For those who love gardening but don’t have enough outdoor space to cultivate their plants, a balcony herb garden is a perfect place to start. Plus, there’s something incredibly satisfying about adding the finishing touches to your meal with homegrown herbs.
Not only this but having your very own balcony herb garden can save you from popping back to the shops for fresh herbs. Whether you are an avid home cook or green thumb enthusiast, we’ve created a comprehensive guide on how to start a herb garden on your balcony.
What is a balcony herb garden?
Balcony herb gardens are one of many gardening options that come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Essentially, it involves using the limited outdoor space you may have to plant an assortment of herbs. This practise is especially common in cities where gardens are sparse and living spaces have limited outdoor areas.
How should you pot the herbs?
Starting a herb garden on a balcony is easier than you would think. Herbs are actually easy to grow. Depending on the size of your outdoor space, you may opt for different planter models.
Ideally, you can use a herb and salad cloche to grow your plants all year round despite rough and cold weather conditions. Having a glass cover or glass cloche over your herbs can provide frost protection during winter months and help smaller seedlings develop strong root systems.
Before you can start enjoying your apartment balcony herb garden, you’ll need to learn how to plant your herbs properly:
- Group the plants that need the same requirements to grow, more specifically, those that share soil, water, and light conditions.
- Fill your potting area with potting soil or a soilless mix.
- Create a sizeable hole and gently slot your herb out of the nursery pot into the desired planting area.
- Make sure to loosen the roots gently and water the soil thoroughly.
What are the best herbs to grow on a balcony?
Balcony garden herbs come in a wide range of colours, sizes, and flavours. Although small balcony herb garden ideas tend to come down to personal preference, some of the most popular choices of herbs to plant include:
How and when to plant herbs
If you’re wondering how to grow a herb garden on your balcony, all you will need is a few plants, potting soil, and some containers to plant them in.
Some additional items to compliment your balcony herb garden include a trowel to help move the soil, a watering can, and some fertiliser. However, these aren’t essential to fulfil your herb garden on balcony ideas, they’re just optional.
Once herbs are established, they can practically grow all year round, so if you’re simply re-potting your plants, you can get started at any time of the year.
However, the best time to plant your seedlings is in the early spring. This way you can make the most of excellent soil temperatures and mild weather to facilitate a strong and healthy growth.
Sunlight is one of the most essential factors to consider when starting a balcony herb garden.
Although herb plants can grow substantially in partial shade, they thrive the most in direct sunlight. Balconies or patios facing south, south-east, or south-west make perfect environments for plants to grow.
Just as important as your positioning is the amount of water you give to your herbs.
Once a week should suffice; just ensure your pots have plenty of space for drainage and avoid over-watering your soil. During more extreme weather conditions, such as heat waves or droughts, you may want to water your plants twice a week.
Please see our garden watering guide for more information.
Trimming or pruning your herbs allows them to grow bushier and fresher by avoiding any excess flowering or seeding.
If you plan to use your herbs in the kitchen, you’ll be trimming them automatically when you remove the leaves to utilise them. In order to reduce plant damage, you should use sharp and clean scissors to cut your herbs.
Growing a herb garden on a balcony is relatively manageable, as they don’t require any fertilisation.
However, if you want to give your herbs an extra boost, you can fertilise them once or twice a year. Just make sure you avoid fertilising your herbs during winter unless you live in a warm climate. For optimal results, try diluting a 10-10-10 or 5-10-5 balanced liquid fertiliser with water.
Tips for a herb garden on a small balcony
In order to help your herbs grow as large and luscious as possible, here are a few tips to guide you along the way.
Don’t plant herbs too close together
You may feel tempted to make the most of your small space and buy all the herbs on offer at your local plant shop. Nevertheless, it’s important to give each herb as much space to grow as possible.
If not, your plants will need to compete with each other for nutrients in the soil. We recommend that you leave several inches around the roots of your herbs.
Water in the cooler hours of the morning
You can water your plants at any time of day. However, the best time to do so is in the early hours of the morning, when the temperatures are cooler.
Ideally, you should be watering your plants between six and ten in the morning. When temperatures are lower, there’s less evaporation which helps foster deep root soaking.
Keep your soil healthy
Many gardeners tend to neglect the healthiness of their soil and solely focus on watering and sunlight exposure.
However, it’s vital that you foster an environment that is dense with nutrients so your herbs can grow to their fullest potential. You can do this by adding a water-soluble fertiliser to the soil or, adversely, using organic substitutes, such as coffee grounds or seaweed.
Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy the entire process – from start to finish.
Gardening can help de-stress and improve your mood. Not to mention, having your very own balcony herb garden can help elevate even the most simple culinary dish. Growing your own ingredients is extremely fulfilling, so if you’re looking for a new gardening project, this is a fun way to get started.
If you would like any further advice on how to start a herb garden on your balcony, please don’t hesitate to contact us.