Balcony Planters

Only have a balcony as your garden space? These no-sew, easy-to-make saddlebag planters will give you lots of planting space for flowers, herbs, and edibles, and they look stylish and colorful, too.

Подпись: TIME IT RIGHT We used a selection of herbs, soft fruit, and edible flowers that can be planted in early spring and summer. Add spring bulbs for color and small evergreen shrubs for year-round interest.image195image196

tape measure

metal rivet kit for fabrics, with post long enough to penetrate several layers of the oilcloth hammer

plastic-coated images in attractive designs (we cut them from a woven carrier bag) (optional) scissors

waterproof PVA glue or superglue, jar & paintbrush (optional) hanging basket liner, cut from a roll water-retaining gel multipurpose potting mix watering can


English lavender French lavender ‘Papillon’ Nemesia denticulata ‘Confetti’ Pelargonium ‘Attar of Roses’ Pelargonium graveolens ‘Minor’ rosemary sage ‘Tricolor’ strawberry ‘Elan’

Viola ‘Blue Beacon’


Use a piece of oilcloth measuring 3ft 3Min x 4ft (100 x 120cm) and fold in half neatly along the shorter edge with the pattern on the outside.


Fold in one of the short ends by 3Ain (2 cm) and repeat twice more to create a seam.


«-Project Steps



Rivet the seam in place, starting 4in (10cm) in from the edge.

To make a rivet hole in the cloth, place the plastic disc underneath and hammer the recessed end of the hole punch through the cloth.



Flip the cloth over. Fold in a long side twice, including the pocket flaps, to make a 1Min (3cm) seam. Weight the seam down to hold it as you rivet it in place.



Push the rivet post through the hole from underneath and tap the cap in place with the hammer. Add three more evenly spaced rivets to the seam, finishing 4in (10cm) in from the other side. Repeat steps 2-4 at the opposite short end.



Repeat with the other long side. Flip the cloth back over and you have made your saddlebag planters. Repeat to make as many as you need to complete the look.



Fold in the riveted ends, leaving enough material in the middle to allow for the width of your railing, so the bags can hang comfortably with the tops of the pockets just below the railing.



For extra ornamentation, you can cut out some designs from decorative reusable shopping bags to add to the saddlebags.

image204image205Подпись:Take a length of hanging basket liner and line each of the planting pockets, cutting the liner to size with scissors. It should set just below the lip of the pocket. This will help keep the potting mix moist in the pockets. To conserve moisture further, add %oz (5g) of water-retaining gel to every 1 gallon (5 liters) of potting mix.



Hang the bags in their final locations.

Remove plants from their pots, tease out any circling roots, then position them in the pockets. Fill around with potting mix and firm in. Water thoroughly.

It —u

n Care Advice

Watering Containers above ground level are more exposed and plants tend to dry out more easily, so water often in the growing season, especially if hot and sunny, and while plants are establishing.

Feeding Add diluted liquid fertilizer to the water once or twice a month in the main growing season. You can also mist plants in hot weather, but not when in direct hot sunlight because the leaves might scorch.

General care Rem

damaged, diseased, or dying foliage throughout the growing period. Some plants are not frost hardy and will die back if left outside in winter. Reduce watering in winter to minimal. Top off or change the potting mix in spring.


image210Balconies can be blooming with these easy, pretty, and practical saddlebag planters




TOOLS & equipment

pack of fabric pocket planters (our wall required 6 panels) cable ties

strong bamboo or wooden pole handsaw or lopper exterior wood paint & paintbrush strong garden wire wire cutters

strong metal hanging brackets, fixed securely to a wall

multipurpose potting mix water-retaining gel watering can


alpine strawberry

Campanula ‘Blue Planet’

garlic chives

golden French oregano

lemon thyme


sage ‘Tricolor’

sweet pepper ‘Mohawk Orange’ Viola ‘Penny Orange Jump-Up’ Viola ‘White Pink Wing’


Take two panels of fabric pocket planters and overlap them along one of their long edges.


To join them together, align the top set of metal eyes and thread the end of a cable tie through them. Tie it off at the back for a neater finish. Tie securely but not too tightly or you risk bunching up the fabric.


чЛ—Project Steps





Repeat with the middle eyes, but leave the bottom eyes free for now; you will need to overlap the second row of panels before tying off. Build up the panels until you have the planter the right size.



The soil mix in the pockets can quickly dry out, so to help conserve moisture add %oz (5g) of water-retaining gel to every 1 gallon (5 liters) of potting mix.


