To prevent sensitive plants from dying in winter, they can be brought indoors temporarily and stored in a cool place. However, if you don't have the space for it or want to plant your balcony - despite the cold - you should fall back on hardy perennials, grasses and herbs. They require little care, can withstand even freezing temperatures and are still extremely decorative. Which plants are suitable for the balcony and what you have to consider when watering or fertilizing in winter is explained below.
Perennials, grasses and herbs are not sensitive to the cold and are therefore predestined for planting in balcony boxes. Below is a small selection of hardy balcony plants, about which you should know a few details:
HeatherNot every heather survives a frosty night outside, even if you can currently find a large selection of different varieties in flower shops. If you want to plant your balcony with it, you should definitely choose a hardy plant, such as common heather. This has white or pink flowers, is 10 to 60 centimeters high, likes acidic soil and sun. Or you can opt for snow heather, which has a maximum height of 30 centimeters and white, purple or red flowers.
The plant, also known as the snow rose, flowers from November to January and is therefore ideal for the balcony, as it does not mind cold temperatures at all. It is easy to care for, as long as the soil is watered regularly and thus remains moist, and is content with a (semi) shady spot. The Christmas rose has a low growth height of a maximum of 25 centimeters and can also be moved to the garden after winter so that it will sprout again next year - and also bloom, of course.
Panicle hydrangeaEven if snow falls less and less in Germany, it could not harm the panicle hydrangea. The hardy plant rarely needs to be watered and can be placed on the balcony without worrying, as long as the flower box has a diameter of 40 to 50 centimeters (smaller pots unfortunately have to spend the winter indoors). The flowers only grow on the young shoots, so the soil should be covered with fir or spruce branches before the first frost - bark mulch would also work.
The cranesbill is a native species that is not only hardy, but also easy to care for, easy to grow and (from May to November) blooming. Their growth height is between ten and 50 centimeters, which always depends on the space and location. It does not like waterlogging, but still needs to be watered regularly. The balcony plant doesn't mind icy temperatures, but the roots don't tolerate sub-zero temperatures - but can be protected with insulation (e.g. polystyrene).
RosemaryIn contrast to other balcony plants, rosemary is not only beautiful to look at, but also edible. Although it is not completely hardy, it can withstand temperatures down to minus ten degrees Celsius. And since the winter in Germany is getting milder every year, the herbs can be left outside without hesitation. And if it gets too cold, you can wrap the branches with bubble wrap or a jute bag. It is important, however, that rosemary still needs to be watered regularly.
Although it only flowers from June to August, it has very decorative, silvery-blue leaves - and can usually withstand temperatures down to minus 20 degrees Celsius. In addition, its typical eucalyptus scent should be able to drive away mosquitoes and flies in summer. The maintenance effort is low, since the hardy balcony plant only needs a little water and a sunny place. Depending on how often it is cut back, eucalyptus can grow up to five meters tall.
ThymeAnother herb that can beautify the balcony visually and is suitable for consumption: thyme actually grows in hot countries and still tolerates cold temperatures. Only if the frost periods last particularly long should you protect the branches - as with rosemary - from the icy temperatures and lay out the soil with fir branches or spruce brushwood. The hardy balcony plant has to be watered regularly, but doesn't like "wet feet", otherwise it could rot.
The most beautiful thing about lavender are its purple, fragrant flowers. Unfortunately, these are only visible until September at the latest. Nevertheless, the plant can overwinter on the balcony and sprout again next year. It is important here that you cut back the lavender regularly so that it grows evenly, is not too woody and is beautifully bushy. During the winter, the lavender requires little water and prefers a sunny location.
And one last tip: If you want to do something good for your hardy plants, use potting soil that is low in nitrogen and has a higher potassium content. The right fertilizer is just as important.
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