Have you ever wondered why we don’t have a category called “Indian plants”? It is primarily because the climate varies widely from one end of our large nation to another. And different plants thrive in varied climatic conditions. So lets start small and analyse this a little for those of you who live in the southern part of the country. Have you been wondering what are the plants good for a balcony garden in South India?

Well it must be plants that grow in warm places. Although South India has various kinds of weather like temperate in Bengaluru, humid in Cochin and scorching hot in Chennai, the climate is almost univocally warm. So we caught with our friends at LazyGardener, a community of gardening enthusiasts that makes plant food sticks, to find out more. And guess what? Their founder Vinayak Garg was happy to give us some deets!

#1: Curry Leaf Plant

what plants are plants good for a balcony garden in south india-curry leaf plant
Zesty Southern flavours

You know you have entered a South Indian household when you get the zesty smell of curry leaves tempering a curry. As curry leaves are integral to South Indian culinary flavours, it seems fair to assume that the herb is locally available. 

A curry leaf plant requires bright light conditions, so you safely keep it in the balcony or terrace where it gets direct sunlight. Always allow the soil time to dry out before watering. Hence, if you were considering what are the plants good for a balcony garden in South India, you have hit the jackpot!

Expert Tip: Vinayak says that curry leaf plants fare well with a trim when they get leggy to promote new growth.

#2: Philodendron

what plants are plants good for a balcony garden in south india-philodendron
Looks like a money plant & grows like one

Philodendron is another one of the plants that grow in warm places. And it is not just one plant, it is a family of plants, each with its own look, feel and characteristics. We are particularly enthralled by the Philodendron Selloum, Split leaf Philodendron and Xanadu varieties 

This plant loves bright indirect light conditions but can tolerate medium to low light as well.

Don’t over water these plants; give the soil time to dry out before watering.

Expert Tip: Light and porous is the secret to keeping Philodendrons happy!

#3: Marigold

what plants are plants good for a balcony garden in south india-marigold plant
Every petal is a flower in itself

This common and thriving flowering plant has been made immortal by a Bollywood song that goes sasural genda phool. Basically, it alludes to the compound nature of the marigold flower; it is not one flower by a combination of many tiny flowers. Each petal of this flower is a flower in itself. Hence, marigolds are often shredded and offered to the gods.

In short, this is a pretty handy option if you are wondering what are the plants good for a balcony garden in South India. They love direct sunlight and flower all around the year. They are not fussy plants and survive a moderate amount of neglect.

Expert Tip: Vinayak tells us that you just sprinkle the flower petals on the soil and it will grow into new plants!

#4: Bougainvillea

potted bougainvillea plant-bougainvillea
Creeping colours

If we had to pick the prettiest of the plants that grow in warm places, bougainvillea would surely top the list. We have seen this plant grow in the wild framing gates and doorways. But if you are wondering what are the plants good for a balcony garden in South India, why the potted version of this climber. 

In fact, this climbing plant comes in various varieties and shades. It can adjust to full sunlight and bright light conditions though it likes shady spots. The soil needs to be light and porous soil; also plant in a well-draining pot. We don’t want root rot to set in now, do we?

Expert Tip: Bougainvillea may grow freely in the wild. But as a houseplant, it needs some nutrition to grow and thrive. Thus, it might be a good idea to feed them Bloomstixs from Lazy Gardener. 

#5: Tulsi/Basil

tulsi plant-holy basil plant
His holiness among plants

In Indian homes, basil is not used just as herb for flavouring food. This plant has plenty of religious significance and is also good for the Vastu of your home. While the plant itself is quite fussy, it is one of the plants that grow in warm places. Thus, it is ideal to grow in a balcony garden down South. 

The holy basil or tulsi plant likes direct sunlight but not too much of it. You need to water it just right or else the roots rot very quickly. So it’s best to let the soil dry out before watering. 

Expert Tip: Always trim the flowers of a basil plant so that the energy goes to the growth of  the leaves and the leaves don’t lose their zesty taste.

#6: Jade

what plants are plants good for a balcony garden in south india-jade plant
The soothing succulent

Have you ever wondered why your succulents are dying? It could have something to do with the fact that they are always treated as indoor plants. Succulents like Jade are outdoor plants, they require 12 hours of bright sunshine. 

Always keep them in spaces where they get enough sunlight. Moreover, they require very little water. Their leaves store water so your Jade plant is not likely to die from a want of watering. In fact, water it once in a fortnight to ensure that you are not over watering. 

Expert Tip: Many people do not know that succulents like Jade can grow from stem cuttings. Their stems have the unique quality of growing roots when planted. 

#7:  Aloe Vera

aloe vera plant-potted aloe vera plant
Full of goodness

If you are thinking of what are the plants good for a balcony garden in South India, you would not skip aloe vera. Not only is this an exceedingly useful plant, it is also rather easy to grow. 

It required very little care. Watering needs to be sparsely spread out, and always wait for the soil to be dry before you water. Aloe vera fares well in indirect sunlight; too much sunshine might char it. But a humid climate is great for its growth.

Expert Tip: Aloe vera starts growing pups if it gets proper care. You can divide it and plant the pups to grow new plants.

If enjoyed reading about plants that can grow in warm climates in southern India, also explore Pot it like it’s Hot: Indoor Plants we Love.

Send in your comments and suggestions.

— editor@livspace.com