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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - November 26, 2011

From: San Antonio , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Container Gardens
Title: Want to Grow Herbs in Pots on Balcony
Answered by: Marilyn Kircus

QUESTION:

Nov. 20, 2011 I live in a large apartment with a front balcony. I was wondering what would grow well in pots and fresh herb this time of the year? And will lavendar work for a hanging plant as well? If so than what species and where can I find it in San Antonio, Texas? Thank You.

ANSWER:

It sounds like you are interested in growing herbs on your balcony.  Mr. Smarty Plants only answers questions about native plants and herbs are not native.

However San Antonio has a Texas Herb Society.  You can find out about them at: http://www.sanantonioherbs.org/.

I personally have enjoyed growing herbs in Texas, both in my garden and in pots. Most of them need very good drainage and you may have to give them a special mix in your pots.  Most of them want lots of sunshine and need to be on the south or west side of your apartment. However, parsley will grow on the east or north side because it likes lots of shade.

A good book to read - your library may have it - is Herbs in Pots: A Practical Guide to Container Gardening Indoors and Out by Rob Proctor and David Macke.

You will really enjoy having herbs, provided you have the right place to grow them and give them the care they want.  

And if you want to expand your balcony garden to include some native plants in pots,you might like to read  "Native Plants for Container Gardens in Central Texas" and Container Gardening with Native Plants.  Some natives will grow in the shade, if you don't have enough sun to grow herbs.
You probably need to wait until spring in order to find plants, but you may find a few herbs, like rosemary, that are still available.  But this is the time of the year when gardeners dream and plan, so you have lots of time to curl up with some good books  or go shopping for pots.
 

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