Need Advice


Need Advice

10 Apr '07 3:13 pm
Hi All,

I've been lurking for a few weeks and it's been such a joy looking through this extensive website and reading all the forums here.

I was wondering if I could get some advice about how to best utilize the situation that I have. I live in Southern California USA in a small apartment - no ground space dirt available to me. I do have a balcony. Problem is, it gets 4 to 6 hours of direct light per day AND it gets extreemly hot out there most of the year. In the high summer, it can be 100+ for weeks and everything I have tried to grow frys real crispy no matter how much I water it.

Do you all have any recommendations for plants (flowers, foliage, vegetable) that might do well in this ecosystem? I have not tried cactus cause I figured that it just doesn't get enough direct light per day....

I guess perhaps I could try putting up a shade and then grow shade plants but it might still be just too darn hot.

Any thoughts?


head gardener
User avatar

10 Apr '07 4:56 pm
Hello Christine, and thanks for posting this question. Eek! This is a tricky situation - cos lots of plants burn if temperatures are too high, regardless of how much you water them. I'm not really sure what to suggest - maybe other friends will have some hot tips!

I can giggle and imagine fans and little cooling stations, all very technical - but there must be an easier way to organise a happy little pot garden! Hope someone can help.
Head Gardener


11 Apr '07 3:41 pm
Thanks, Moosey. I had someone tell me today that some herbs are very tolerant of difficult conditions - Rosemary in particular. I've never grown it before but love the smell. Will definitely give that a try.

Any other herbs one might recommend?



Faith S
Perpetually learning gardener
User avatar
Alabama, USA

12 Apr '07 4:50 am
Hi Christine and welcome. You do have a prickley problem. Cactus might actually do better than you think. Five to six hours of direct sun is pretty good. Another strategy you might try is to incorporate water into your scheme. Even if you just put your plants into saucers filled with pebbles and water and group them closely, the evaporating water will help to moderate the temperatures. Of course, you will have to replenish the water daily and maybe twice a day during the really hot times. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
Faith at Bide-a-Wee Farm, Alabama, USA

Come abide with me a wee while.


12 Apr '07 4:18 pm
Hi Faith,

Thanks for the welcome. All the marigolds, wild flowers, nastursiums I've tried to grow aways get very leggy and then burn - that's why I just figured it was too much heat and not enough direct light. Didn't want to just sacrifice more poor plants to my desire to have a balcony garden.

But I guess I should try some different things...will add the saucers with pebbles and see if that helps.


Happy Collector
User avatar
Lillooet, BC, Canada


12 Apr '07 5:29 pm
Hi, Christine!

I have an agave in a pot that I have to keep inside all winter due to the heavy rains here, but I put it outside in summer in the sunniest place I have, and every year, in spite of easing its way into the direct sunshine, it burns, so one of them might do really well for you. The heat shouldn't bother it and I'm sure you have enough sunshine for it. And there are many kinds of agaves with coloured leaves, etc. from which to choose.

Another plant you might want to try is a potted kumquat. My sister-in-law in Pasadena had one on her balcony and it was covered with fruit each Easter!

Good luck, and please keep us posted on what you decide to do!




13 Apr '07 11:57 am
Thanks Gordon,

Now I have quite an eclectic list to take to the nursery tomorrow :)

What fun!


valued helper
User avatar
Ontario, Canada

Tough plants for hot spots!

29 Apr '07 5:23 am
Hi, Christine. In Ontario,Canada, we get long periods of high summer temps with high humidity. I still have to water every couple of days, but generally I know what will last out the summer. I've never been to California so I don't know what to suggest except that you might go online and check out xeriscape plants or check out herbs and other plants that do well in Mediterranean countries.

I've grown herbs for years and found that most of the small-leaved and silver-gray foliaged ones last longer in near-drought conditions, where the sun beats down steadily each day. I don't have any shade in my garden so I've had to become more aware of what likes this hot spot. Best of luck with planting out on your balcony. Here's to your greener future! Jo-Anne

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