Container gardening: the right plant for the right location and weather conditions

Learn where to put your plants so that they'll be in optimal weather conditions.

When trying to decide which plants to buy or grow for your container garden it is important to consider the weather and climate conditions on two levels. First consider the climate in your region of the world. Next, take into account the type of micro climate on your balcony, porch, terrace, and any other location you might be placing a potted plant. Then, choose the plants that are best suited for both types of climates.

Regional climate:

Your regional climate is a very important factor in determining which type of vegetation to grow on your balcony. If it freezes often, it is obviously best not to try to grow a plant that thrives in tropical climates. In such a case it is best to try your hand at growing a frost resistant plant such as the Large-Flowered Clematis. If your regional climate is typically very humid, it is best to avoid plants that are especially prone to diseases that flourish in muggy conditions such as Grey Mould and Powdery Mildew.

Micro Climate:

The regional climate refers to the general weather conditions in your area of the United States (or world), but the micro-climate refers more to the conditions in different locations around your home. For example, are you keeping plants inside near a sunny window, outside near a dark, windy corner, or on a side of the apartment that stays dry when it rains? The micro-climate is often the most important factor in your plant's health. Living in a place with a sunny regional climate does not automatically guarantee that your plant will see enough sun; you must choose a spot on your windowsill or patio that gets adequate sun as well. Generally the micro climate can be divided into three separate sections:

Full sun:

Some common plants that prefer full sun are: marigolds, daisies, a variety of succulents, citrus trees, and many types of herbs. Most plants that prefer full sun are summer flowering plants. The ideal location for these plants is a south-facing patio, balcony, or window where they will get the most exposure to the sun.

Partial shade:

Begonias are a perfect example of a plant that grows best when given a spot in partial shade. Partial shade basically means that the plant needs to receive a few hours of sun each day but will shrivel up if given too much. Placing a plant like this on an east or west side of a building is ideal.


Large ferns, ivy, and other lush plants that have large, soft, green leaves do best in the shade. A north-east or north-west facing window or balcony is best for these plants. If not placed in the sun, they will loose too much water, get scorched in the summer, and ultimately shrivel, discolor, and die.

Luckily, it is easy to tell what your plant needs. Usually, your plant's climate related needs are printed right on the back of the seed package. If you are buying already sprouted plants from a nursery, the information is usually printed on a thin plastic stake that is put in the pot with the plant. Either way, you should be able to refer to this information when trying to make a decision about where to put the plant.

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