Nurturing plants to make your balcony flourish

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THOSE of us town dwellers who are not blessed with acres of land at our disposal can still nurture a range of plants to brighten up our balconies. But even having two or three pot plants to care for can be tricky.

The direction of the balcony or terrace will clearly make a huge difference to how your plants develop, if you don´t take steps to shield them from solar rays at particular times of the day. Blinds or awnings can be useful, especially if your terrace faces south, east or west. Make sure they are pulled down at the hottest part of the day, shading them and you into the bargain.

While it is tempting to fill your balcony with overflowing plants, you can be economical with floor space, hanging plants in wall pots or along balustrades or on trellis. Choose plants that suit the direction of your balcony.

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South facing terraces will take geraniums, petunias, herbs, fuschias and carnations. East ones, begonias, orchids, and aloes among others. For west ones use petunias, spider plants, and miniature confers and north facing balconies can host aspidistras, cyclamen, and many indoor plants.

To stop plants drying out, you can use water retaining gel in the compost of plant pots or self- watering pots, this is especially important on south facing terraces. Then all you need to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the view!

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