Best container type (material) for hot sunny balcony?

tinanApril 9, 2011

Our balcony faces SW in california and has absolutely no shade (no overhang or balconies above). Right now all I have out there is some french lavender in a terra cotta pot. I want to do a herb garden and maybe some other plants but I'm not sure what material is best for the hot sun - I know terra cotta allows some moisture to escape, which is good in most situations but in the hot sun might not be best. I like the look of galvanized metal containers but I imagine they would cook the plants? Plastic is pretty ugly but if I can find some "stone-look" plastic or fiberglass would that be better or worse than ceramic (glazed, heavy) or unglazed terra cotta?

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With the hot sun on your pots, many plants will suffer from the heat of the soil. If I could, I would make a wooden box large enough to be able to fill it with your mix, then plant your plants in their pots, and sink your pots in the wooden box of mix. This will stabilize the pots soil temperature and also help with the frequency of watering. Al

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 10:23AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I agree with Al. Some sort of double potting would be good. Maybe a wooden container filled with something airy & absorbent that you could wet a couple of times each day, so you could take advantage of the effects of evaporative cooling. Coarse bark would be good, very coarse perlite would also reflect some sun. Otherwise, shading the containers from sun will help a LOT to reduce passive solar gain, which is your real enemy in this venture. Airy soils, like the gritty mix, can also run as much as 20-30* cooler than darker, heavier soils because of their superior gas exchange & the added cooling it affords. Herbs will really LOVE it.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 10:58AM
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