 secrets of a magnificent flowering balcony
1. Feed, feed and feed!
Plants in containers are in limited conditions, and their roots do not have the ability to seek food outside the pot. Therefore, even while preparing the soil, take care of a complete diet by adding long-playing fertilizers in the form of sticks or granules to the soil. But even laying a good nutritional foundation, unfortunately, you are unlikely to forget about feeding for the entire season.
With each watering through the drainage holes, the soil loses nutrients, and you need to replenish them regularly. To see your plants healthy and continuously flowering, feed them with complex fertilizer once every two weeks for the first month after planting. From mid-summer, you can start fertilizing even more often, using half the dose of the instructions.
And if suspensions with such lovers of food as petunias and caliberhoha live on your balcony, then you can feed them with every watering. As a rule, for these bright beauties there are specialized fertilizers in liquid form. If leaves and flowers become smaller at your plantings, foliage turns yellow, and flowering gradually stops, then most likely the problem is a lack of nutrition.
2. Do not be afraid of scissors
Many annuals respond well to stimulating pruning, which must be done in mid-summer. First of all, the shortening of the stems is shown to such popular balcony plants as petunia and snapdragon. When you notice that the bushes stretched out and began to bloom worse, spending energy on setting seeds, then it's time to take on the scissors.
If for most flowering plants, regular removal of faded inflorescences is sufficient to keep them in shape, then more radical anti-aging pruning is used for snapdragon, petunia, alissum, verbena and some others. To do this, their stems are shortened by half, after which they must be fed with a full dose of phosphorus-potassium fertilizer. As a rule, after such measures, after 2 weeks your pets will present the same abundant flowering as in early summer.
In the meantime, plants will be restored after pruning, the beauty of the balcony will be supported by continuously flowering summers: marigolds, evergreen begonias, balsam, nemesia, diasia and others.
3. Remember that not only flowers are beautiful
Very often, by the word "flowers" we mean flowering plants, forgetting that the colors of the terrace or balcony can also add decorative plants with colorful leaves. Annuals with expressive flowers may temporarily lose their attractiveness under the influence of bad weather, but decorative foliage plants are stable color spots that guard the beauty of the flower garden all season.
A particularly rich palette of foliage coloring in the famous coleus ("nettle"). The variety of colors of these plants is amazing. Among coles, you will also find both ampelous and erect, dwarf or tall, with small or large foliage. Other decorative foliage worthy of settling on the balcony: morning glory sweet potato, plektrantus, irezin, budra, evergreen begonia (purple leaf varieties) and some cereals, for example, Emperor Red Baron or Osok Morrova Variegata.A particularly rich palette of foliage coloring in the famous coleus ("nettle").
4. Add seasonal accents
In most cases, the choice of flowers for landscaping the balcony falls on the summers, blooming all summer, but the lush flowering of such plants, as a rule, begins only in mid-June, and you want to see a beautiful balcony as early as possible. In this case, while the planted annual seedlings are gaining strength, in between the curtains you can plant viola, daisies, forget-me-nots, cheyranthus and other bright biennials that are especially beautiful in spring. With the onset of hot days, their flowering will disappear, and the relay will go to the annual soloists, then the faded bushes can be carefully removed.
But in the late autumn, the addition of gentle heather to the plantings will help to prolong the attractiveness of the balcony flower garden. Since September, it can be easily found in flower shops. Remove individual plants from the containers that have completely lost their appearance, and gently brush heather bushes in their place without removing them from the pots. To give the balcony composition a special expressiveness, among the flowers, you can also place small decorative pumpkins.
5. Explore plant preferences
Depending on the origin and habitat in the natural environment, each plant has special requirements for the conditions of detention. It is not worth neglecting these preferences, because it is very difficult to obtain, for example, a lover of penumbra balsam, good flowering in the sun, where he will not even open burnt buds. But snapdragon with a lack of sunshine may simply not bloom.
