Generally speaking, winter is not necessarily the time of year when you spend hours relaxing on balconies or the terrace. Instead, they are ideal as outdoor refrigerators for drinks, vegetables or other delicacies that only take up space in the kitchen. Sadness reigns in the balcony boxes, which are bursting with colors in the summer. Yes, spring is still daydreaming a bit. You want to lure him out of hibernation with a colorful greeting from the balcony? Go ahead! Some species, especially perennials and small shrubs, are at their best in February and March.
Read here what you should consider when planting on the balcony in the cold season and which gadgets you need in addition to the green thumb.
February is not only the driest in this country, but also one of the coldest on the annual calendar with an average daily temperature of just over three degrees Celsius. This is important if you are toying with the idea of stocking the balcony boxes now and delighting the neighbors or walkers with the first dashes of color of the year. Because most of the popular balcony plants are sensitive to frost. But there are exceptions, such as the snow rose or Christmas rose, which is also often referred to as the queen of winter. The white to pink or even two-tone beauty is already available in specialist shops and feels right at home in the window box even when it's frosty.
Its image may be a bit outdated, but the robust cyclamen is also ideal for tickling spring off the balcony at home. The spring variant Cyclamen coum has white or strong pink flowers and cuts a brilliant figure in the balcony box next to the Christmas rose.
As one of the most colorful heralds of spring, the horned violet should not be missing from any balcony box in late winter. Icy temperatures of 15 degrees below zero cannot harm the little sister of the popular pansy. The mini pansies come from the high altitudes of the Pyrenees and their flowers cover almost the entire color palette. From white to yellow, red, crimson and violet to almost black tones, everything will be available from February. There are hardly any limits to your imagination when planting on the balcony.
Among botanists it goes by the evocative name Anemone nemorosa – and hobby gardeners should remember this name. Because the wood anemone also loves it cold and frosty. Depending on how mild the winter was, the white or soft pink or blue-violet flowers stretch their heads toward the sun from mid-February. A little caution is required when planting. Like most buttercup plants, parts of the perennial contain the toxin protoanemonin. It is best to use gloves when planting on the balcony. In the event of skin contact, the affected areas should be washed off as quickly as possible.
If you want to give bees and insects a special treat in hard and snowy winters, round off your balcony planting with some heather in the cold season. The snow or winter heather withstands hard frost without damage and flowers from January to April. Why? The dwarf shrub comes from the Alps and grows up to 2700 meters above sea level.
Important: As with all other balcony plants that are outdoors in snow and ice, the soil of the heather should always be slightly damp. Danger! Never water on days with permafrost. The sensitive roots could freeze.
The well-being of the balcony plants stands and falls with the nature of the soil beneath them. Basically, the following applies: The fresher and higher the quality of the soil, the longer you can enjoy Christmas roses, violets and the like. So treat your cool heralds of spring to a fresh "bed", which is available here, for example. Not only does this absorb the irrigation water well, the plants are also reliably supplied with nutrients for several weeks. You do not need special soil for planting in winter.
The perfect soil makes life for your plants a lot easier. The equipment should be right so that it gets into the mini-bed properly and it doesn't look like Hempels under the sofa on the balcony afterwards. In addition to a small garden claw and a shovel, a small hand brush and secateurs as well as a mini bucket for smaller plant remains are helpful gadgets for digging on the balcony. A complete and compact set for "City Gardening" is available here.
Sources: "gartenjournal.net"; "NDR Guide"; "mein-schoener-garten.de"
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