Best Outdoor Plants for Apartment Living
If you think that living in an apartment means you can’t enjoy gardening, you’re wrong! Spring is here and now is the time to prepare your patio or balcony for the warmer months ahead. Container gardening is inexpensive and fun, plus, it’s not as labor-intensive as maintaining a traditional garden. You don’t have to dig, plant seeds or weed. Many plants species, including vegetables, can be successfully grown in containers. Central Ohio is in Zone 6, meaning that prime growing season is from that last frost to the first frost, roughly May 1-November 1. Some “crops,” such as lettuce and other leafy greens, are best harvested early and usually don’t grow as abundantly through the summer. Tomatoes should be planted as soon as possible but you’re going to have to wait until July or August to enjoy them. Flowers (annuals) can be planted any time and will last through the early fall. Herbs can be put out early and will last all season. As a bonus, you can bring them indoors during the winter, just make sure that they get plenty of light.
The key to choosing the best plants depends on how much light your patio or balcony gets during the day. Full sun means about six hours a day, partial is three hours, then there is full shade, but don’t despair if your apartment falls in the last category. There are plenty of shade-loving plants such as hostas. You can put plants in practically any type of container but make sure that there is adequate drainage, otherwise, the roots will get to wet and rot. If the container you want to use doesn’t have drainage holes in the bottom, that’s an easy DIY with a hammer and nails. Another benefit to having a container garden is that is will attract bees and butterflies and the occasional hummingbird. If you are interested in setting up a habitat to attract pollinators, you can check with your local university extension office or go online to learn which plants are native to this region and will thrive in containers.
Here are some popular flowerings plants and herbs that you can find at your local nursery or lawn and garden center:
- New Guinea impatiens (low maintenance; like partial shade)
- Lobelia (great for hanging baskets; partial shade)
- Sweet potato vine (cascades from hanging baskets; full sun)
- Caladium (greenery; partial to full shade)
- Hibiscus (full sun; can winter over indoors)
- Salvia (bees love it; full sun)
- Hostas (greenery; full shade)
- Marigolds (repels harmful insects; full sun)
- Petunias (top-rated; full sun)
- Roses (full sun)
- Rosemary and basil (full sun)
- Chives and cilantro (full sun)
- Mint (full sun-partial shade)
These are some of the vegetable plants that will grow well in containers:
- Lettuce (partial sun)
- Spinach (partial shade)
- Kale (full sun)
- Chard (partial sun)
- Tomatoes (full sun)
- Green beans (full sun)
- Jalapeños and chili peppers (full sun)
- Zucchini (full sun)
- Cucumber (full sun)
- Radishes (full sun)
- Sweet peppers (full sun)
You can grow practically anything you want in a container as long as you have the right sunlight, soil and container. It can help you feel productive and turn into an enjoyable hobby that requires little efforts. Flowers and plants add a pop of color to your patio or balcony, can help the environment and provide a source of fresh food. Add some comfy chairs, a table and some mood lighting (like fairy lights) and you can create an urban oasis to escape from the pressures of daily life. Relax with a good read, coffee, tea, wine or a mojito (made from your mint plants) and appreciate a little slice of nature in your own home.
At Vision Communities, we encourage our residents to make our apartment communities home. We take pride in the communities that we build and want our residents to feel the same way. We’ll take care of the maintenance of the facilities and your apartment, but the cleaning and assembly are up to you! With apartment communities near Lewis Center and Polaris, Clintonville, Downtown Columbus, Vision Communities has the floor plan and amenities that you are looking for. To learn more, browse our Central Ohio communities and find the right floor plan for you and your family.