If you live in an apartment, you would know getting some privacy can get a little bit tricky when residents are compacted into a small building. Perhaps, winding down at the balcony can feel too close to your neighbors, or you get a sense that someone is watching you. If this sounds all too familiar, then I’ve got a solution for you – privacy plants as green screens!
Privacy plants for the apartment balcony will protect you from neighboring eyes and onlookers from the public. Plants that are ideal for the apartment balcony are ones that are adaptable to your balcony’s weather conditions. They also need to be well-fitted into your balcony’s layout, such as space and type of railings.
These plants for the apartment balcony provide excellent privacy screens:
2. Broadleaf Lady Palms
3. Lilly Pilllies
4. Goldstripe bamboos
5. English Ivies
6. Star Jasmine
Before shopping for privacy plants for your apartment balcony, there are a few things to note before heading to the local nursery: Environmental conditions and the structural features of your balcony.
Environmental Factors To Consider
Before exploring what privacy plants are best for your balcony, we need to assess the environmental conditions that it will be placed under.
The amount of sunlight your balcony gets throughout the day is crucial when choosing a plant. If your balcony is facing the north, you’ll be receiving the least amount of sunlight throughout the day compared to balconies facing in the other directions. South-facing balconies get sunlight throughout the whole day.
If you’re not sure which direction your balcony is facing, simply make an observation throughout the day. When you hang your laundry clothes out on the balcony, how quickly does it dry, and when does it get the most sun.
Taking note of the amount of sunlight is an important step before shopping for any plant.
Balconies susceptible to high winds risk getting their plants either damaged or blown away. The force and persistence of wind can damage fragile plants by tearing off their leaves, snapping stems, and breaking branches.
Also, constant winds take away moisture from foliage and increase moisture evaporation. This means soils tend to dry out quicker and require more frequent watering if your plant thrives on moist soil.
If you live in a high-rise apartment, bear in mind that winds are generally stronger the higher up. While you won’t experience much difference during the typical summer day, the wind effect can be experienced exponentially in the higher levels.
Balconies that are more prone to frequent winds should adopt hardy and wind-resistant plants.
Take note of the amount of rainfall your balcony receives. Perhaps your balcony does not receive a lot of rainfall because situated under the shelter of another residence. Or perhaps you live in a region that is mostly dry until the winter season.
If your balcony is easily exposed to rainy weather, bear in mind that you will need plants that are heavy drinkers and are not prone to root rot.
Structural Features Of Balcony To Consider
Type of railing
The type of balcony railing you have can influence the type of plants you need for privacy.
For example, a glass railing that gives full viewing exposure of your balcony will encourage you to buy bigger pots and plants that will provide you with a broader cover.
Or if you’ve got metal railings, you can take advantage of their ability to hang and purchase hanging planters.
This is fairly obvious. Your balcony floor space will limit the number and size of your privacy plants. Make a note of the available floor space where your plants can be placed. If you have any tables and chairs occupying the balcony, this will reduce space for your plants.
Now that you’ve done a bit of thinking of what’s suitable for your apartment balcony, we’re going to look at some great options to give your balcony some privacy.
Tall Plants For Balcony Privacy
If you’re looking for a tall plant that also adds a burst of colors, the Hollyhocks could be the choice that brightens your balcony. The Hollyhocks can reach heights of 9 feet (2.7 meters) tall, and with the colorful flowers that it grows, it’ll sure make your balcony stand out from the rest!
The Hollyhocks is ideal for the sunny balcony that receives full sun. This plant is a short-lived perennial, meaning that most varieties will only live for two to three years. However, these plants easily reseed themselves, allowing them to continually grow more.
2. Broadleaf Lady Palms
The Broadleaf Lady Palm looks is a multi-stemmed plant with clusters of fanned leaves. Their density creates a thick and bushy appearance, making it an excellent natural wall cover for privacy. If left unpruned, this plant will grow to more than 14 feet (4 meters) tall.
The Broadleaf Lady Palm is ideal for the balcony that does not receive too much direct sunlight. This palm enjoys the indirect sun and moist soil, so be prepared to give it water once every few days in well-draining soil. As the tree ages, the lower leaves will become discolored. You’ll need to take the time for pruning to tidy up.
3. Lilly Pilllies
This one is for my Australian readers! The Lilly Pillies have been a common choice for hedging and privacy in Australian gardens because they can grow up to 16.4 feet (five meters) tall.
