Native Plants and Balconies

This was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

Planning a garden on a balcony is often a challenging prospect, but using native plants can both help, and cause further frustration. Balconies are a very different environment from the places native plants usually grow. In addition to the usual challenges of balcony gardens such as using containers, reflected heat and sun exposure, the weather in cities where most balconies are located is also different. The humidity is often lower in the city, precipitation is higher due to a lack of tree canopy and there’s more runoff. Temperatures in the city are also higher due to the urban heat island effect and in addition, the sun often reflects off the buildings and projects more heat onto balconies. Air quality is another factor to consider as well as the wind, which is often a…

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Summer Wildlife on the Balcony Habitat

This past summer produced a large number of wildlife species on my city balcony. I’ve briefly written about my balcony in the past, but this year I had more plants, the older ones were more established and I surveyed the wildlife with a new hand lens. You can read some of my past balcony posts including Native Plants and Balconies at the Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens blog as well as my documentation of the entire lifecycle of a lady beetle, The Life of the Lady Beetle, the beetle swarms that occurred last fall, Lady Beetle Swarms and finally about my visiting hummingbird, Urban Hummingbird.

My balcony is in Seattle on the 6th floor on the top of a hill facing southwest. The building is a light color which seems to attract insects, as I mentioned in the Lady Beetle Swarms post. This year,…

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