Best Plants For High Rise Balconies | Wind Tolerant Plants

Wind is one of the most common forces of nature that a balcony gardener will need to face and work with. Instead of trying to create barriers and obstacles to the wind, why not work with it? Pick wind tolerant plants that are the best for high rise balconies to begin with.

The solution is to pick wind tolerant plants in the first place. You may need to do a little research but why fight mother nature?

After all, we don’t grow plants that need a lot of water in the desert, or grow plants that need us a lot of sunlight in the shade.

Why would you attempt to grow plants that will not thrive in windy conditions, when you know that’s what you have?

We will be making some suggestions on wind tolerant plants in order to give you a menu of options in planning a high-rise balcony garden that has a greater chance of succeeding and thriving.

Here are some wind tolerant plants:

  • Arborvitae
  • Arrow Viburnum
  • Aspidistra
  • Azaleas
  • Bamboo
  • Bayberry
  • Birch
  • Bottlebrush (Callistemon)
  • Boxwood
  • Conifers
  • Coreopsis
  • Crab apple
  • Crepe Myrtles
  • Daisies
  • Day Lillies
  • Echium
  • Flax
  • Forsythia
  • Gazania
  • Gazania
  • Heather
  • Holly
  • Hornbeam
  • Houseleek sempervivum 
  • Ivy
  • Japanes Black Pine
  • Japanese holly
  • Juniper ‘Skyrocket’ is
  • Leucospermum
  • Lilac
  • Marigolds
  • Mock orange
  • Moon flowers climbing
  • Morning glories climbing
  • Forsythia
  • Gazania
  • Gazania
  • Heather
  • Holly
  • Hornbeam
  • Houseleek sempervivum 
  • Ivy
  • Japanes Black Pine
  • Japanese holly
  • Juniper ‘Skyrocket’ is
  • Leucospermum
  • Lilac
  • Marigolds
  • Mock orange
  • Moon flowers climbing
  • Morning glories climbing

One of the first solutions most balcony gardeners will come up with is to try to block the wind by using panels or fabric of some type. Another solution may be to use trellises with climbing vines as windscreens.

The problem with those solutions is being able to securely anchor them. Wind is a force of nature. It would not be a good thing to have it tear your panels, or turn your trellises into projectiles.

The majority of condo associations and landlords would not be happy by drilling into exterior walls and balcony structures in order to get secure support these wind solutions require.

Some of these solutions may work in certain circumstances, and certainly if you own your own home with land they can be made to work. But living in a high-rise present certain challenges in this regard.

How Does Wind Affect Plants? | What Does “Wind Resistant Plant” Mean?

Wind resistant plants generally have flexible stems which allow them to bend in the breeze, strong root systems which enable them to stay anchored, and often have narrow leaves, or in the case of conifers needles.

Remember, when you are growing any plants you need to take into account the overall regional climate and the micro-climate of the exact location of your garden. In our case, the microclimate it is a high-rise balcony; the regional climate is determined by where you live in general.

Growing plants on a high-rise balcony produces a unique microclimate. It is one which is highly affected by wind and sun.

Wind certainly serves some positive prop purposes in growing plants. It provides air circulation and movement. It can also help with pollination and prevent fungus is in diseases from attacking your plants.

However, too much of a good thing is seldom beneficial. Strong winds can pull on plant’s leaves and roots causing damage and breakage.

Constant and changing when even if it is not too strong will cause swaying in the plant which can loosen the root system from the soil that will definitely affect the plant’s ability to absorb moisture.

Wind also causes moisture loss through evaporation. The top layer of soil can dry out much more quickly. Lack of soil coupled with intense sunlight is a recipe for disaster for most plants.

Chances are you will have to water your plants more often than is normally recommended to combat the evaporation the wind causes.

When can also affect the growth and shape of plants. I was on vacation in Aruba some years ago and was fascinated by the famous Divi Divi trees. These trees are stunted in their canopy points in the direction of the study Trade winds.

Some High Rise Balcony Garden Plant Suggestions:

 

Before we get to some actual plant suggestions, there is one item that is not been discussed: plant containers.

