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low plants to survive high winds

(33 Posts)
Lorelei76 Wed 10-Aug-16 16:04:53

hello all
short version - I planted a few seeds and baby plants on my balcony after getting some good advice here.

one of the issues I mentioned was it's a very exposed balcony on a high floor, with nothing to protect it on a windy day.

this has turned out to be even more problematic than I thought.

I would like a bit of winter colour out there but I have to be very careful as I can only plant low plants that are quite sturdy.

I would ideally like a couple of red evergreens to accompany the plants have survived. Any thoughts?

I am also thinking of planting winter heathers - I am not sure if the flowers are sturdy enough?

there are some low bedding plants on sale in Homebase - will that be better or will the little petals of pansies etc be too delicate?

I can see I might just be better with multi coloured cacti (!) but i would like to see some flowers. Begonias managed okay btw.

thanks for your thoughts.

Lorelei76 Wed 10-Aug-16 18:32:41

just thought of something else - the pansies that are on sale as bedding plants at the moment -- if I bought them now, how long will they flower - if it's just into September then perhaps not a good idea? Just a shame to see the balcony looking flower-less!


Ferguson Wed 10-Aug-16 20:11:35

Heuchera are easy, tolerant, and come in a vast range of colours with plenty of red variants - both for leaves, and also red flowers.

JT05 Wed 10-Aug-16 20:55:33

Heathers usually grow on exposed hillsides, so they should be fine. They should be planted in eracacious compost.

JT05 Wed 10-Aug-16 20:57:11

I meant to add, how about alpine and rockery plants, they also grow on exposed sites. Wind is very drying so plants that tolerate drought might work.

Lorelei76 Wed 10-Aug-16 23:20:46

Ferguson, when I saw that website title I laughed
Now I've looked at, I totally understand it!! I want to buy the mixed pack...but yes, the balcony is very small and I'm on a budget so no. But now I'm thinking maybe two of and gold?

J, thanks, winter heathers also on the list. Possibly winter pansies for more colour but are their petals too fragile?

I should try to stick with a red evergreen and a flower because otherwise out of season I'll either have boring empty pots there or have to try to keep them inside this tiny flat. Ideally I'd like one thing in flower each season.

Lorelei76 Wed 10-Aug-16 23:32:59

Actually, just thought, I'd prefer crocuses to pansies, I wonder how they would fare?

CocktailQueen Wed 10-Aug-16 23:38:07

Grasses would be good. Maybe a pot of crocuses sheltered a bit by a pot of bigger plants?

Lorelei76 Thu 11-Aug-16 16:05:11

Thanks Cocktail, yes, the ones that have done well are now in bigger pots and will give shelter to smaller ones.

I have yet more questions - sorry!

The other thing that struck me if i'm going for some evergreens and one flower each season - I love snowdrops but looking for information on when and how to grow them, all the advice is conflicting! Some say plant bulbs now, some say don't because they'll dry out, some say plant them "in the green" later on and some of my friends have said to me that when you get to the "in the green" phase they're impossible to get hold of!

Any advice clever MNers?

JT05 Thu 11-Aug-16 18:49:34

Snowdrops do better if you buy them already growing (in the green) . They can be bought from garden centres quite easily, around February.
Or, my preferred method is to ask friends and relatives if they can spare any. They can be quite prolific and spread, people often have bits to spare. There are many types, all looking the similar until you study the flowers!

Lorelei76 Thu 11-Aug-16 19:24:16

JT, sorry if being really thick but I've seen them around much earlier than that - I mean in the park etc - I guess those are planted from bulbs then?

Most people in my world are flat dwellers with no gardens so that's not really an option for me.

JT05 Thu 11-Aug-16 20:16:15

Yes you are right, depending where they are planted, soil, sunny location etc. they can be through from New year onwards. The garden, DIY places tend to have them once the Christmas/ sale stuff is out of the way! Some times florists have planted up pots with them.

Lorelei76 Thu 11-Aug-16 20:23:22

thanks JT
so if I were to plant them as bulbs, would this be a good time? The conflicting advice out in the world is amazing!

Kr1stina Thu 11-Aug-16 22:49:47

I have a very windy garden and find that heuchea leaves get damaged by the wind . The smaller leaf hebes are good for winter colour - they have tough leaves like the begonias.

Also grasses as PP mentioned . I find pansies and primula ok , you can to dead head religiously and feed them as the food in the compost only lasts 6 weeks at most .

All small bulbs will be fine - snowdrops, crocus, chinodoxa, muscari, small Narcissis like Tete a Tete .

