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The most well-known balcony plants are the geranium and the azalea. The first is a plant native to South Africa, whose most common species is scientifically called pelargonium: the pelargoniums are those that everyone knows, while the actual geraniums are a differentiated botanical species. Its qualities of strength and adaptability to all climates during the good season make this flower the undisputed king of balconies. The geranium among its most prized species is that which has large double flowers and lend themselves to growing in pots and therefore, to be exhibited on balconies and terraces. Another specimen is the one with characteristic variegated pink and white flowers that have a shape similar to that of the azalea flower. The latter, on the other hand, originates from China and Japan and was introduced into Europe in the early nineteenth century. It is one of the most well-known and widespread plants for its resistance and adaptability to cultivation in pots and crates and has the advantage of flowering even for decades. Among the numerous varieties of azaleas and those with persistent leaves lend themselves in the best way to cultivation in pots on the balconies and allow an early flowering. The predominant color is lilac with flowers of various sizes and long and lanceolate leaves. Geranium and azalea belong to the category of perennial plants and have a permanent root system that flourish again every spring. During the winter they almost completely lose the leaves and the stems, which become dry and therefore must be cut at the end of winter.
How to grow balcony geraniums
Geraniums can be bought in pots at gardening centers or in specialized shops. In spring, when the risk of frost no longer exists, they are removed from the pots and transplanted into crates or beds after having prepared a soil not too rich in organic matter. It is advisable to water abundantly after transplanting but afterwards excesses must be avoided since the geranium resists well in dry soils. It is however necessary to provide for normal weeding and to fertilize the soil periodically with specific fertilizers. It is always necessary to remove the withered flowers and the dried leaves, to have a beautiful and rigorous flowering after the summer holidays, before leaving you must provide for a robust plant topping. If you want to conserve geranium plants during the winter, you must remove them from the ground at the first sign of cold and pot them with the same soil, cutting the vegetation twelve or fifteen centimeters from the collar; it is advisable to store them in a bright, not humid, room at a minimum temperature of eight or ten degrees, watering them very little during the entire winter period. Geraniums are veritable herbaceous plants with a prolonged flowering period, which adapt very well not only on balconies but also to cover the ground or a garden. They are quite easy to grow; they thrive with ease in moderately fertile soil, provided they are well drained as they are plants that cannot stand stagnant humidity. It is preferable to place them in semi-darkness, they can be left outdoors even in winter and in some cases they can reach a height of eighty centimeters.
How to grow azalea from a balcony
To grow azalea it is necessary to buy the seeds at a nursery or a gardening center. Being a perennial plant it is planted in the period of July and August and this is the most delicate operation because it is necessary to prepare well the soil that must receive the seed. Since this operation is carried out in the pots, the surface of the soil must be leveled well and the seed of the sachet spread as evenly as possible and not too close. It is also a good idea to spread a thin layer of soil as a cover immediately afterwards. Another delicate operation to be carried out is the first watering: it is absolutely necessary to prevent the water from having a violent jet, because this could cause the seed to move, bringing it to the surface and damaging it, so the most suitable tool is a watering can with a very thin shower. The azalea prefers a soil composed of peat and dung, in addition, exposure to sunlight must be in partial shade. The flowering time of this plant occurs in the following spring and once developed it reaches a height of around forty centimeters. The azalea also requires a constant weeding of the soil both in flowerbeds and in pots, a total change of the soil at least every two or three years and a fertilization on a monthly basis.
Balcony plants: Transplant of balcony plants
Transplanting balcony plants means transferring the small seedlings born from the seed, with their root system and if possible with a little earth around them, in pots or in boxes where they will continue their development to arrive at a new flowering. Care must be taken not to damage the rootlets when transplanting, using this delicate operation with a small piece of pointed and flattened wood or a teaspoon. In the hottest hours of the day you need to shade the newly transplanted seedlings with useful sheets of paper even at night because, they protect from possible lowering of temperature. The soil of the pots in which the young seedlings are transplanted must be prepared with weeding and fertilization. For all the balcony plants the fertilizers can be liquid or granular: the first ones are diluted in water while the others are spread on the surface of the soil and then are buried with a light weeding. The azaleas in particular are sought after for the production of flowers to be cut as they are very decorative due to their different shades and shades. They are very durable in pots with water. However, it is advisable as for all cut flowers, to cut the lower part of the stems by letting the white out and make sure that this part remains immersed and above all, to eliminate the leaves to prevent them from rotting and affecting the life of the flowers. For greater preservation it is necessary to shorten the end of the stem by a couple of centimeters every day, remembering that every time the water is changed it is advisable to pour a small quantity of one of the many chemical products on the market specifically for cut flowers. Azaleas due to their shades can be associated with all types of upright stem-like flowers, such as yellow gladiolus or red lilies whose colors integrate perfectly creating a pleasant harmony.