Cut a sturdy bamboo cane or wooden pole to size with a handsaw or lopper and paint it in a matching color using exterior wood paint. Leave to dry, then attach the pole to the top of the planting wall with cable ties threaded through the free eyes along the top row of the panels.


Loop strong garden wire several times around the pole at either side of the hanging wall, leaving long lengths of wire at each end. Tie these ends securely to sturdy brackets and hang the planting wall.


Remove each plant from its pot, gently teasing out the roots if they are circling. Insert into a pocket; you may need to reduce the root ball by removing some of the earth for it to fit. Fill around with soil mix and firm in. Water well.

): _

"*’*■ Care Advice


Watering Water often during the growing season, especially if hot and sunny and while plants are establishing. Use a watering can with a long spout to get water directly into each pouch, but do not overwater so that soil spills out. Mist for extra moisture, but not when in direct hot sunlight or the leaves might scorch.


Feeding Add diluted liquid feed to the water monthly in the growing season and also mist with the mixture, avoiding any scorching sun.


General Care Remove damaged foliage in the growing period. Some plants will need to be planted into larger containers eventually. Reduce watering in winter to minimal. Top off or change the potting mix in the spring.


Deadhead flowering plants regularly to encourage production of more flowers.



Our edible plants include fragrant herbs, alpine strawberries, and tiny viola flowers. They make a living tapestry to adorn walls and vertical spaces.




Balcony Planters


2 coir-lined hanging baskets plastic pot or bucket small bag of vermiculite or perlite wooden board or piece of stiff cardboard garden wire wire cutters

long-handled screwdriver chopstick, dibber, or pencil hairpins or florist mossing pins heavy-duty chain & swivel hook



approx. 100 cuttings or offsets from 10-15 succulent plants, choosing a mix of shape and color from the following genera:

Echeveria Graptopetalum x Graptoveria Sedum

sphagnum moss


Balcony Planters


Project Steps



Gather your materials and find a firm, level surface to work on. Remove the metal chains from the hanging baskets and set them aside since they are not required for this project. Position one of the wire baskets in a plastic pot just big enough to hold it.


Подпись: 2 If using dried sphagnum moss, soak it in water for at least an hour before using. Remove from the water and squeeze out any excess, then pack a layer of moss at least 2in (5cm) thick into the base and sides of the basket.


Fill with vermiculite (or perlite), packing it in tightly to just below the top of the moss. The vermiculite provides a lightweight filling for the ball; the plants will root into the moss as they grow.

— Project Steps

Succulents are plants that store water in their ffeshy leaues and naturally thriue in dry climates


Подпись: 4 Cover the top of the vermiculite with another thick layer of moss. Pack it in well and then set aside the first basket. Repeat the process with the second basket. Place a wooden board (or piece of stiff cardboard) over the first basket and carefully flip it Firmly tie together the baskets by cutting a length of flexible garden wire using wire cutters and threading it around the two edges. Secure with several tight knots.

upside down, then place it over the second basket and align the sides. Working quickly but carefully, pull the board out from between the two baskets.

x Graptareria Fred Ives ■ ‘


Echereria Topsy Furry


Graptopetalum FeraymynM


Echereria shariana ■ :H






Sedereria ietizia



0t у

Sedum commixtum


x Graptareria Fred Ires


Echereria ele


6 Cuttings of little plants called offsets, which grow from the main plant, are used. You need to make the stem as long as you can on the offset, then pare the end to a point. Ideally, take cuttings two days in advance to allow the cut ends to dry a little before planting—this helps with rooting. Twist together a length of garden wire around any short stems.



Sedum morarnmum


Sempenrirum Kelly Jo




Подпись: Project StepsFLANTJM6 V? S



Plant the top half of the ball first. Make planting holes by inserting the end of a long-handled screwdriver. Position the holes roughly 2in (5cm) apart. Leave the ball for 10 days in a bright location to allow the cuttings to set roots; if you try planting both sides at once, the cuttings will fall out when you turn it over.

Adding twisted wire tails to udtings with short or floppy sterns will help to anchor them. A chopstitk or dibber is perfect for teasing the stems into the planting holes. Fix any loose udtings in plate with hairpins or moss pins.



