Good Questions: Plants for Balcony?

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An e-mail from Ellen:

Hello AT, Sooo, I got a new condo with a nice big balcony. I thought: plants! But the selection at Home Depot is despairingly overwhelming and I am racked with indecision. What kinds of plants/flowers arrangements work well on SoCal balconies? California wildflowers? Creepy viney things? Herbs? What about pot selection (hanging, round, rectangular)? Please give advice. Thank you!

(NOTE: This is NOT Ellen's balcony, but I'm sure there are plenty of AT:LA readers that have experience in this- Chime in guys!)

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Plants are a wonderful way to add character, a little bit of nature, and softness to any outdoor space. We think the first thing you should consider is if you get a lot of sun or shade on your balcony. Succulents are always a nice easy to care for option, and gerraniums seem to do well in our So Cal climate as well. Herbs can be wonderful and are great in containers, but they do need attention. As for type of containers, we think it all depends on what type of style you are going after. French provincial garden vibe? Urban modern oasis? Do you like the look of many little pots grouped together, or perhaps a few raised ones in square modular pots maybe more to your taste? There are a lot of choices available. If you hurry, Ikea might still have some cool and more contemporary containers left over from the spring/summer sale. Here is nice site with some tips on conatiner gardens. What does everyone else think?

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