Whether you’ve filled your balcony with beautiful, bee-friendly flowers or you’re using it to grow your own produce, one thing that you may be struggling with is how to keep all of your plants watered.
This is especially true if your balcony is covered by another one, as you won’t be able to rely on rainfall as much as you would if you had a garden with no overhanging obstructions.
This isn’t the only issue you can face, though. Most balconies don’t have an outdoor faucet, which means that you’re not able to use a garden hose. Of course, you can always use a watering can.
But with this, you risk spilling water all over your floors as you travel back and forth from your sink to your balcony.
So, just how do you water plants on a balcony? Luckily, there are a few solutions. Below, I’ve put together a list of different ways you can give your balcony plants a good drink of water without creating a mess or putting too much effort into it.
You’ll also find some of my top tips when it comes to keeping balcony plants healthy, happy, and beautiful all year round.
Metal Watering Can
There’s no doubt that one of the easiest ways to water plants on a balcony is with a watering can. However, as we’ve touched on above, you do run the risk of spilling water all over your apartment floors as you move between your kitchen and balcony.
There’s an even greater risk of this if it’s made from plastic as it could get easily punctured or weaken over time.
What’s the solution? A metal watering can! These are much more durable than plastic so, not only will they last longer, they are far less likely to spring a leak. I particularly like this Copper Colored Watering Can by Homarden.
It is made from stainless steel so it won’t bend or weaken and it’s also rust-resistant, which is pretty essential when you’re dealing with metal and water.
It’s also perfectly sized for carrying between your sink and your balcony and holds 1-liter of water, so there’s less risk of spilling any water over the sides.
It comes with a super-useful spout protector too, so you don’t need to worry about water leaking out of the spout either.
Another way of watering balcony plants is from the bottom. Simply place each container on top of a plant saucer, fill the saucer with water, and allow the drainage hole in the pot to soak it all up.
This is also a really good way to water your plants if you have a balcony underneath yours, as you won’t have to worry about any water dripping through any gaps.
Different pots need different-sized saucers though, which is why I like this Pack of 15 Plant Saucers from YOUniversal. This pack includes five small 6” sauces, five medium 8” saucers, and five large 10” saucers.
They are also made from super-strong plastic, so there’s no need to worry about them breaking or bending underneath the weight of your containers.
This plastic construction also makes them really easy to clean. So, if after a while they start to look a little dirty, you can simply lift your containers off them, wipe them clean, and put them back again.
Plant saucers are also really useful for watering house plants as they’ll keep carpets and wooden floors protected from water.
And, since you’re watering from underneath the pot, you’re able to control the amount of water better with no risk of it spilling over the edges.
An irrigation system is another way of watering your balcony plants with minimal effort. They are fairly simple to set up and, once it’s in place, you’ll be able to give your plants a drink using just the touch of a button!
But how does an irrigation system work? To put it simply, one end of the system draws water in and the other end releases it.
Many irrigation systems have multiple watering tubes, which means you’re able to water lots of different containers using just one inlet tube.
This Micro Automatic Drip Irrigation Kit from Moistenland is a perfect example of this. It comes with a total of 10 drippers, each of which can be placed into a separate container.
You don’t have to worry about having an external water source either, as you can simply place the inlet tube in a bucket of water.
Even more impressively, this irrigation system can be programmed to start watering at certain times of the day.
This makes it ideal for anybody that is away from home regularly but wants to make sure that their balcony plants are well watered. It also runs off 4xAA batteries, so you don’t even need an electrical connection to keep it running.
If you’ve got quite a large balcony, watering your plants with a metal watering can become quite a labor-intensive task.
The cost of multiple plant saucers and irrigation systems could soon add up to be quite expensive as well. In this situation, a garden hose is probably the best tool to use for watering your balcony plants.
But what do you do if you haven’t got an outdoor faucet? The solution is pretty simple – buy a faucet adapter! This allows you to connect your garden hose to your kitchen or bathroom faucet and run it through your home.
I particularly like this Faucet Adapter from Waternymph as it has an innovative swivel design. This makes it perfect for awkwardly shaped faucets and you can get a better angle for your hose without sacrificing the flow of water.
It’s also multi-threaded, which means it can be paired with various faucets ranging in size. So, even if you end up having to move home, there’s a good chance you’ll still be able to use it with your new faucets.
Self-watering containers are another fantastic way of keeping your balcony plants well-watered.
