By Dianne Venetta for GalTime.com
Patio plants are a wonderful way to bring the outside in -- or almost in -- especially in warm climates. For many fruits and vegetables, the sun can be too harsh, drying soil too quickly, burning leaves, soaring too high for pollination. In Florida, where I grow, I'm all too familiar with the sun and its downside.
However, spring and summer are still great times to garden, so why not patio garden? It keeps your skin young and your plants happy. Perfect. But not all plants lend themselves to patio gardening. If it flowers before producing, it might not be the best alternative. Why?
Flowers need pollination. Bees help this process, as does the wind, but on a patio? You're it. You're the bee, the breeze, the whole kit and caboodle. It's a lot of responsibility, I know. But it doesn't have to be hard, I promise. Take tomatoes: They definitely flower before budding those gorgeous tomatoes and all it takes is a vigorous shaking. Yep, that's it. Whether you grow in a greenhouse, on a hydroponic tower or on your patio, a good shaking of your plant around midday will certainly do the trick, preferably when the temperature is between 70 and 82. This shaking process works, because tomato plants have both male and female flowers. No birds and bees required.
If you don't want to fuss with pollination, try lettuce. It appreciates the cooler temps on your patio, doesn't need direct sunlight and makes for a beautiful container plant. I do love a multi-tasker -- decorative and edible!
Another idea for your patio is citrus. Start with a five-gallon pot and place in sunny section of your patio. Over the next two years, you might want to repot to a larger pot, but after about two years, your citrus tree should be good to go. And consider a pot on wheels. Citrus doesn't like to freeze so you'll want to make it easy to bring indoors when the temperature bottoms out. A Meyers lemon tree would be the perfect choice, supplying you with fresh lemons for that lemon water you love so dearly. Did you know lemon water is great for the complexion?
You'll be glowing in no time, from the inside out! And smiling. After all, you're a gardener and what's not to smile about that? More great patio plants include herbs, scallions, radish, carrots (require deep pots) and potatoes. Check out my website for complete directions on the Lutovsky Box. It's the continual growth method for patio potatoes.
Patio plants... the perfect start to spring!!