Growing Wildflowers on your Balcony

Wildflowers are are not only beautiful little plants, but also tough, adapted to surviving out in the wild with only nature to care for them.

This makes them a great choice for a balcony garden, which can experience harsh conditions including wind, heat, cold, and dry conditions.

They will also bring pollinators to your balcony - we have had bumblebees and hummingbirds visit this summer.

Wildflower seeds often come in mixes, 10 or more different flower seeds mixed together.  Chances are high that some of the wildflowers in these mixes will thrive under your own balcony’s conditions:  sun or shade, hot or cool, dry or wet.

Besides the seeds, you will also need a pot and soil.  We have had good success growing wildflowers in a self-watering container.  The soil doesn’t dry out as quickly, meaning that you won’t have to water every day.

Fill your container with soil (see our directions here) and then follow the seed packets instructions for planting.  Typically wildlflower seeds are sprinkled across soil and then lightly covered with only a thin layer of soil.  The soil is kept moist until they sprout.

This summer, we planted a pack of mixed wildflower seeds that my mom got in the mail from the Sierra Club.   Here are some pictures of the flowers that grew on our balcony.

Balcony Garden Update: early July 2019

The peas (delicious…) and spinach finished up on the balcony in June.  Now peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, a strawberry, and flowers are having their turn.

Last year, the tomato plants grew incredibly large and lush in the City Picker planters.  This year, there is a determinate, smaller size, red cherry tomato plant (“Sweetheart of the Patio”) in a City Picker planter, and a indeterminate, larger, orange cherry tomato plant (“Sungold”) in the Earthbox with a 5-ft trellis.  Right now, in early July, there are many small green tomatoes on both plants.
Last year’s lavender plants that were planted in the City Picker planters all died over the winter, due to cold temperatures.  So this year, I chose perennial plants that are hardy to one zone colder than where we live.  Hopefully at least some of these will survive next winter.  Overwintering in a planter pot (and on an exposed balcony) is tougher on plants than overwintering in the ground.
One of these new perennial plants is Red Flowered Lamb’s Ear, also known as Scarlett Hedge Nettle or Stachys coccinea Mountain Red.  It came from High Country Gardens.  This is a native wildflower, and should attract hummingbirds, but none have made it up to our balcony yet.  It has grown amazingly in a City Picker planter, though.  The first picture (below) is right after planting in May.  Now, in early July it has grown to 18” tall with 15 to 20 flower spikes, each spike having many cheerful red trumpet-shaped flowers.