An issue with come up against frequently with modern apartment buildings is that a tap hasn't been installed on balconies. Sometimes getting one installed is easy and other times the cost is prohibitive. As people who garden on balconies will be well aware, Plants dry out quickly with the increased air flow that comes with elevated aspects. This means without easy access to water there are 2 options, lugging water from a tap inside on a daily basis or working with the elements and choosing low water us plants such as cacti and succulents.
In this case the lack of any water was no issue as our client had already expressed her preference for structural plants and had fallen for our large Euphorbias we keep in the store.
Working with the clean, modern aesthetic of the build we selected simple matt black cylinder pots of varying sizing to create a nest of pots. The Euphorbia was always going to be the hero of this story but we needed a couple of equally interesting sidekicks. We enlisted the sculptured form of an established Kumara plicatilis (Fan Aloe) and the dramatic burgundy foliage of one of the largest growing bromeliads, Alcanterea imperialis 'Silver Plum'.
When designing it can be easy to get caught up in trying to add as many rare and exciting plants as possible but often it is best to let the heroes have their spotlight and surround them with plants that compliment them without detracting from them. We chose Aeonium 'Velour', Senecio 'Dwarf Chalksticks' and Kalanchoe 'Silver Spoons'. Being an elevated balcony we wanted to avoid soil being blown everywhere so we underplanted the Euphorbia with a couple of large established Rhipsalis ewaldiana and covered remaining pots with a layer of matt black stones.
With the Matt black, Silver, Green and Burgundy colour scheme the resulting look is simple but bold. When succulent plants are used in this way they create a perfect harmony of form and function and become living sculptures which require minimal upkeep.
When we finish an installation all our clients are provided with a care plan and after a full year the progress and growth of this balcony is living proof of the results that can be achieved when clients follow these plans. Of course the care for this balcony was very simple but an even and balanced watering regime with seasonal adjustments will always yield best results for succulents type plants.