We recently did an article about concrete plant pots. This is something you may want to consider for your balcony garden. They are sturdy, will last for years, and are friendly to the plants.

A consideration that must be taken into account concerning plant containers is the safe weight load limits on your balcony. If you start using huge containers filled with dirt you might put stresses on the balcony beyond its design limits and have a disaster on your hands.

Here are some wind resistant plant suggestions:

Bamboo

I am fortunate to live in Florida which has great growing conditions for bamboo. Florida also has great conditions for being hit by hurricanes on a regular basis. These plants are extremely strong but they give with the wind.

I have a bamboo windbreak outside my bedroom windows (on a ground floor) and it really did the job during the last hurricane. Windows in other parts of my house were rattling but not the bedroom.

Not all bamboos grow to heights of 30 and 40 feet. There are dwarf and bamboos and midsize bamboos. They do need plenty of room in the pot

 

Golden Sumac (Rhus typhinea)

By Derek Ramsey Via Wkikpedia Commons

This is a plant not commonly grown in the ground gardens because it is invasive and can spread. However, grown in a container keeps the size down.

It is an extremely wind resistant plant and, in fact, looks very attractive when the breeze is swaying the branches.

Gazania

By Alvesgaspar Via Wkikpedia Commons

Gazania are great plants for a high-rise balcony garden. They thrive in a sunny location, and are tolerant of dry conditions (which occur more often than not with the evaporation effects of the wind).

They are often used as groundcover, so they hunker down fairly low. They are most often seen in yellows but there are varieties of other colors as well such as ‘Aztec’, ‘Burgundy’, ‘Copper King’, ‘Fiesta Red’, ‘Goldrush’ and ‘Moonglow’

Bottlebrush (Callistemon)

By Karina Via Wkikpedia Commons

The bottlebrush plant needs a lot of sun and well-drained soil. In increased amount of sun increases the propensity of this plant a flower.

The bottlebrush plant originated in Australia and comes in shades of red, pink, purple, and white. It also can be found in several varieties of size from dwarfs to trees.

Caryopteris

By Dalgial Via Wkikpedia Commons

These plants are actually small to medium-size shrubs. Their small flowers are generally purple or blue in color and bloom from mid to late summer into the autumn.

The plants are actually native to the Himalayas which is a pretty good credential for being wind resistant.

Frangula

By Derek Ramsey Via Wkikpedia Commons

This is another shrub that grows to a larger size when planted in the ground, approximately 10 to 20 feet high. Since its introduction to the United States is been classified as an invasive species.

But, kept in a container and cut back it makes a wonderfully wind resistant plant for a balcony garden.

It does flower, and the flowers are small and star-shaped.

Sempervivum (Hens & Chicks)

By Alvesgaspar Via Wkikpedia Commons

Sempervivum are commonly known as houseleeks and hens and chicks. They are succulent perennials and can serve as groundcover in your larger pots. They are adaptable to dry and sunny locations with fast draining sandy soil. Their low profile makes them very wind resistant.

They grow as tufted rosettes. They are not necessarily held in high regard for their flowers but rather their geometric and architectural interest in design.

These are great plants for high-rise balcony gardens especially in terra-cotta or concrete planters or pots.

Conclusion:

We hope you enjoyed our post “Best Plants For High Rise Balconies | Wind Tolerant Plants”, and it gave you some ideas to get started on planning that balcony garden.

High winds is simply another factor that need to be taken into account when the gardening. It does not have to be a factor that prevents you from having a garden even under some difficult situations.

Best of wishes in your gardening adventures.

Thanks For Visiting.

Photo Credits

1. Bamboo –  Copyright: weter777 / 123RF Stock Photo

2.   Golden Sumac (Rhus typhinea) By Photo by and (c)2006 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man). Location credit to the Chanticleer Garden. (Self-photographed) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

3 Gazani By Alvesgaspar By Alvesgaspar (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

4. Bottle brush By Kerina yin at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

5. Caryopteris by adalgial (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

6. Frangula Photo by and (c)2006 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man). Location credit to the Chanticleer Garden. (Self-photographed) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

7. Sempervivum (Hens & Chicks) malleo / 123RF Stock Photo

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