Growing your favorite herbs on your balcony is a great idea. You can not only enjoy homegrown herbs in your cooking, but an herb garden also adds beauty to your outdoor space.
For people who want to grow plants but live in apartments with a small balcony, herbs are the best and easiest plants to grow.
Creating an herb garden can be a mood-boosting and fulfilling task.
You can grow annual herbs, like chive, parsley, marjoram, cilantro, dill, fennel, and basil, or perennials, like rosemary, mint, thyme, sage, lavender, and oregano.
This guide will get you started on how to start an herb garden on your balcony.
Things to Consider Before Growing a Herb Garden
Before starting an herb garden on our balcony, here are a few things you should consider:
The majority of herbs need partial or full sunlight to grow properly, which is why an herb garden flares well on a south-facing balcony.
However, you can also grow herbs on the balcony facing other directions by selecting the herbs that enjoy the partial shade.
Herbs can grow in almost all climates. Rosemary, mint, and other hardy ones can even withstand snow, but it is best to move them inside during winter.
Fragile herbs like sage, dill, and basil can’t stand temperatures below 21°C.
Herbs don’t need a lot of space to grow. Some herbs, like rosemary, get pretty big, but they don’t mind being pot-bounded in smaller containers.
Which Herbs Are Ideal For Balcony Garden
Select the herbs you regularly use in your recipes, like mint, rosemary, oregano, and basil.
If you are unsure where to start, here are some excellent choices to include in your herb garden on your balcony that requires less care and less space:
- Bay leaf
- Lemon balm
If you are located in an area that experiences harsh winters, it is best to move your herbs indoors during the cold weather.
How to Select a Pot to Grow Herbs
Herbs can grow quickly in small containers, pots, and even plastic bottles. It mostly depends on the resources you have available and the size of your balcony.
Make sure there is proper drainage in the container or pot you are using.
Use floor planters for larger herbs, like mint and rosemary, and herb planters on balcony railings for smaller herbs.
You can even create a vertical herb garden if you don’t have much space. Here are some options to consider:
A vertical garden saves space and allows you to create an effective and beautiful garden, even in small areas.
Use options that would enable you to create your herb garden upwards instead of using crates or boxes that use up space.
Elevated Herb Garden Box
These have gained immense popularity recently as many people find elevated garden boxes highly attractive and manageable. These are also versatile and can be used in any location, like a small balcony.
Hydroponic Herb Garden
This garden requires less soil, which reduces the amount of mess it takes to create and manage an herb garden.
The hydroponic herb garden is a unique and modern way of maintaining a functional garden in less space.
Rail Planter Box Herb Gardens
Planter boxes look great on the rails and decks of the homes, making them ideal to be used on a balcony for an herb garden. You can buy these planters from any store and even customize them.
Mason Jar Herb Gardens
Mason jars have become popular, particularly in creating home décor. These containers provide sufficient space for herbs to grow easily.
Steps to Start an Herb Garden on your Balcony
You can start an herb garden on your balcony with just a little preparation. All you need is:
- Herb seeds
- Seed tray
- Suitable pots
- Multipurpose compost
Once you have the necessary supplies, you can follow these steps:
- Start the germination process by placing the herb seeds in the tray.
- Be sure to place them indoors and spray water on them once every day. You will start noticing a sprout in a week.
- Pop the soil and seed after two weeks and plant them into the main container or pot.
- Gradually make the plant accustomed to outdoor temperature but placing them on the balcony for a few hours and moving them indoors. Increase the time over a week or so before keeping them outdoors.
- Regularly water them according to their needs and the outside temperature as they grow.
- Most herbs are fast-growing and can be harvested in four to six weeks.
Here are some tips that can help you grow the herb garden successfully:
- It is best to purchase a small plant from a store if you want to grow slow-growing herbs instead of using seeds, like rosemary, in your herb garden.
- Be sure to only snip off the amount you need when you harvest the herbs.
- Avoid harvesting the plant unless it has various established stems. The plants need leaves to survive, particularly during the initial growing stage, as it ensures the health of the plant.
- Germinate the herbs in early spring so they can grow well outside during summer.
- Pinch the flower buds off the plant when they appear, as most herb plants die once they start flowering.
Ways to Maintain Your Balcony Herb Garden
Herbs require minimal care and can even survive in a tough environment and occasional lack of water. However, to ensure your balcony herb garden flourishes, you can follow these tips:
Sunlight and Position
Most herbs can grow fully well in partial shade or full sun. Make sure you place them in a location on your balcony that gets sufficient light.
If you have a balcony that doesn’t get enough light, you can still plant some herbs that do well in the shade.
Give Them Plenty of Space
Plants need sufficient soil to grow, which is why it is important to grow plants in pots that are spacious enough.
Placing the plant in a small pot or putting multiple herbs in a single planter will stunt the growth.
While herbs growing in soil are tolerant to temporary excess and shortage of water, the ones growing in the pots can become sensitive to waterlogged and dry soil.
To avoid this, it is best to regularly water the herbs and select pots and containers with drainage holes.
The good thing about starting an herb garden is that they don’t require much fertilizing. You can either utilize 10-10-10 or 5-10-5 balanced fertilizer and dilute it to half its strength to make it work.
All you need do is feed the plants twice or thrice every year. Avoid feeding during the winter season unless you reside in a warmer climate.
When planting, consider mixing well-rotted manure or mixed aged compost in the potting mix to encourage quicker growth.
Pinching and Trimming
Trimming and pinching the plants is important to ensure fuller growth. Be sure to pinch back the leaves at the top of the plant, above the node.
This will encourage the non-growing buds to grow, and the plant will thrive better.
Monitor the Temperature
It is essential to monitor the temperature of all outdoor plants. Water more when the temperature is too high, and consider moving the herbs indoors when the weather is too cold.
Find out which herbs would be best to plant in the climate and what their water requirements are to ensure they grow well.
Select the Right Herbs to Grow Together
Not all herbs can peacefully exist together. You can’t expect all herbs to share the same soil and pot as one of the plants is bound to suffer.
For instance, mint likes its own space and can spread its roots as far as it possibly can.
Make sure to conduct some research before planting different herbs together.
Figure out the herbs that can grow and thrive together and plant the rest in separate containers to achieve optimal growth.
The tough thing about keeping an herb garden is determining when and how to harvest your herbs. All herbs aren’t the same in terms of harvesting.
For instance, you have to snip the leaves of basil from the top part of the plant and not the bottom.
Mint and oregano can be harvested by snipping the leaves from anywhere. Chives can be harvested right from the soil if needed. Be sure to do your research and harvest the herbs correctly.
Starting an herb garden on your balcony is a great way to have your favorite herbs handy for cooking purposes while changing the look of your outdoor space.
The best thing about growing herbs is that they don’t require a lot of attention. This means it is a great way to get into gardening for a beginner.
This guide will help you get started on choosing the right herbs to add to your herb garden and ways you can look after them.