Of course, few balconies have a strict orientation to the south or north, usually the direction is mixed. And here you need to approach individually, analyzing how much light falls on your balcony. As practice shows, the eastern and western orientations are great for photophilous plants located closer to the edge, but it is better to place shade-tolerant plants in the depths of the loggia.
Similar principles apply to humidity. If the flower box will be in the sun for a long time, then even with daily watering, water-loving plants planted in it will not reveal their full potential. You should also take into account the "appetites" of plants, since some types of decorative annuals with a lack of nutrition begin to bloom poorly, while others when overfeeding do not plant buds, gaining only green mass.
You can usually find out about the characteristics of each plant from the seller of planting material. A lot of information can be found on the pages of Internet sites, including the "Botany". It is better to study in advance the basic requirements of specific plants before thinking through floral arrangements.
6. Keep watering in check
Unfortunately, the “planted and forgot” principle is not appropriate for flowering balconies, because the owners of hanging flower beds will have to remember watering constantly. The automatic watering system will help to partially ease this task, but then you will inevitably have to sacrifice the area of your balcony to place a bulky water tank. But in most cases, container plants are watered by hand and do it the more often, the hotter the weather and the smaller the volume of the container. Sometimes it has to be done daily.
It is necessary to monitor thirst quenching of plants very strictly, because even once a dried flower bed immediately loses its appeal. Part of the foliage dries out, the flowers fall, and the plants become more susceptible to pests and diseases. Mulching plantings with small chips or bark, as well as adding hydrogel granules to the soil, will help to slightly reduce water consumption.The principle of "planted and forgotten" is not appropriate for flowering balconies.
7. Protect flowers from heat!
Under the influence of intense illumination, light or brown marks often appear on the leaves, leaf blades curl, and buds may fall. In the hottest months, the scorching sun in a matter of days can turn even the most magnificent balcony garden into the desert. To avoid this, you need to not only carefully monitor the watering, but also especially carefully choose plants for the southern balconies.
If your loggia is oriented to the south or south-west, then we advise you to pay attention to purslane, mesembrantemum, zinnia, gatzania, eschscholzia, alissum, gypsophila and dimorphic. Of course, it is hardly possible to shade plants on an open balcony from midday heat, but owners of glazed loggias may well take care of curtains or blinds so that excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation is not harmful. Then the flowers will retain a fresh and attractive appearance for longer.
8. Do not miss the appearance of pests
If you have been decorating a balcony with pilots for more than a year, you probably already know that the number one enemy for container plants is the gluttonous spider mite. And here the main thing is not to miss the moment when the damage will be barely noticeable. If you saw small light punctures on the foliage and found “spiders” on the back of the sheet, immediately proceed with the treatment, which must be double so as not to give the pest any chance.
The spider mite is very insidious, and if you leave green pets unattended, the tick in a few weeks will turn your flower garden into skeletons covered with cobwebs.
9. Reduce the distance
As a rule, on each package of seeds, the producer indicates the distance that should be considered when placing the plant in the flower garden. But if you plant the plants in a container, then you can safely divide these numbers in half. For example, if petunias in the ground are usually located after 30 centimeters, then they can safely be planted in pots after 10-15 centimeters from each other, so that the plantings immediately look magnificent and elegant and do not have ugly bald spots.
It is not worth fearing that the plants do not have enough nutrition at the same time. In the presence of a nutrient substrate and regular top dressing, cramped conditions will not interfere with their full growth and flowering. The only thing you should pay attention to is the proportionality of flowering neighbors, so that subsequently large plants do not cover the kids from the sun.If you plant plants in a container, then you can safely reduce the distance between them by half, or even three times, from the recommended by the manufacturer.
10. Sow in a few terms
If you grow seedlings to decorate the balcony yourself, then it will not be difficult for you to implement another small trick. It is obvious that, like any living organism, each plant has a period of its heyday and decline. And if you will be planting flower seedlings in a few terms, then when some instances of your mini-flower garden get a little tired, others will come into full force, and still others will barely pick up the buds.
By placing instances of different ages in one container, you will receive plantings that will always look fresh and full of strength.