A guide to balcony gardens for cannabis

Published May 30, 2022 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Anna Derzhina

It's warming up outside, which means that it's time to start gardening, but not everyone has a lawn or backyard to plant in. If you reside in an apartment building or condominium, balcony growing can be just as good. With a few helpful tips and tricks, you can turn any cement pad into a lush cannabis garden using container gardening. If you aren't sure what that is or familiar with what all the concept entails, then you'll definitely want to keep reading.

What is container gardening?

Container gardening, aka pot gardening, is a method of growing plants in containers instead of planting them in the ground. These gardens are smaller and typically much more enclosed while also portable, so they can be moved to accommodate evolving needs and situations.

Benefits of container gardening

Not everyone who does container gardening is without a plot of land to create a regular plant bed in the ground, it is simply because there are many benefits to this technique. Though it certainly costs more to start, and it can be a lot of work to maintain, the results speak for themselves.

  • Requires less space
  • Portable (which means that you can take your whole cannabis garden to a show!)
  • Full control over soil nutrients
  • Easier to separate in cases of disease or infestation
  • Moveable, making it easy to maximize exposure to natural elements like sunshine or rain
  • Faster to dry, preventing overwatering, bacteria, and mould growth.
  • Create green space where none exists

The downside

Cultivation using container gardening is a beautiful thing, but it does have some drawbacks to consider as well.

  • Cost
    These gardens can be quite expensive to start, especially when your plant of choice is cannabis because the pots will need to be rather deep to leave enough room to support root systems. Normally, all you have to pay for are a few seeds and maybe some tools or mulch, and with container gardening, you're covering the cost of the containers, as well as everything that goes into them from seed to soil.

  • Higher maintenance
    Container gardening is high maintenance because, unlike in nature, there is no free-flowing source of nutrients, nor is there extra water lying in wait to be put to use during dry spells. This means you'll need to water more frequently while also maintaining a living soil that is nutritious enough to support a cannabis plant.

Is balcony growing difficult?

Balcony growing in containers is difficult to some extent as it takes a keen eye, the right tools, and a constant supply of love and care to maintain them, but once you get the hang of it, the difference will soon become second nature, because it's not that much more complicated than growing anywhere else.


Steps to balcony growing

  1. Make sure your balcony is suitable for a container garden. To do this, you'll want to take a peek at this short checklist:
  • Does it get at least 6 hours of sunlight each day?
  • Is it clear of wildlife or other infestations that might cause damage?

If you answered no to either question, then you'll have to make some adjustments to fix these issues before proceeding.

  1. Balcony gardens are always an investment, and to start, you'll need to purchase or make the following materials:
  • Containers (Minimum of 12-inch depth and preferably 3 gallons or larger)
  • Soil (This should be a nutritious combination of healthy,
  • sterile earth, compost, and natural fertilizers such as manure)
  • Cannabis seeds (balcony gardens should typically be filled with cultivars that grow appropriately for the space, so it's a good idea to choose those that are shorter and bushier in stature.
  1. It's time to get started! Fill each of the pots with soil, and plant your cannabis seeds, seedlings, or clones in the containers.

  2. Arrange the balcony garden in the best way by moving the pots to areas where they will get the most sunlight while taking advantage of protections nearby such as walls which might provide much-needed relief from high winds or heavy rains.

  3. Water the pots generously and wait for the magic to happen!

Maintenance tips & tricks

  1. Check your garden frequently

Since the weather and elements can change so drastically when you're higher up in the air, those who grow on a balcony should be diligent in checking on how things are doing so that any potential problems can be corrected immediately.

  1. Water regularly

It's not uncommon for potted plants to dry right out much faster than those in-ground gardens because there are no natural sources of water, so be sure to wet your cannabis plants' soil daily.

  1. Don't forget to feed your soil

The main reason this kind of cultivation is so hard is that you don't get to rely on the power of nature to fill the voids, and that is especially true when it comes to soil, which is constantly being drained nutrient-wise throughout the growing season. Because of this, you'll need to start with new soil each season or maintain living soil.

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