The recommended Lilly Pilly variety to provide high coverage and privacy for your balcony is the Lilly Pilly Pinnacle. It grows narrow, compact, dense foliage with bright glossy green leaves. Be prepared to water these hedges regularly as they dry out very quickly in pots.
4. Goldstripe bamboos
The Goldstripe Bamboo is one of the smallest and narrowest bamboos that provides upright screening. If want a denser covering, there’s the Boniopsis Bamboo that provides thicker foliage covering to completely block your neighbor’s view! These tall bamboos not only look stunning but gives you a sense of peace and quiet.
Trailing And Cascading Plants For Balcony Privacy
5. English Ivies
The English Ivy is a common plant used to block inquisitive neighbors due to its vigorous growing habits. It’s commonly used to divide neighbors between houses and as cascading covers to form a wall for any area. Hence, there’s no reason why it cannot be used as a cover for your balcony. You just need to provide it with a trellis for the plant to climb. The English Ivy is also great for balconies with metal line rails as it can be hung to form a cascading private covering.
This Ivy grows under a wide range of lighting conditions, making it suitable for any balcony. As the plant grows vigorously, it can provide coverage quickly at a low cost.
6. Star Jasmine
The Star Jasmine is another rapidly-growing vine that spreads quickly on any supporting structure. Like the English Ivy, it does an excellent job as a covering hedge, blocking the view of others while displaying beautiful white flowers. This plant is suitable for balconies that have part shade to full sun.
Plant the Mandevilla close to railed balconies and let the vines attach themselves along the wire. This plant gives your balcony splashes of pink, white and red while acting as a privacy screen. These plants are twining vines and may splay in different directions, making it look a bit messy. This could be the plant for you if you enjoy the process of pruning and tidying.
Plants For Balcony Railings
If you’ve got metal a balcony railing that runs horizontally across, you can get railing planters that hook onto them. This is great for those who seek partial privacy covering instead of a complete wall cover.
The lavender is a great choice to grow on your balcony railing because it copes well with the sun and wind. It grows pretty quickly, and you can control its size by pruning it. Here’s a tip: Do not cut down to its leafless wood; otherwise, it will not grow new stems.
An advantage of growing lavenders on your balcony rail is that it repels moths, flies, and mosquitoes. This is ideal if your apartment is situated alongside a river where mosquitoes are in great numbers during the summer night.
Ferns are another excellent plant for balcony railings because they do better in shallow containers. Most planters designed to be hung on balcony railings are usually short in depth. Ferns have shallow roots and prefer a smaller container to better water absorption.
Marigolds are a global favorite as they blossom cheerful flowers in colors of yellow, orange, white, red, and gold. These plants will attract butterflies, bees, ladybugs, and other beneficial insects.
Marigold plants are great for the kids to interact with as seeds quickly germinate and bloom flowers in about 8 weeks. This gives kids a sense of satisfaction and surprise!
Artificial Plants For Balcony Privacy
If the thought of taking care of real plants is a headache, then artificial plants are possibly the way to go. You can get synthetic plants basically anywhere. There’s a massive variety of fake plants online, or you can browse in stores like IKEA.
Artificial plants can offer the same benefits of privacy as the real ones. Obviously, with fake plants, there’s no need to consider the weather conditions of your balcony. Whether it’s sunny, raining, hailing, the fake plants will survive all!
If you’ve got family members with plant allergies, then fake plants would be a good option as they have no smell and do not produce pollen which means that you can enjoy the balcony without the concern of a potential runny nose and itchy eyes. You also don’t need to worry about little pests, such as fungus gnats, that are only associated with problematic soils of natural plants.
Artificial plants are generally more cost-effective over the long term because they are easier to maintain. There’s no need for pruning, watering, fertilizing, and so on. You only just need to occasionally wipe off the leaves as they start to gather dust.
I would also add that fake plants are safer for the balcony as they are a lot lighter; they don’t require the weight of soil. This might be an important consideration if you live in an older apartment building with balcony damage or poor building material.
Now, I won’t make a list of recommended fake plants, as you can simply go online or the dollar store to explore your options.
Personally, I do not like using fake plants because it takes the joy out of looking after them. Most people take pleasure in watering plants and pruning them while enjoying the view from their balcony. However, if you’re simply looking for some hassle-free greenery to block the view of neighbors, then artificial plants are the ideal option for you.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to selecting privacy plants for your apartment balcony. It all comes down to personal preference and appeal. But one certain thing is that you must recognize your balcony’s sun, wind, and rainfall exposure before shopping for the right plant. This will ensure the longevity of plants, or otherwise, they will wilt and droop, thus losing the privacy green screen that you intended it for.