Question: Covered balcony facing north
I live in the Po valley and I have a small terrace (4x3) completely covered and facing north east (sun from 8 to 10 c.ca)
I would like some evergreens (also to avoid dirtying the balcony below)
I have already tried with viburnum and nandina ... but nothing, they die ... I fear the problem is the cover, in fact on another identical balcony (as an exhibition) but not covered the same plants live without problems ... HELP!
Answer: Covered balcony facing north
you have perhaps already found the answer to your problem; very often in spring it happens that in nurseries there are customers who complain because their evergreen plant died during the winter; typically these are lemons grown in greenhouses, but often also of various types of shrubs, cultivated on the terrace; unfortunately many plants that we grow in the garden, such as viburnum, spend the cold months in a period of semi-vegetative rest, but if they are cultivated in the open ground they enjoy the water supplied by the weather; therefore, on days with a mild climate (ie above 10 ° C) they always find water in the soil to be absorbed through the roots. If instead we place these shrubs sheltered under a roof, they only receive the water we supply; therefore, even during the cold months, it will be necessary to water the pots, certainly not every week, it is enough to do it sporadically, but if when we do we notice that the ground is completely dry, it will be opportune to intensify a little the water supply. Therefore, before choosing the plants, consider that you will then have to water them, even in the middle of winter, whenever the temperature is higher than 8-10 ° C, otherwise they will always be destined to dry up. In addition to preventing rain water from reaching the vases, the coverage of your terrace also causes a strong lack of insolation; so I suggest you to choose shrubs that can survive very well even in little direct sunlight. Since your plants will be grown in pots, why not try some acidophilus? Like azaleas, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, camellias, kalmies? Usually these plants tend to suffer in the garden because the soil in Italy is almost always excessively calcareous, and therefore the plants suffer from ferric chlorosis; in pot instead you will be able to better control the ph of the ground, replacing it completely when necessary. In addition to being suitable for growing in pots, many acidophiles have a really beautiful flowering, which will make your terrace even more beautiful; the acidophilus, however, certainly need some more watering than other plants that can be cultivated in pots. Since your problem is winter survival, perhaps you could also re-evaluate the "evergreen plants" issue; It is true that deciduous plants lose more foliage in autumn, but then resist throughout the winter, without having to water them, since they are in total vegetative rest. So try to think if it is better to collect all the fallen leaves in autumn, or remember to water the pots in 4-5 months in a cold climate.