The Best Summer Plants for Your Apartment Balcony

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Hummingbird in a Flower Garden

Remember those gorgeous hanging baskets and planters you created in the spring? All of those colorful blooms turning your apartment balcony into a kaleidoscope of color? Are your once-gorgeous plants starting to look a little … crunchy? The summer heat – especially on an apartment balcony, where the direct sun can be relentless – can quickly turn your lush, spring blooms into a barren wasteland of brown sticks and burned leaves. Don’t look at that depressing plant graveyard any longer! Here are some heat (and drought!) tolerant plants that are ideal for your apartment balcony or patio in summer:


Bamboo is terrific for large containers, especially on apartment balconies. It will grow tall, adding privacy to your space. And bamboo likes the summer sizzle – just be sure to water it enough to keep the soil moist (not wet) and be sure it is in a container with good drainage. If your balcony is very tiny and a large container full of soaring bamboo stalks would overwhelm the space, dwarf bamboo is a terrific option – it usually stays under five feet tall. Be careful – there’s a wide variety of bamboo to choose from, from shade-loving and cold-tolerant to sun-loving varieties that thrive in poor soil. Choose the type of bamboo that will do well in your region and in your space.


lantanaWant to attract butterflies to your apartment balcony or patio? A surefire way to do that is to plant some lantana. Lantanas are not just irresistible to butterflies – they also flourish in hot, sunbaked locations, such as your apartment patio, and they are very drought-tolerant. They smell great, require very little maintenance, and are a big draw for butterflies as well as birds. And with beautiful, dainty flowers in a variety of colors, these terrific plants are a must for your apartment balcony.



Black-Eyed Susan:

black-eyed susanThis cheery plant produces yellow, daisy-like flowers with a dark center (the “black eye”). If you choose to plant some Black-eyed Susan on your balcony, don’t get too attached to it – these plants are biennial, which means they only live for two years. If you happen to live in a ground-floor apartment with a patio in an area populated by deer and rabbits, you might want to skip this plant – deer and rabbits will eat the whole, entire plant.

Coreopsis (Tickseed):

tickseedCoreopsis is hardy, cheerful, and doesn’t require a lot of attention. Give these cheerful plants a sunny spot and water them sometimes and you’ll enjoy beautiful, sunny yellow blooms all summer long. Coreopsis blooms resemble daisies, and while the yellow is most common, the plant comes in a variety of other colors, including pink, red, and white. And if you live in an area prone to drought, the coreopsis is happy with very little water – in fact, be careful not to over-water it. Oh, and don’t fertilize this hardy little gem, either – mature coreopsis don’t like or require fertilizer. This plant will grow year after year (if you leave it alone and allow it to reseed) and is one of the easiest, low-maintenance plants.


cosmosThese pretty flowers are (ahem!) out of this world. The flowers come in pink, orange, red, and white. They are perfect container plants and will bloom all summer long under full sun. Butterflies and birds love them – and so do bees. Don’t over-water, and don’t bother with the fertilizer – it can lead to fewer flowers. Deadhead your cosmos (pluck off the dead blooms) to keep them blooming all summer long.


zinniaZinnias are bold, beautiful, and ridiculously easy to grow. They do great in any soil, love full sun, and are perfect for containers, window boxes, and hanging baskets. You can find zinnias in every color except blue, and they require very little attention to flourish. Birds and butterflies love them, and you will, too – cut them (often!) to put in a vase and add them to your fireplace mantle or put them on your dining room table. The more you cut the more blooms you’ll have! If you live in an area that gets cool and humid at night, be sure to choose a fungus-resistant type of zinnia, such as the star zinnia.