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Balcony Furniture and Fairy lights from IKEA outdoor rugs

The Best Low Maintenance Plants for your Outdoor Area

Confession time: plants never last long on my balcony or terrace.

In the past few years I’ve moved house a few times (most recently from Sydney to Melbourne) and no matter where I style up my outdoor plants, they usually die within months of planting.

Balcony Furniture and Fairy lights from IKEA outdoor rugs

I put this down to one fatal rookie error: excitement over having plants but not understanding which varieties suit my outdoor area.

Thankfully, today’s post will put a stop to this greenery nightmare. I’ve got expert Matt Leacy from Landart Landscapes on deck to share his expert tips.

Matt will explain below which varieties work for sun and shade (and he’ll name some wonderfully low maintenance plants too).

IKEA outdoor furniture balcony decorating ideas small garden ideas

Where to Start with Choosing the Right Plants

“Acknowledge the conditions in which your plants will be living,” Matt says. “Checking the temperature, sun exposure and the force of winds will equip you with the knowledge of what plants to eventually place in your residence.

Many plants need constant sun exposure, where others will curl up and die. This difference in plants is also seen in dry verses moist conditions, or even strong winds verses slight breezes”.

Matt also explains (and I feel this is directed at me!) that ongoing maintenance is key to keeping your greenery thriving.

“The number one thing about plants is that unless they are plastic or are already dead, they will need some amount of care”.

Bonus money saver: “Fill the bottom half of your pot with polystyrene chips. It’ll reduce the weight of your pot and you’ll use less potting mix”.

Balcony Decorating Ideas and Outdoor Plants in Terracotta Pots

The Best Plant Varieties for your Outdoor Area

Shade plants

  • Fuchsia
  • Jumpseed
  • Azalea
  • Any type of Fern
  • Pothos
  • Bleeding heart
  • Primrose
  • Pansies

Sun loving plants

  • Cacti
  • Succulents
  • Geraniums
  • Gazania
  • Hellebores
  • Houseleek

Strong, low maintenance plants

  • Pink/white/yellow daises
  • Bamboo
  • Poa tussock
  • Geraniums
  • Weeping rosemary
  • Oleander
  • Weeping Bottlebrush
  • Ivy
  • Succulents
  • Cacti

>>> What’s worked for you in your outdoor area? Drop a comment below and share some tips with me and other readers!

Images in this post come courtesy of IKEA.


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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One Response

  1. I find plants in pots have a limited lifespan indoors or out, but you’re right balconies serve up harsh conditions. For shade in pots or in the garden try clivias. Green strappy foliage all year round plus orange flowers in spring. These are tough and don’t need much water either. Go for the hybrid variety as the flowers are much brighter. These would look good in a statement pot. For sun, try a strelitzia (bird of paradise) in a large pot. These are also tough.

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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