When ready to plant the second half, first immerse the whole ball in water for a minute and let it drip. Then, with the bare side facing up for planting, attach a heavy-duty metal chain at the top center of the basket. Fix a swivel hook to the other end of the chain so the ball can rotate. Hang in a secure place and finish planting.


image240"image241image242image243image244Care Advice

‘Where to site Succulents don’t like a lot of humidity. They are happy outside in the summer if sheltered from rain, but they can’t withstand freezing and prolonged wet conditions. Ideally, keep your succulent ball in a frost-free location inside from mid-fall to early spring, although they can tolerate cooler temperatures in a sheltered porch as long as it doesn’t freeze. Do not water the ball during this dormant period since it could encourage the plants to rot.

Watering g ive the ball a thorough soaking in the growing season by immersing in a bucket of water for no longer than 20 minutes, then allow to drain before rehanging. Start with one immersion in late March/early April, then repeat monthly until the end of May and every two weeks in summer. Take care not to overwater. Immerse monthly beginning in September, but not from November to March since the plants are then dormant.

Feeding Apply a diluted feed to the plants by adding liquid fertilizer (such as kelp extract) to the water when you immerse the ball. Measure how much water your bucket will hold and check the manufacturer’s instructions on the liquid fertilizer label to ensure the correct dilution. Only feed during spring and summer and at the same time as watering. Do not feed in fall and winter.

General Care Trim or prune plants to keep the ball neat and maintain its shape. Plants may need pruning as they start to produce offsets and outgrow their location. Snip off any excess plant material and use as cuttings, potting them into free-draining gritty mix after allowing two days for them to dry out. Trim any spent flowering stalks back to the plant base and remove any dead material before winter since this could attract disease if left.



TOOLS & equipment

old metal tray

pond liner or similar & scissors strong outdoor adhesive & paintbrush vintage teacups, teapot, and creamer masking tape

electric drill & ceramic drill bit gravel & small scoop or spoon soil-based potting mix horticultural grit slow-release fertilizer granules strong galvanized chain wire cutters

3 small galvanized metal hooks large galvanized metal ring strong metal hanging bracket, fixed securely to a wall vintage cutlery (optional) silver florist wire or similar (optional)


Armeria juniperifolia ‘Bevan’s Variety’

carpet moss

Erigeron karvinskianus Pratia peduncularis Rhodohypoxis deflexa

Sisyrinchium californicum ‘Brachypus’


Cut a piece of pond liner (or you could use a heavy-duty garbage bag) to fit inside the base of the tray. Glue it into place with outdoor adhesive.


Take your cups, teapot, and creamer and make a cross with two pieces of masking tape over the center area where you intend to drill a hole; this helps prevent the drill from slipping and creates a clean cut. Drill drainage holes in the base of the items using an electric drill with a ceramic tile drill bit.



Select alpine plants tofit in the tea set. Look for different heights, leaf shapes, and flowers.



Project Steps



image255 Create an attractive arrangement with your tea set on the lined tray and then glue the saucers in place and remove the cups, teapot, and creamer for planting.


image256 Alpines need good drainage, so to plant, first fill the base of each piece with a layer of gravel. Next, make a soil medium suitable for alpine plants by blending soil-based potting mix with horticultural grit at a ratio of 3:1. At the same time, mix in a small amount of slow-release fertilizer.


Add potting mix to your pieces until the plant sits at the right height, and fill around it with more mix, finishing with a layer of gravel. Water in using a fine nozzle.

image257"Project Steps

Care Advice


‘Where to site Alpines prefer a sunny site that is not too shady and, ideally for this arrangement, one that has shelter from strong winds. In winter and freezing weather, bring your teatime planter indoors, but keep it in a cool, light place.


Watering and feeding

Alpines thrive in dry conditions in the natural world so don’t overwater—just when needed from mid-spring to early fall, with occasional watering at other times. Do not let plants sit in water for long periods of time or this could lead to rot. Alpines do not need a lot of fertilizer so it is best to give a weak diluted liquid fertilizer during the growing season. Do not feed when the plants are dormant.


7 Place the planted cups on saucers and the other items on the tray and glue in place; just dab glue on one or two spots on the bottom of the cups to leave space for water to drain into the saucers. Fill around each piece with moss.


General care Trim or prune

plants with small scissors or pruners to remove spent flower stalks and dead material. Plants will eventually outgrow their teacups so plant them into larger containers or borders elsewhere in the garden.




8 To hang, cut three lengths of chain to the desired hanging height using wire cutters. Attach to hooks and then to the edge of the tray. Gather the chains and fix the free ends to a ring. Hang from a strong bracket. If you like, decorate the chains by attaching vintage pieces of cutlery with fine silver wire.



Succulents, such as the sempervivums shown top left and bottom right, also look pretty in teacups and require similar growing conditions and care.





Updated: October 4, 2015 — 11:27 pm