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Many of us grow indoor flowers in our apartments. And many have balconies, although the greatest luxury for a grower is a sunny loggia that can be turned into a blooming garden. But balcony floriculture is somewhat different from ordinary indoor growing and flower care.
First of all, on the balcony and behind the balcony, you can grow ordinary garden flowers, annuals and perennials. The range of balcony colors depends on the illumination on it (south side or, for example, east side) and on the design of the balcony (closed, open). There are a number of summer plants growing on the balcony of almost any orientation, even on the shady side, only the flowering will not be too abundant. But we'll talk about garden plants on the balcony in another article.
Features of growing indoor flowers on the balcony
Almost all indoor flowers can be exhibited outdoors in the spring and summer, but you should always remember the specific temperature requirements of plants. Daily temperature fluctuations, even 15-20 ° C, are not terrible for many tropical flowers, if the plant gets used to them gradually. But the lower boundaries of the temperature corridor, for most of them, are + 10-12 ° C, therefore, indoor flowers can be taken out on an open balcony only when the weather is warm in summer, from about May 20. It is better to bring them into the apartment before June at night, because weather forecasts are not always accurate, and spring winds are always cold.
If the balcony or loggia is glazed, then indoor flowers can be displayed much earlier - at the end of April - beginning of March (in central Russia), but still be guided by the readings of the thermometer installed on the balcony. The simplest options for balcony glazing (wooden frames, without insulation) allow you to maintain a temperature 4-5 ° C higher than outside, and protect plants from wind and rain.
But we must remember that lowering the temperature is especially dangerous for watered plants, in which the root system is in a damp state. At the same time, the temperature in the pot is 2-3 ° C lower than the ambient air, so be sure to make a discount on this if in doubt whether to bring flowers into the apartment for the night or not.
At the other extreme: a critical rise in temperatures on sunny days on a closed balcony. Sometimes in spring, on warm days, the outside temperature rises to 20-26 ° C, but on a sunny balcony with the windows and doors to the room closed, it can rise to 40 ° C and higher. This temperature is already too high for all leafy indoor flowers (meaning all but many cacti and some succulents). And if the plants were not watered on the closed balcony-greenhouse, then by the evening many of them will inevitably die.
Here are Hindi's notes on the reactions of various indoor plants on a summer balcony:
"Poplar fluff, heat, June …
Hibiscus not only survive for me, but bloom at a temperature of + 50 ° C and a humidity of 20%, when the motor units of air conditioners work on the loggia. At this temperature and humidity, abundant watering is required for hibiscus, primarily those in small pots. In this situation, the recommendation to carry out the next watering does not apply, only after the top layer of the soil dries out.
Bougainvillea can withstand this temperature - for her this is her native temperature, she holds up well without abundant watering.
Dracaena keeps, but leaves darken from exposure to high temperatures.
Ivy can hardly stand if young shoots begin to wither more than + 40 ° C.
Indoor rose and fuchsia do not hold more than + 35 ° С, they begin to fade, but they leave very quickly if you remove them from the heat."
If the temperature rises so high on the balcony, special attention is paid to flower pots. Pots made of dark (brown and black) plastic are strictly unacceptable - it heats up a lot, causing overheating and drying out of the root system - which is almost certain death for flowers. Medium to large volume white glossy heavy ceramics are best suited. Although pots in pure white are difficult to find, in this case you need pots of the lightest possible shades. In the most extreme case, if it is not possible to transplant the plants (for example, if it is in a large wooden tub or bucket), then you can wrap the pot with foil or foil isolon (sold in hardware stores).
If you have a south-facing glazed balcony and a rich assortment of indoor plants, do not stint and install an air conditioner - this is the only way to regulate the microclimate, not only for plants, but also for your own pleasure. After all, no fan or a humidifier will save you from the heat. But you can slightly reduce the temperature on the balcony on sunny days using shading. For this, use curtains made of veils, blinds, as a last resort, on especially hot days, you can fix a sun reflector for a car (made of the same foil isolon) on the glass.
Watering balcony flowers also has its own characteristics. They are connected with the fact that in addition to the temperature, the air humidity on the balcony is very different from that in the apartment. So, in rainy weather, the air humidity outside is 90-100%, on the glazed balcony about 60-70%, and in the apartment 40-50% (checked with a hygrometer). Accordingly, the soil in pots of flowers in the apartment will dry out much faster. If in an apartment you water the flowers in this weather every 3-4 days, then on the balcony once a week - one and a half (approximately, because it also depends on the volume of the pot, the structure of the earth and temperature). If you have flowers displayed on an unglazed balcony, then the most unpleasant thing for them can be a cold snap at night after heavy rain or watering - waterlogged roots in a cold pot quickly rot.
Another feature of keeping plants on the balcony is that, like plants placed in the garden, balcony flowers (especially on an unglazed balcony) have a higher risk of being attacked by pests and pathogens than indoor flowers if the balcony is located below 3- 4 floors. If you walk down the street in summer and take a good look at the shrubs and trees growing in the yard, you can find a lot of diseases and pests. Whitefly and powdery mildew are very common. Whitefly is dangerous because adults fly and reproduce very easily. True, it is not as difficult to fight it as with a tick. But powdery mildew, the causative agent of which is a pathogenic fungus of the genus Oidium, Sphaerotheca, etc. leads to serious losses, and is treated only with the use of fungicides.
Measures for the prevention of pests and diseases are rather ambiguous, they practically do not exist. The fact is that the conditions under which fungal and bacterial infections multiply are high air humidity, rainy weather. But if the plants are not sprayed and the humidity is not increased in any way, in warm conditions spider mites very easily attack. Sometimes pests and signs of diseases are found on plants. Garden pests: whiteflies, thrips, caterpillars, etc. sucking-gnawing, are treated for 1-2 watering with systemic insecticides (aktara). But it is more difficult to deal with a tick. If you have rose bushes or rose hips growing under your windows, yes, in general, any flowers, it is better to carry out preventive spraying with acaricide.
On this occasion, there is a humorous piece of advice for dealing with a tick: You need to get a small rose. In a week, all yours, and the neighbors' mites from all plants, will crawl onto this rose, and then you can simply throw it out the window. And it would be funny if it weren't so sad …