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Tracey Cole

Tracey Cole

Drought Tolerant Plants and Grow your own Edible Garden on your Balcony

Grow drought tolerant plants this Summer

Yes, it is possible to have a flourishing, water-wise garden in Summer! The trick is to choose the right plants and to follow water-wise gardening methods. Indigenous plants that occur naturally in your area are an obvious choice, with lots of mulch to help retain water. All plants need some water to help them get established, but once they are settled an occasional sprinkle of water will keep them happy. Plants with fleshy leaves that can store water or have a very thick leaf surface which can minimise the loss of water are best suited to drought conditions as are silver-leaved and narrow- leaved plants. Planting groups of plants together will also help retain moisture.

Arterial cordifolia is a lovely succulent ground cover plant that will flourish in even the driest patches of soil. Dietes grandiflora has pretty white flowers, Dietes bicolour has yellow. The leaves on both are grass-like and it can be mass-planted. Tulbaghia violacea (wild garlic), is one of the hardiest plants to grow. It has pink/mauve flowers and is a totally fuss-free plant. Agapanthus is one of the most popular plants in South Africa. The amazing blue or white blooms are stunning and its evergreen foliage provides colour all year. Aloes are wonderfully drought-tolerant. They are hardy and beautiful, with a large choice of varieties you can use in your garden.

Strelitzia reginae (Crane flower) is also very hardy and can withstand long, dry spells once they are established. Cape honeysuckle, Clivia, lavender, Plumbago, Rosemary, Star jasmine, Salvias, Perlagoliums, Achillea, Bromliads, Gaura and Verbascums also do well and can cope with drought. So, with a little forward planning and a careful selection of plants you can still enjoy a beautiful, colourful garden!

Grow your own edible garden on your balcony!

If you have a balcony you can have a vegetable garden! The space doesn’t have to be big and as weight is an issue on balconies always check how much weight your balcony can hold. It’s best to use lightweight plastic pots, the larger the plant, the bigger the pot! Make holes in the bottom of pots, or a layer of gravel. Use good container potting compost, which is light and holds more water.
Most vegetables need at least 5/6 hours of sun a day and windy spots may need some shelter. In summer, west facing balconies need some shade, east and north facing balconies are best for growing veggies.

Train climbing plants up trellis, such as beans or cucumber, Tumbling Tom tomatoes and strawberries in hanging baskets. Grow sweet peppers, capsicum jalapeño, egg plant (patio baby), radishes, spinach, Asian greens, baby pak choi, mixed salad and garlic in containers. Herbs to grow include thyme, parsley, mint, chives, chervil, Rosemary, and basil. You can even plant a tree! A lemon tree, dwarf magnolia or Japanese maple. All thrive in balcony size containers. Remember to leave a spot to sit, relax and enjoy a sundowner in your garden in the sky!
Village gardens logo and pic

We at village gardens have a knowledge of all of your local edible plants here in South Africa. We can happily plant up your garden with edibles of all varieties from Mediterranean herbs and local indigenous edibles. We are surrounded by such stunning hardy indigenous plants, let’s get back to nature and have our own garden of local goodness.

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