Hardy balcony plants: easy-care pot decoration

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Hardy balcony plants offer a whole range of advantages: The plants are perfectly adapted to the Central European climate, so they do not mind the low temperatures in winter. The bushes and shrubs can remain on the balcony or terrace during the cold season and, unlike exotic potted plants such as oleander (Nerium oleander) or angel trumpet (Brugmansia), do not need a frost-free place to spend the winter.

The multi-year hardy balcony plants also delight hobby gardeners every year with their flowers, the beautiful growth or a bright foliage color in the fall. The labor-intensive and expensive annual replanting of pots and boxes is eliminated.

Selection criteria for hardy balcony plants

As hardy balcony plants are generally very many perennials and small remaining woody plants. However, you should avoid species and varieties that have little to offer except a short flowering period. Compact growth, durable flowers, leaf decoration, beautiful fruits, great growth habit, bright autumn color or evergreen foliage are the requirements for hardy balcony plants - and the more they fulfill, the better.
With beautiful leaves many species compensate for what they often lack in flower decoration. Sometimes the leaves are pied yellow like the pagoda dogwood 'Variegata', sometimes they impress the viewer with almost black shimmering foliage like some varieties of the Japanese maple.

Wild berry (Gaultheria)

Cotoneaster with flowers and fruits

The partridge or berry (left) looks beautiful with its red berries for a long time. The dwarf medlar (right) despite even severe winters and still retains many fruits

For flower and fruit decorations on the balcony, winter-hardy balcony plants such as bilberry (Gaultheria), hellebore (Helleborus niger) and snow heath (Erica carnea). In particular heather shines in the dreary time in pleasantly soft tones such as pink and white. Small remaining cotoneaster and ornamental apple varieties add strong accents to your balcony with their fruit decoration.

The best trees for the balcony

The selection of hardy woody plants is great. In general, however, you should prefer weakly growing varieties that remain as compact as possible - they are better able to handle smaller planters. Hardy woody plants are also easy to care for in the pot and can stand outside all year round. Shrubs such as the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) and Japanese azaleas (Rhododendron japonicum hybrids) feel at home in pots of suitable soil on the terrace. You do not even have to pack the pot in the winter maple, as its root ball is completely insensitive to freezing. Even trees such as boxwood (Buxus sempervirens), summer lilac (Buddleja), garden hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus) and columnar apples can easily survive outdoors in the cold season.

Bearded flower Caryopteris

Finger shrub (Potentilla fruticosa)

The blue flowers of the bearded flower (left) go well with the gray-green leaves and last until October. Particularly suitable for the pot garden is the finger shrub (right) with its bright yellow or light pink flowers, depending on the variety

Suitable for a sunny spot are Cloveculae (Ceanothus x delilianus), Bearded Flower (Caryopteris clandonensis), Fingerstraw (Potentilla fruticosa), Small Shrub Roses and Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). For a partially shaded location, there are compact rhododendrons (Rhododendron), low viburnum species and farm hydrangeas.

Hardy perennials as balcony plants

Among the hardy perennials, especially the late summer bloomers with a long flowering time are convincing and are therefore the first choice for balcony planting. These include asters (Aster), cockade flowers (Gaillardia), purple sunhat (Echinacea) and magnificent candles (Gaura lindheimeri). Purple leaves (Heuchera), funchies (Hosta) and various types of sedge ensure beautiful foliage. Other compact ornamental grasses such as the hardy feathered grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) are also very suitable for the pot.

Konkardenblume Gaillardia

Purple bell heuchera

The uncomplicated cockade flower (left) adorns each year with its red-yellow flower petals. The purple bell convinces less with its flowers, but all the more with a magnificent leaf decoration

Tips for the right winter protection

Even if the term suggests otherwise: Many hardy balcony plants need winter protection in cold winters. Although they are reliably hardy in the field, root systems sometimes freeze completely in the pot - and most species tolerate this less well. It is best to insulate the pots with bubble wrap and burlap, or place them in a wooden box, which is then filled with leaves.A wooden or styrofoam plate under the pot protects against the cold of the ground. Also important is a rain and wind protected location, preferably close to the house wall. In addition, protect the plants from winter sunlight: It may lead to premature sprouting, can cause frost cracks in woody plants and leaf damage in evergreen plants. The best protection is provided by a cover made of thin winter fleece, with which the entire crown is packed. In the winter you can do without regular casting. Provide water to the plants only when the root ball feels dry.

Video Board: How To Grow Pot Plants in a Container Garden.

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