How to Maintain General Plants in Your Balcony Garden

Balcony plants need little maintenance; flowering species should be dead-headed, and any dead leaves and broken or distorted stems removed as and when you see them. This encourages fresh blooms and helps to keep the plants looking good and free of disease. A bucket or plastic sack is a good way of disposing of the debris cleanly and efficiently. At the end of the year, give the whole area a general tidy-up and keep dead leaves under control by sweeping or vacuuming them up regularly. Snow should be gently knocked off over­wintering plants to avoid its weight bending or snapping their branches.

The beauty of a completely contained garden is that you can replace any plant which is past its best with a new pot or plant to maintain your display in peak condition at all times. This also helps you to produce something of interest right through the seasons. Try to be ruthless and don’t be tempted to let a short-lived plant completely die off before replacing it; it will only add a jarring note to your arrangement and it is possible that the plant could introduce disease to the soil as it decays.

Maintain Plants Balcony

Repotting plants

More permanent plants will eventually outgrow their containers and need potting on to larger pots or tubs of fresh compost. The best time for potting on and repotting is before the new growing season starts and while the plant is resting. Some plants like to have their roots restricted but you can tell if a plant is pot-bound because it will lose condition or stop growing. To check if this is so, tap the container gently to loosen the plant and examine the rootball to see if it is a matted mass of roots, which may even have started to grow out of the drainage holes. The new container should allow about 4 cm of extra space for new root growth — too large a pot will inhibit growth just as effectively as one that is too small.

Eventually, perennial plants will reach the size you require, or you may not have room for a larger container. If this is the case, plants can be repotted in the same size container after you have first reduced the size of the rootball to limit its growth. This is done by gently removing the plant from its pot and trimming away about 5 cm (2 in) of the rootball with a pair of sharp scissors, cutting out any dead roots. Repot in fresh compost exactly as you would a new plant.

Staking plants

Tall plants may require staking to prevent wind damage. Split canes or lengths of slender bamboo can be pushed into the soil in containers and tied with green twine (for soft-stemmed plants) or covered metal ties (for woody stems). There are also special metal supports you can buy which are inserted in the compost while the plant is still small so that it can grow up through them.

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About the Author: Greenery always attracts Arthur Kunkle. He has a big garden where he plants many fruits and vegetables. His passion for gardening motivates him to write and share different tips on gardening.

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