As someone who grew up practically drowning in nature, moving into a cramped city condo with barely any green space was a huge shock. Once I got a taste of living without a garden, I was desperate for that connection with nature again— and that’s when I learned about vertical gardening.
Like many of us, my 3×6 feet balcony was underutilized and was basically only wasted space. Once I realized that it was the perfect spot for an outdoor sanctuary, it changed my life for the better! Don’t you want a vertical garden on your balcony too?
How To Make A Vertical Garden On A Balcony
Going by its name, a vertical garden utilizes wasted wall space in your home by filling it with perennials, herbs, vegetables, and fruits, giving it a fresh purpose. Before you dive into creating your balcony garden, you first need to know two things— your hardiness zone and your balcony’s orientation.
Plant Hardiness Zone
USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map lays out the climates, seasons, weather, and temperatures that you’re exposed to based on your ZIP Code. This narrows down the kinds of plants that survive in your area. It can also be a great help in choosing what to do with your garden.
Your balcony orientation determines the light intensity of your balcony. It’s crucial to choose plants that’ll survive how much or how little sunlight it receives. Generally, North-facing balconies are better for plants that grow in low light, while South-facing balconies are ideal for sun worshippers.
Best Plants To Start Your Vertical Garden
USDA Hardiness Zones: 8–11
Light Needs: Direct sunlight (six to eight hours)
Aloe vera is a classic medicinal plant that’s shockingly easy to grow! It’s not just a natural moisturizer. It also soothes skin irritation, accelerates wound healing, and has antibacterial and antiviral properties useful for humans, pets, and other plants. When you need it, just chop off a leaf with a sterilized knife and scrape the gel within.
USDA Hardiness Zones: 8–11
Light Needs: Medium-light intensity, low-light tolerant
Ferns are a popular leafy houseplant that has interesting spiked leaf structures that adds dimension and texture to balcony wall gardens. They work great as fillers, and their downward growth habit creates an interesting draping effect. Different kinds of ferns can mature into various colors and shapes. Since there’s such a wide variety to choose from, it’ll be easy to find some for your zone.
USDA Hardiness Zones: 3–8
Light Needs: Direct sunlight (six to seven hours)
Herb gardens are a practical and rewarding choice for your balcony. Herbs like basil, rosemary, oregano, and chives grow well in planters and with lots of light. Since they’re container-friendly, you’re free to choose some that effortlessly flourish in your hardiness zone to give you a fresh herb source for your favorite recipes.
USDA Hardiness Zones: 3–9
Light Needs: Direct sun (four to six hours)
Succulents are a container gardening go-to and come in interesting shapes, textures, and colors. You can create a memorable living wall on your balcony just by being creative with their placement! Most succulents are drought-resistant and have shallow roots systems, making them great for small planters and natural garden murals.
USDA Hardiness Zones: 8–11
Light Needs: Direct sunlight (At least eight hours)
Just like herbs, tomatoes are fantastic for balcony gardens. Tomatoes are container-friendly climbers that look amazing and are easy to care for. They love sunlight and look gorgeous during the growing season. They’re also a lovely fruiting plant to care for since they’re so easy to grow and fill your balcony with color.
Fun Balcony Vertical Garden Planter Ideas
Choosing a planter for your vertical garden isn’t just picking what’s most attractive but is more focused on getting a container that meets your plant’s needs.
Wall-mounted designs like these are a fantastic space-friendly and no-fuss option. You could even consider one with pockets like the MEIWO Hanging Vertical Planter. It has seven roomy plant pockets and is easy to mount and style. You could also use a vertical garden frame with some hanging planters. The ShopLaLa Store’s hanging planter has a rustic wood look and can hold all sorts of hooked pots or act as a trellis for climbers.
Hanging planters take a different approach. Instead of using walls, this fills your overhead area with plants, giving more room for your balcony furniture. This is ideal for cramped balconies that can’t sacrifice any wall or floor space but still want to have a beautiful home garden.
If you can’t punch holes into your home, freestanding planters are another possibility. Instead of using traditional pots, you could opt for a stackable planter pot or a freestanding garden frame like the one in the image above. It gives you a full balcony garden without risking your rental deposit.
Is It Difficult To Maintain A Vertical Garden On A Balcony?
Not at all! Vertical gardens shouldn’t be hard to nurture as long as you’re dedicated. Here are four tips to help you maintain your garden.
Get Special Soil
Use the right soil when you start your garden. Commercial potting soil is designed for container plants and helps you avoid drowning their roots or killing them with too few nutrients.
Preserve Your Wall
Instead of installing your planters flush to your wall, leave some space or put a barrier between them to protect your wall. Plants rely on regular watering, and this moisture could have some negative effects on unprotected walls.
Gather Your Essentials
Successful balcony gardens use more than just soil and water to help their greens bloom. Some things to prepare for your garden are:
- Gardening tools – High-quality tools help you safely handle your plant without damaging them, especially while pruning.
- Organic pesticide – Some pests are unavoidable. If you ever need to, having an organic pesticide such as Neem Oil helps quickly deal with the issue without endangering yourself, your plants, and your home.
- Long spout watering can – This helps you efficiently and gently water your plants, even if they’re hard to reach.
- Fertilizer – Prepare fertilizer that’s compatible with your plant and that you’re comfortable using on them.
- Humidity source – Most plants need humidity, and your balcony could hinder that depending on the weather. You can use a simple humidity tray or a small humidifier when the air is very dry to keep your garden lively.
Regular Check-Ups are Key
As long as your schedule includes routine check-ins, you’ll have a good grasp of their health. These maintenance checks are what will most reliably tell you when it’s time to water, feed, prune, or transfer them.
Your balcony deserves a vertical garden because you deserve to have a beautiful and therapeutic outdoor escape in the comforts of your home. I hope this has inspired you to start the balcony garden of your dreams. Be confident— if you keep a close eye on it, your balcony garden will soon be your favorite spot.
Tell us what plants you want for your balcony vertical garden, and don’t be afraid to ask us some questions in the comments below!