Heather will be fine .

Kr1stina Thu 11-Aug-16 23:03:44

This is Hebe Red Edge, which is green with a red edge to the leaf, more obvious on in new growth . It's very hardy and easy to get in any garden centre . You can keep it small by trimming it into a neat ball just after its flowered .

Hebe Mrs WInder has wine coloured foliage but IME the larger leaves can get wind damaged and it has a more lax habit .

If you like grey leaves, there are quite a few small shrubs that cope with wind.

BengalCatMum Thu 11-Aug-16 23:05:08

Wrote this on another thread... grew these on VERY windy balcony, c. 15th floor. Use the highest peat content you can too retain moisture (Jacks Magic is best)

Medium/ Large Pots: Euphorbia, Libertia, Hebe, Bergenia, Rosemary, Heuchera, Tiarella, Heucheralla, Epimedium, Vinca, Anemone x hydrida, Erysium, Teucrium, Francoa, Liriope,

Ornamental Grasses (so many options) - My favourites are Festuca mairei, Pennisetum, Stipa tenuissima or ichu, Luzula

Baskets/ Small pots (which wont need peat compost and wont worry if drys out as much): Sedums, Campanula, Saxifraga, Sempervivums, Thymes,

Also planting 'in the green' means planting a bulb with green growth in spring, so still a bulb but also already grown IYSWIM (like the picture below). So I would avoid snowdrops until spring when they look like the picture below.

Generally - Most of our native bulbs (winter/ spring flowering) will be great though; and most are autumn planting such as Crocus, Daffodil, Bluebell, Tulips, Allium ect.

Most 'exotic' looking plants like Lillys, Dahlias ect are spring planting for summer flowering.

BengalCatMum Thu 11-Aug-16 23:06:54

Btw all of above plants listed (not bulbs) are evergreen. Helps with soil to keep them covered with plant matter rather than deciduous which reveals soil in winter and exposes to the dreaded drying out in pots.

Kr1stina Thu 11-Aug-16 23:20:35

Great list cat mum . I've found everything on your list ok except Francoa, which gets damaged in the winter winds . It survives but looks very tatty .

I forgot Olearia Haastii

Lorelei76 Thu 11-Aug-16 23:24:39

Bengal and Kr1stna, thanks so much, I will have a lovely time researching all your suggestions...

And then a lovely time planting the ones I choose, perhaps it's just as well I'm limited with space as I would otherwise be tempted to spend money I don't have!

Thanks everyone.

BengalCatMum Thu 11-Aug-16 23:50:47

Thanks Kr1stina, I take that as a huge compliment as I am following your advice on the giant gorgeous garden thread with GinOnIt, and you clearly know your stuff grin

Lorelei76 Sun 14-Aug-16 18:50:45

right, I have done some research

I am loving the blue grass in particular....I would like to pop in into a trough and maybe - if sensible? - have something in with it so perhaps 2 of each. Does anyone know what will grow nicely with it?

Will this Hebe look bonkers with it, how will root spread go etc? I will buy them as 9cm plants

such fun grin

my friend told me about Japanese blood grass which also seems an option to mix up with the blue for a bit of interest.

BengalCatMum Sun 14-Aug-16 19:28:51

Blue grass and Campanula portenschlagiana might look nice together.

The blue red is an interesting combo but I think you could make it work with that particular shade of Hebe.

The red on blood grass though might be a step to far with the blue; but you might be the next garden Van Gogh and I am being a colour prude grin
I also think blood grass would be quite tall in comparison to the blue grass and its upright habit is a bit too different to the habit of the blue grass for them to go together.

Definitely don't spend £7 on a 9cm though. Usually they sell them for £5-£10 for a 1.5L - 2L so it does sound expensive.

You will need to plant in 9cms for a trough and will have to keep on top of watering all the time as troughs don't leave much room for drying out.

Lorelei76 Sun 14-Aug-16 19:35:56

Thanks Bengal I am not that drawn to the blood grass either so good to know that the "habit" is too different.

I will shop around but I'm pretty much limited to online. The only garden centres I can get to are Homebase and 2 very posh ones which have - based on previous experience - been more expensive than online. I've already found bigger plants for £9 but I quite like the whole "growing them from little" stage!

Lorelei76 Sun 14-Aug-16 19:38:10

PS any other suggestions for what to put in the same trough would be most welcome smile

JT05 Sun 14-Aug-16 20:11:39

Blue grass and plants with red flowers look lovely. Perhaps red carnations or geum.
Homebase is beginning to sell off the summer plants now.

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