How to Water and Feed the Plants in Your Balcony Garden

Watering is the most tedious chore in the balcony garden, although there are clever ways of reducing even this task to a minimum. The large number of plants in containers means a heavy watering commitment, especially if the weather is hot and dry. Both sun and wind can be terribly drying; water also evaporates out of the top of the pot, and in the case of porous material like terracotta, out of the sides of the container too.

Neglecting to water causes real problems, for once the compost has become completely dried out it can be difficult to moisten it properly again. Plants will soon suffer and may even die. Positioning the containers close together helps to create a mini climate and preserve moisture. There is also the advantage that you do not have to travel far between plants on your watering sessions, unlike in a garden.

Water Plants Balcony Garden

Surface mulching helps to reduce moisture loss from the surface; peat or chopped bark tends to blow away on the balcony, so it is better to use gravel, granite chips or small pebbles, which have the advantage of looking attractive too. When watering, check that the water filters through the compost properly before it starts to fill the drip tray or saucer. If it rushes through at speed, the compost is too dry and you must prick it with a small garden fork or a skewer to allow more air in and let the water penetrate it properly. The best time to water is after the sun has gone down, or at least lost its strength, so the water does not immediately evaporate in the heat. This also gives the plant plenty of time to absorb sufficient moisture. There are automatic watering systems available which may be useful if you lead a very busy life or have to go away. You can also buy self-watering containers which incorporate an integral reservoir that needs topping up only occasionally.


Plants grown in containers also quickly exhaust their supply of nutrients and must be regularly fed, especially during the spring and summer months, if they are to grow and flourish. This is particularly important for herbs, fruits and vegetables subjected to regular picking.

Fertilizers recommended for different types of plants are available in a wide range of easy-to-apply formats. You can use pills, pellets and sticks which are inserted in the soil, or quicker-acting (and thus more effective but more time-consuming) foliar feeds which are made up and sprayed on to the plants’ foliage. Liquid feeds should be applied about once a week during the growing season, and the soil-applied granular fertilizers approximately once a month. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on making up and applying grass fertilizer, as overfeeding or using too strong a mixture can be more damaging to your plant than completely starving it of food. It is up to you whether you use an organic or chemical fertilizer.

Filed Under: General How To's


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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