Container Gardening: Turn Your Patio or Balcony into a Beautiful and Functional Garden

Just because you're living in an apartment doesn't mean you can't enjoy the benefits of a beautiful garden.  Container gardens really brighten outdoor living areas and not only provide beauty, but also can be a great source of food (and who couldn't use a little help lowering the grocery bill?).

Combining textures, sizes, and colors around your outdoor space can create a stunning display.  Here are a few tips for making your balcony or patio beautiful year-round.

Vegetable Gardening

Container Vegetable Garden with Tomatoes Great for Apartment Patios & Balconies

Imagine walking just outside your door for the freshest ingredients and some amazing tasting produce.  Tomatoes, salad greens, peppers, and cucumbers can all be easily grown in containers.  If you're not growing from seed, be sure to purchase seedlings from reputable sources (see below for some great local options) and try to buy organic plants when possible.

Tomatoes can thrive in either traditional containers, using stakes for support, or in hanging baskets for a more dramatic display.  Most tomato plants require full sun and consistent watering.

Salad greens can provide beautiful color and texture to your garden.  Kale, arugula, escarole, red or green lettuce, romaine, and butter lettuce do excellently when mixed together in larger containers or even in window boxes.

Peppers (chili peppers, bell peppers, and many others) are also a great option for apartment dwellers.  Most species will grow 2'-4' tall and will need some staking for support.  Like tomatoes, peppers love full sun and consistent watering.

Fruit Gardens

Meyer Lemon Tree in Container Great for Apartments & Condos on Patios and Balconies

Fruit trees and bushes make for a great addition to your home and can provide fruit for years to come when cared for properly.

Trees, such as dwarf citrus trees, can add shade and color to your balcony during the summer and brighten up the indoors during the cooler months.  Meyer Lemon and Dwarf Kaffa Lime trees are popular choices with edible fruits.  Be sure your pots provide adequate drainage for dwarf fruit trees as well as plenty of space for roots to grow.  While trees are outdoors, be sure they are in partial sunlight.



Herbs provide texture, beauty, and scent to your garden and nearly every herb can be easily grown in a container.  As long as soil, sun, and water requirements are the same, multiple types of herbs can be planted in the same pot.  Chives, parsley, marjoram, and mint can be planted together and love self-water pots which provide consistent moisture.  Rosemary, thyme, and oregano can be planted in a traditional container.  Basil prefers space of its own and should be potted alone.  Most herbs require full sun (6 or more hours daily), but may  need to be shaded or brought indoors during extreme heat (some Maryland summer days qualify).  The best part about using your potted herbs?  The more you pick, the more you get.  Picking and pruning herb plants increases growth and yield, and eating more herbs can increase your health!

Seasonal Displays

Here are some ideas for plants that thrive in Maryland by season.  


Here are some ideas for spring color in your container garden.  The varieties listed here are prime for USDA Zone 7, where our residents live.



After the May flowers have shown their colors, these plants shine during the warm summer months.



Crisp fall air is great for these blooming beauties!  Add some festive color to your patio or balcony.




You can enjoy beautiful plants all winter long.  Here are a few varieties suited for Maryland winters.  However, during extreme cold (below 10 degrees Fahrenheit), it may be wise to protect your plants from the chill of winter.


USDA Plant Hardiness Zones

For easy reference, we have found your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone to assist you in picking out the right plants for your container garden.

Zone 7a:

-Edgewood (Fox Run Apartments)

-Cockeysville (Hampton Manor Apartments & Townhomes)

-Woodlawn (Rolling Park Apartments)

-Windsor Mill (Tuscany Gardens Apartments & Tuscany Woods Apartments)

-Bel Air, MD (Avanti Luxury Apartments)

Zone 7b:

-Nottingham, MD (Olde Forge Townhomes & Hallfield Apartments)

-Parkville, MD (Satyr Hill Apartments)

-Baltimore, MD (Barclay Square Apartments & Hamilton Springs Apartments)

Area Garden Supply Centers

Country Garden Center - 2800 Creswell Road, Bel Air, MD 212015

Fritz Farm & Nursery - 1001 Hollingworth Road, Joppa, MD 21085

Chapel Hills Farm & Nursery - 4356 Chapel Road, Perry Hall, MD 21128

Poor Boys' Garden Center - 7721 Old Harford Road, Parkville, MD 21234

McLean Nurseries - 9000 Satyr Hill Road, Parkville, MD 21234

Herring Run Nursery - 3545 Belair Road, Baltimore, MD 21234

Valley View Farms - 11035 York Road, Cockeysville, MD 21030

Watson's Garden Center - 1620 York Road, Lutherville-Timonium, MD 21093

Silver Pond Farm Nursery - 9700 Old Court Road, Windsor Mill, MD 21244

Check out our Pinterest board for more inspiration at