NEW FEATURE!

Apartment Gardening

Dwarf trees, like this miniature juniper, make gardening in containers more versatile and exciting than ever.

Dwarf trees, like this miniature juniper, make gardening in containers more versatile and exciting than ever.

BY Rob Zimmer

Gardening in small spaces, or apartments and patios with no yard space at all, is a challenge for many in our area. Often, I am asked about options for gardening in an apartment or small patio space.

Thankfully, there are a number of great opportunities for gardening, indoors and out, in apartments, as well as condos, on patios and porches.
With a little creativity and an open mind, you can create a lush, full garden featuring all of your favorites just about anywhere.

Combine flowering plants and foliage for long-lasting porch and patio plantings.Plant marketers and growers have focused in recent years on creating dwarf varieties of most garden favorites, including edibles and ornamentals. These dwarf varieties are perfect for containers, hanging baskets and tiny spaces that may be no more than a few feet in diameter.

A great selection of these can be found at just about any garden center locally.

Even trees are not off limits, as a variety of dwarf trees have been developed for small space gardening. This includes fruiting trees as well as ornamentals, flowering shrubs and conifers.

Edibles in containers
One of the biggest trends in gardening over the past few growing seasons has been producing edibles in containers.

Combine flowering plants and foliage for long-lasting porch and patio plantings.

Combine flowering plants and foliage for long-lasting porch and patio plantings.

For many edibles, at least some sun is preferred, especially when growing fruits, berries and some vegetables.

Plants such as tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, eggplant and others prefer substantial sun, at least 8 hours a day.

A number of other edible plants and crops grow quite well in full to part shade. Plants such as lettuces and other greens, kale, many herbs, root crops such as carrots and radishes, as well as others do perfectly fine in a low sun situation.

Many edibles are now available in dwarf or container-sized varieties. This is true of blueberries, blackberries, currants, strawberries, tomatoes, eggplant, as well as many traditional herbs such as lavender, basil and more.

This makes it possible for gardeners to grow a large variety of crop plants right at home even with no formal garden space.

Even with no yard space, you can create a beautiful green space on a porch, patio or balcony.

Even with no yard space, you can create a beautiful green space on a porch, patio or balcony.

Small space beauty
For ornamental purposes, growing your own garden at home in a small space, porch or patio has never been simpler.

Use a variety of vertical gardening techniques, including climbers, hanging baskets, containers and more to grow a large number of plants in just a small space.

Create stunning containers by combining a variety of plants, textures, colors and bloom times for long-lasting beauty and interest.

To create spectacular containers for porches, patios or hanging baskets, use a variety of plants, depending on light conditions.

A large number of perennials are now available in dwarf form. This includes miniature hostas, miniature coral bells, dwarf lilies, dwarf day lilies, and a number of other perennials that feature short-statured forms.

Chances are, whatever your favorite flower, it is now available in a smaller, compact form that would work perfectly in a small space garden or container.

Create a stunning container garden even on a shady porch or patio with dramatic foliage plants like this Rex begonia.

Create a stunning container garden even on a shady porch or patio with dramatic foliage plants like this Rex begonia.

Things with wings
Even gardeners with just a tiny porch, patio or window sill can create a paradise for hummingbirds and butterflies.

Create a hummingbird or butterfly garden in a pot by combining favorite flower sources for these species. Annuals such as salvia, petunia, lobelia, lantana, verbena, fuchsia and others work excellent.

Perennial favorites of butterflies and hummingbirds include bee balm, cardinal flower, lobelia, purple cone flower, black-eyed Susan, daisies, as well as many herbs.

I will have more great ideas for apartment gardening, indoors and out, next month.

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