Their name is fairly self-explanatory and they simply keep your plants watered by giving them access to a constant water supply whenever they need it. All you need to do is make sure the reservoir has enough water in it.
These 6” Self-Watering Containers from HBServices are an excellent choice. They have a deep reservoir that holds enough water for two weeks of watering, which also makes them a good choice if you’re going on vacation.
There’s no need to worry about your plants sitting in water constantly and suffering from root rot either, as their hollow legs allow water to be absorbed and keeps the bottom of the pot out of the reservoir.
If you’d rather not re-pot all of your plants into self-watering containers, you might find a slow-release automatic waterer a better option.
Simply attach a bottle of water to one end and place the spike into your existing containers where they will slowly drip water into the soil.
They also offer you a good amount of control over how much water your plants are getting. This is due to the fact that they are all differently sized and, the thinner the spike is, the faster they will release the water.
They’re made from porous terracotta clay as well, which absorbs some of the water and helps regulate the flow better.
Water Retention Granules
One of the best ways to keep your balcony plants well-watered is to use water retention granules. This gets mixed into the soil and they work by holding onto water and slowly releasing it when it’s needed.
They will also absorb rainwater and dew. In turn, you don’t have to worry about watering your plants as frequently.
There are other benefits to using water retention granules, too. First of all, there’s less of a chance of overwatering or underwatering your plants. They will essentially manage the moisture level of your soil.
You’ll only need to water them once the soil starts to look a little too dry.
They can also help your plants survive prolonged periods of heat and drought by giving them access to a readily available water source.
These Miracle-Gro Water Storing Crystals are among the best water retention granules available.
They can be used with both indoor and outdoor plants and, since they swell as they collect moisture, you only need to use a few teaspoons full for each container.
It’s also a good idea to think about collecting rainwater for your balcony plants. As a general rule, most plants prefer rainwater as it doesn’t contain any lime or other chemicals that are used to treat the water you get from a faucet.
It’s also much more environmentally friendly to collect rainwater. To do this, you’ll need a rain barrel and this 50-Gallon Rain Barrel from RTS is ideal.
Simply place it underneath your guttering or, if you don’t have an overhanging balcony, place it out in the open with the lid off and it will start collecting rainwater whenever it falls.
It also has a built-in faucet that you can use to fill a watering can with or attach a garden hose to.
However, one thing you do need to think about when it comes to putting a rain barrel on your balcony is weight. These things can get really heavy as they start to fill up, and your balcony will have been built with a weight limit in mind.
If you exceed this, there’s a chance you could cause structural damage to your balcony.
Hints & Tips
As you can see, there are several effective ways to keep your balcony plants well-watered. From metal watering cans to magical water-storing granules, there is an option that works for everyone.
Whichever method you feel would work best for you, there are some other things that you can do to make sure that the plants on your balcony are getting enough water and are able to survive throughout the year.
Take a look at these handy hints and tips:
Water the Soil
One easy mistake that many of us make when we’re watering plants is watering the flowers and the foliage rather than the actual soil.
When you do this, some of the water will run down into the soil but most of it will simply trickle off and hit the ground. So, whichever watering method you use, make sure that you’re actually watering the soil.
This gives the plant’s roots the best chance of absorbing the water.
Choose the Right Plants for Your Balcony
Certain plants do better in certain positions. If you’ve got a balcony that is in full sun all day long, it’s best to choose plants that are drought tolerant and that will be able to cope with the sun beaming down on them.
These types of plants are less likely to need frequent watering as they have evolved to cope with drier conditions.
However, if you put a shade-loving plant (such as fern) on a sunny balcony, you’ll find yourself watering it almost every day to keep it from dying.
With this in mind, it’s a good idea to do a little research into what plants would be best for your balcony and the light conditions it gets. Doing this will ultimately determine how regularly you need to water them.
Check Moisture Levels
Finally, it’s important to make sure that you check the soil moisture levels for each of your plants before watering. Just because the top of the soil may seem dry, it doesn’t mean water isn’t being stored underneath.
Doing this can help prevent overwatering which can create some real problems including root rot and bolting.
So, follow the simple rule of “check before you water” and, if the soil just underneath the surface is still moist, you probably don’t need to water your plants.
Watering your balcony plants doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. You don’t have to worry about annoying your downstairs neighbors with dripping water, either.
Each of the watering methods we’ve discussed above is perfect for different situations and, most importantly, they’ll help you keep your plants looking healthy and beautiful at all times.