Garden

Sunny terrace


Question: what to grow on the terrace in the sun?


I have a very sunny terrace, which plants do you recommend to make it pleasant? Almost always too much sun burns flowering plants. I love the bougainvillea but not being very expert I am afraid that it is difficult to take care of and that in winter it can suffer too cold. Thanks

Sunny terrace: Answer: a terrace in the sun


Dear Silvana,
generally on very sunny terraces the problem is not the sun itself, but the heat that is stored by the walls of the house and the floor, and released even at night; this type of conditions makes the climate on the terrace almost prohibitive, with very high temperatures all day and a very intense need for watering. The problem perhaps does not lie in the plants to be chosen, given that most of the plants grown on the terrace like being in the sun, especially the flowering plants; more than anything else you should try to understand what kind of interventions it is good to implement to make your plants survive. First of all, although you can read everywhere that plants do not like water in the saucer, consider that on your sunny terrace, it is essential that your plants have a nice large saucer, which will have to be filled when you water them; this is because in summer the sun is so hot that it quickly dries the water you supply to your plants, the one you pour into the ground; for this reason, in case of heat and sun it is good to wet the soil well, and then also fill the saucer, so that the earthy bread of your plants has time to absorb the water well, rehydrating it completely. If you can water only once a week in the spring, your plants will have to be watered every other day, or every day, in the summer, to prevent the sun from excessively drying them. I also have a completely sunny terrace, with the sun from dawn until 16-17; on that terrace I keep only succulent plants, because I can't water the flowering plants often enough to be able to keep them alive; if you, like many mere mortals, don't think you can have an hour each day (on average) to think about the plants of the terrace, try to evaluate the possibility of placing a drip irrigation system, so that you can schedule watering even when you're on vacation, or spend the weekend at the beach. The only plants that survive strenuously on my terrace in the sun are an enormous recoil (the false jasmine), which however has a huge vase, and has roots in the shade; and a lemon, which thanks to the sun survives even when there are some degrees below zero in the garden. You can also think of placing a jasmine or a bougainvillea, but having the foresight to lightly shade the pots, so that the sun does not completely warm the earthen bread around the roots; just a bamboo lattice, to be placed on the outer perimeter of the balcony, so as to shade the vases for most of the day. And if where you live the winter climate is very harsh, then loved with non-woven fabric, with which you will cover the vases and plants. In this case remember that citrus fruits, bougainvillea, grevillee, are evergreen, and do not like to stay dry for months; therefore in autumn and winter, if the climate is not too rigid, you will have to water them.
But you have the advantage of being able to choose Mediterranean plants, used to sun and heat and drought, and a little less used to winter cold; the sun creates a special microclimate on your terrace, where plants that you wouldn't even consider for a garden can live.