9 Colorful Plants That Will Thrive on Your Balcony

Black and pink fuchsia
Photo: Robert Cardillo

Whether you have a large, sun-drenched rooftop terrace atop a high-rise, or a small, shady apartment balcony, it's easy to make the space more inviting with a few plants. These selections adapt well to life in a container, plus they will hold up in the increased heat and wind of their elevated location.

01 of 09

Best Balcony Plant for Creating Privacy: Golden Bamboo

Golden Bamboo
Erica George

For anyone who feels a little too close to their neighbors, add a few golden bamboo plants to your space. (You might not even need a fence once they're full-grown.) These perennial plants can spread if not contained, so keep yours in a wooden or terra cotta planter that's at least 24 inches deep and wide. Because golden bamboo is invasive in some areas of the country, specifically, those in warmer regions, it's best not to plant it in the ground.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: 8 to 20 feet tall

Zones: 6-10

Buy It: Golden Bamboo Rhizome Shoot ($45, Etsy)

02 of 09

Best Drought-Tolerant Balcony Plant: Succulents

hens-and-chicks potted succulents
Marty Baldwin

Succulents make easy-to-care-for houseplants, but they also can be excellent balcony plants, especially if you live in warmer climates. Two groups in particular that thrive in outdoor containers are sedums and sempervivums, also known as hens and chicks. Over-watering succulents can cause them rot, so make sure to water about once per month or when the soil is dry. In the winter, or whenever temperatures get to the freezing point, simply take your containers indoors if you'd like to help your succulents survive from season to season.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained-soil

Size: Under 6 inches tall, 6 to 12 inches tall, and 1 to 3 feet tall

Zones: 3-10

Buy It: 10 Sedum Cutting Mix ($10, Etsy)

03 of 09

Best Balcony Plant to Attract Hummingbirds: Fuchsia

Black and pink fuchsia
Robert Cardillo

This show-stopper is a hummingbird magnet. There are a handful of different varieties of fuchsia, most of which bloom in gorgeous shades of pinks and purples. Make sure to choose a heat-tolerant variety because many fuchsias will stop producing flowers when it's too hot. These semi-trailers work well in a hanging basket and do best with consistently moist soil.

Growing Conditions: Full to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: 1 to 3 feet tall

Zones: 8-10

Buy It: Red Fuchsia ($15, Walmart)

04 of 09

Best Balcony Herb: Lavender

lavender plants growing in containers
Laurie Black

Several herbs do well on balconies, including lavender, thyme, and basil. Of these, lavender easily has the showiest flowers. This aromatic plant comes in hundreds of varieties that bloom in various gorgeous shades of purple or white so you can add color as well as a pleasant aroma to your balcony garden. Lavender is drought, heat, and wind-tolerant, too. Plus, you can harvest the flowers and leaves for flavoring food and using in craft projects.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: 1 to 3 feet tall

Zones: 5-10

Buy It: Outdoor Live Plant Lavender ($15, Walmart)

05 of 09

Best Balcony Plant for Fragrance: Gardenia

gardenia flowers
hachiware/Getty Images

Few flowers can compare to gardenias when it comes to fragrance. These evergreen plants product pure white blooms that have a strong, sweet scent that can be detected from a distance on a breezy day. However, gardenias need lots of humidity and well-drained soil to look their best. These plants can be short-lived because they tend to attract insect pests and are prone to root rot. But even if your gardenia is only around a little while, it's well worth it for that amazing fragrance.

Growing Conditions: Full to part shade in well-drained soil

Size: 3 to 8 feet tall

Zone: 8-10

Buy It: White Gardenia Flowering Shrub ($20, Lowe's)

06 of 09

Best Trailing Balcony Plant: Verbena

Verbena Lascar Lavender Star
Justin Hancock

Another eye-catching option for balcony gardens is verbena. This drought-tolerant flowering plant works well in window boxes or railing planters, where it can flow over the sides. There are many different varieties of verbena in colors like white, pink, red, blue, purple, and bicolors. Verbena is fairly easy to grow, though it can have trouble with mildew, which looks like a white powdery coating on the plant's leaves. To minimize this disease, place the plant where it will get good air flow over it and avoid getting the foliage wet when watering.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: 6 to 12 inches tall and 1 to 3 feet tall

Zones: 8-9

Buy It: Grande Superbena Stormburst (Verbena) ($37, The Home Depot)

07 of 09

Best Flowering Balcony Plant for Full Sun: Geranium

pink Geraniums
Andrew Drake

Geraniums have been popular for decades and pair well with just about any other container plants. Also called zonal geraniums, these drought-tolerant plants come in lots of vibrant colors, including pink, red, orange, and purple. Depending on the variety, geraniums can be low-maintenance (regal types can be a bit fussy). Whatever geranium you decide on, don't forget to deadhead the plant consistently to keep the blooms coming all season long.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: 6 to 12 inches tall and 1 to 3 feet tall

Zones: 10-11

Buy It: Grande Boldly Dark Red Geranium ($37, The Home Depot)

08 of 09

Best Flowering Balcony Plant for Shade: Begonia

Rex begonia
Dean Schoeppner

Begonias come in all sorts of varieties, but among the showiest are angelwing and Rex begonias, which have colorful blooms as well as gorgeous foliage. These shade loving plants prefer higher humidity and appreciate having a consistent supply of water. The spent blooms and withered leaves are easy to snap off to keep the plants looking tidy.

Growing Conditions: Part to full shade and moist, well-drained soil.

Size: 12 to 18 inches tall

Zones: 10-11

Buy It: Rex Begonia Variety Growers Pack ($21, Etsy)

09 of 09

Best Vining Balcony Plant: Mandevilla

Mandevilla Vine On Porch
Bill Stites

The mandevilla vine is stunning and easy to care for. Usually, gardeners plant the heat-tolerant mandevilla as an annual because it dies when temperatures drop to freezing. You can overwinter the flowering vine indoors, but note that it is poisonous if it's ingested, so keep it away from pets and little ones.

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Size: 3 to 8 feet tall, 8 to 20 feet tall, and 20 feet or more tall

Zones: 10-11

Buy It: Mandevilla Tropical Plant ($13, Walmart)

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