Balcony flower trends 2016 - Variety predominates

Floral decoration is an expression of joy in and around the home. A focus on beautifying our environment is an important aspect of our floral tradition and a tonic for the soul.

Increasing variety
The market for summer flowers has picked up in recent years. Around the turn of the millennium, geraniums and petunias predominated on our balconies. Since, the range of hardy plants for the summer flower market has grown significantly. Extensive competition has revived the activities of international growers enormously. In addition to new varieties and new types are also being worked on.

Niche plants such as verbena, as well as lobelias and begonias now offer an extensive assortment. Changes can also clearly be felt with regard to the two previous market leaders. Numerous new types of petunias have appeared, which differ in terms of strength and type of growth, as well as in their possible uses. Geraniums have also undergone a transformation. Through increasing hybridisation of trailing and upright geraniums, we have today achieved a multitude of hardy semi-upright and trailing plants.
The great variety of tried and tested plants awards flower lovers great scope when it comes to planting their balcony boxes. Upright plants provide a greater impression of height, while trailing balcony flowers convey opulence and depth. In individual boxes, round plants provide a sense of plenitude. By coordinating the colours of the house, balcony and garden, a harmonious overall impression can be achieved. On patios, hanging baskets and slightly raised ornamental containers with luscious plants have proven successful. Here again, coordination of the colours and a unified design must be ensured.

Quality pays
Despite excellent advances in plant quality, filling the plant containers with high-grade soil remains an important prerequisite. Healthy plant material and high-grade soil can be obtained from your local gardener or a specialist garden centre of your choice. Long-term fertiliser can be added to the soil from the outset in order to provide the plants with sustained and sufficient nutrition.

In 2016, the Central European balcony flower market is experiencing something of an upturn. While 2015 was still characterised by the many long-established varieties which have become popular over the years, there are some remarkable novelties for the forthcoming flower seasons.

Bidens 'Beedance Painted Red' (bur marigold)
Bidens 'Beedance' impresses with flowers in brilliant shades of orange. Through its vital, strong growth, it is ideally suited for use in balcony, patio and hanging basket plantings. It is a butterfly magnet and a valuable forage plant for bees. Tips: Bidens require some attention to the soil. They prefer water-permeable and nutrient-rich soils. They should be placed in a sunny to semi-shaded location and require an even watering routine.

Petunia 'Queen of Hearts'
A compact-growing petunia with large, intensively coloured flowers. The pattern on their petals is unique. Through the interplay of white and pink, each flower displays five heart shapes. The plant is resistant to wind and rain and is extremely well suited for container planting on the patio or ground floor. Tips: Flowering is encouraged through the removal of the wilted flowers.

Petunia 'Viva blue Stardust'
Another promising petunia, which impresses with the vibrant blue colour interaction on its flowers. A positive characteristic is its resistance to wind and rain. The plant is compact and has large flowers. Tips: Requires a particularly nutrient-rich substrate and regular fertilising in order to exploit its full flowering potential.

Brachyscome 'Magenta Delight' (blue daisy)
The 'Magenta Delight' variety still has one of the boldest colours currently available in the magenta (dark violet) range among the blue daisies. Will tolerate dry and moist substrates, but no waterlogging. Excellent for small balcony boxes, hanging baskets and as a single plant on patios. Tips: All daisies respond well to an additional supply of iron. High-grade garden soil should therefore be used for planting.

Lobelia 'Deep Blue Star'
This is a highly heat-resistant lobelia, which impresses with its deep, gentian blue colour. If watered sufficiently, this plant rewards its owner with a sea of deep-blue flowers. In addition to the balcony, it is suitable for planting in hanging or other baskets and boxes. Tips: Requires less fertilising than other, conventional balcony flowers. Insufficient watering results in yellowing of the leaves.

Geranium 'Xtreme Alpine Red'
This plant is a typical example of the new generation of geraniums. It is semi-trailing, weather-resistant, has a high nutrient requirement and is tolerant to short dry spells. Flower production is double that of upright geraniums! Can be combined with trailing petunias and bidens to excellent effect. Tips: In order to achieve full flowering, this geranium requires copious fertilising.

Geranium 'Mexicana Parade'
This is a mixture of three different types of Mexican geranium. 'Toscana Occer', 'Toscana Chris' and 'Toscana Nixe' provide a harmonious, intensely coloured mix on balconies and patios. Regular watering and fertilising increase the volume of the plants. Tips: The profusion of flowers can be enhanced through additional care (removal of wilted flowers).

Calibrachoa Chameleon 'Sunshine Berry' (miniature petunia)
A completely new type of miniature petunia. The individual flowers respond to weather influences such as sunlight and temperature fluctuations with colour changes. This results in a continuously changing appearance. The colour spectrum displayed ranges from brilliant yellow to intense pink. Tips: Loves sunny to semi-shaded locations and requires an even watering routine.


Josef and Manfred Putz
VIKING gardening experts