winter veggies on my sun/rain balcony??

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by the artist, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. the artist

    the artist Member

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    hi experts of pots and plants

    my question is a variation of the above:
    new from california, i need to know which plants to choose for my south side 3rd floor balcony to have a feature, flowers and pickings in the winter.

    objective:
    1. choose one large feature plant/tree/shrub (preferably with largish purple flowers ... that actually stay green (or even in bloom) in the coming winter months and beyond...
    2. choose several veggy plants that actually will grow in the winter and grow in mid-size planters, of say < 1 foot high.

    suggestions??
    thank you in advance for your help!

    astrid
     
  2. HortLine

    HortLine Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Winter shrubs and veggies on sun/rain balcony

    Re:#1. If you can provide protection from wind, you may be able to grow one of the Hebes. Hebe albicans 'Purple Queen' is evergreen with dark green leaves, bronze purple when young and in winter. It has large violet purple flowers in late summer.
    But you might have better luck with one of the winter flowering Daphnes. daphne mezereum ("February Daphne") is deciduous with purplish pink flowers produced before the leaves in late winter, followed by red fruit; Daphne odora ("Winter Daphne") is evergreen with fragrant purple pink and white flowers in midwinter to early spring, followed by red fruit. This plant would provide a glossy green backdrop to colourful annuals in summer. A tougher variety, 'Aureomarginata', has paler flowers and a variegated leaf.
    Camellia sasanqua will tolerate more sun than many camellias and has fragrant white or pink blossoms in winter, and dark glossy leaves the rest of the year.
    Any plant going out on the balcony now should be a well established specimen.
    #2: For all veggie questions the West Coast Seeds catalogue is an invaluable resource, and can be obtained free of charge on their web site (http://www.westcoastseeds.com). To overwinter vegetables you need to start your plants in the summer -- by mid August at the latest, unless you can find plants in a nursery now. In your smaller containers you could try a musclun mix -- West Coast Seeds has a mild mix and a provencal mix. There are several Italian chicories that are winter hardy --Radicchio, Italian Dandelion, and Red Dandelion. These can be grown as a "cut and come again" crop. In a larger container you might want to try Broccoli 'Munchkin' or Carrot 'Thumbelina' -- both compact plants suitable for containers. In a large container Swiss Chard 'Bright Lights' would be ornamental as well as delicious.
    To have success with any of these plants, you will need to provide protection from cold winds and excessive rain.
    Best of luck!!
     

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