Growing vines helps utilise and decorate small corners of your balcony. Instead of growing outward, vines grow vertically and occupy areas you otherwise wouldn't use. Vines on your balcony will create privacy and shade and can grow food for yourself or wildlife. Your only problem will be that you can't grow all the vines you want.
Vines don't have to grow up, sometimes they can grow down. Make sure the vines stay moist, which may mean watering several times a day during hot weather, and feed monthly with a liquid fertiliser. Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spp.) is an evergreen that has bold flowers each spring. Plant in full sun to partial shade and wait for soil to dry before watering. Tender perennials like golden trumpet (Allamanda cathartica), Chilean glory flower or glory vine (Eccremocarpus scaber), black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) and morning glories (Ipomoea spp.) are often grown as annuals. All will grow in full sun or partial shade except for morning glories which only grow in full sun.
Growing vines in planters with attached trellises creates a movable screen to provide privacy and shade on your balcony. For a year-round screen, choose perennial vines like Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) or crossvines (Bignonia capreolata). They grow in sun or partial shade, but hessamine flowers better in the shade while crossvine flowers better in full sun. The fiveleaf akebia (Akebia quinata) and evergreen Clematis (Clematis armandii) are both fast growing evergreens. Both grow in full sun; akebia also grows in shade.
Use vines to create a small wildlife sanctuary on your balcony by planting vines that will attract birds and butterflies. Brightly-coloured, trumpet-shaped flowers like coral bean (Erythrina herbacea), morning glory (Ipomoea spp.), honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) and trumpet creepers will attract butterflies and hummingbirds. All will grow in full sun, honeysuckle and trumpet creeper will also grow in partial shade. Non-flowering vines like Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) produce berries that most native songbirds will enjoy.
You don't need a yard to grow fresh vegetables. Select vines that bear light, thin-skinned fruit like cucumbers, tomatoes, beans and chayote. These vines are easily supported using trellises and don't need much ground space as thick-skinned, heavier fruit like watermelons and pumpkins. Select a sunny location and plant the seeds according to directions on the packet.
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- The Wildlife Porch; 11 Wildlife-Attracting Vines to Grow on Your Porch, Patio, Deck or Balcony; March 2008
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System; Vines for Alabama Landscapes; Mary Beth Musgrove, et al.
- Texas Cooperative Extension; Try Vines to Beat Summer Heat; Skip Richter
- University of Illinois Extension: Annuals for Specific Uses
- North Carolina State University; Attracting Birds: Vines; Erv Evans
- Farm Radio International; Grow Vegetable Vines in Small Spaces; April 1996