Balcony besties: poppies and petunias for pretty patios

Iceland poppies grow well in pots.

Iceland poppies grow well in pots.

Published May 4, 2024


Durban — As the sun sets to welcome the evening sky in all its colourful glory, sit back and relax on the balcony with some potted poppies and petunias for company. These lovelies are the perfect choice for all-year-round charm and vibrance. Here is Life is a Garden’s guide on how to successfully grow and care for your new patio and balcony besties.

A colourful mix of petunias.

Cute petunias in containers

Petunias are available in a range of colours, each as bright as the next. Position them in a mostly sunny spot and ensure they are never completely dry. Perform the finger test to see when to water petunias because you would rather want to underwater than overwater these babes.

Soil: Petunias require well-draining, aerated and slightly acidic soil. Potting soil mix works well, especially if you combine it with a little peat moss to lower pH levels.

Petunias come in a wide variety of colours.

Fertiliser: These ladies love lots of food. Most potting mixes have the right amount of nutrients but to be sure, use a slow-release fertiliser after planting. Alternatively, compost will give petunias the feeding they need: just make sure it doesn’t interfere with the soil’s drainage abilities.

Deadheading: This encourages plants to direct their energy into creating more flowers, rather than wasting it on already fading blooms. Deadheading also keeps your plant looking neat and tidy. Remove flowers that are beyond their prime by pinching them off from just below their base.

Vibrant poppies take a little bit of extra care, but their displays are worth the effort.

Perfecting potted poppies

Poppies are a timeless classic. They might not be the easiest flower to grow but their vibrant colour and sweetness are certainly worth the extra care. Poppy varieties that grow well in pots include oriental poppies, Iceland poppies, California poppie, and Shirley poppies. Iceland poppies (Papaver nudicaule) provide an incredible, colourful show during winter.

Planting: Poppies dislike being transplanted, so LIAG recommends buying poppy seedling trays along with a little booster food to help with the transplant shock. You can get all these from your GCA Garden Centre. Place containers in a full sun position and be sure to water the seedlings gently because they have very delicate roots. Once in flower, poppies need to be deadheaded to increase the number of blooms.

This Easy Wave Lavender Sky Blue Petunia provides a splash colour.

With so many colour variants, petunias can become part of your living decor, or provide a splash of colour contrast like the one on the right.

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