One of the great delights of having your own balcony space is having enough space to grow the herbs that you love to cook with. Fresh, homegrown herbs are more delicious than the dried options in grocery stores. They’re also cheaper and fresher than the “fresh” options in grocery stores too. However, growing herbs on a windy balcony can be frustrating. High winds can break delicate herbs and ruin their growth, leaving you with small, disappointing harvests. Here’s how you can successfully grow herbs on a windy balcony.
Moving Plants Indoors
In extreme wind, or when your plants are particularly vulnerable, your best option may be to bring your plants indoors temporarily. This is a great idea during windstorms. It may also be wise to start your herbs inside (if you are starting them from seeds). Seedlings are particularly damaged by wind, especially if they get a bit leggy (or long) from lack of sun.
Start your seeds inside either in a sunny spot or under a grow light. Wait a few weeks until the plants are established. The exact time will depend on your type of herbs. Once the plants are ready, you need to allow them to adjust to the windy conditions outside. Leave them outside for a few hours per day, slowly building up to a full day. This gives their stalks and leaves times to strengthen enough to handle the wind.
Balcony Wind Protection Options
How do you protect your herbs from wind when they are on the balcony? It’s not as simple as popping the plants behind a piece of furniture or some propped up cardboard. You have to protect the plants from wind while also exposing them to sunlight, or you’ll have a whole new problem on your hands.
There are a few ways to protect herbs from the wind on your balcony without blocking the sun, including:
- Wire cages: Like tomato cages, smaller wire cages for herbs can add support to keep herbs from being flattened by wind.
- Cloche: A cloche is a stiff, transparent covering you can place over a plant to block the wind but let light in. These are intended for temporary use unless there is a hole in the top to let fresh air in. Some manufacturers sell cloches or plant covers made of glass or transparent plastic.
- Plant hoops: You can make a DIY version of a cloche using a rigid hoop structure and placing a mesh fabric, a transparent tarp, or another suitable material over it.
- Windbreaks: Short windbreaks that allow in some sun can be a good idea. You can use a plant that withstands wind well, like a hedge or bush, to block some of the wind to your herbs.
Your Choice of Herbs
Don’t believe the advice online that some herbs are “wind resistant.” According to the University of California’s Agriculture and Natural Resources, the plants that do best are short and that give in the wind instead of snapping. This describes virtually all herbs, and none have a significant advantage over the others when it comes to wind-resistance.
A Little Wind is Good
Don’t completely shelter your herbs from any and all wind. A bit of wind strengthens plant stalks and makes them more able to stand up to the wind in the future.