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I live in Mumbai (India), our flat has an east facing balcony (roof covered) of around 15-20 ft (5-6 m) which receives direct sunlight for 3-4 hours in the morning.

I have few plants (Roses, Aloe Vera, Buddha Belly, Pot hose, Basil, etc.) but they are pretty small and doesn't cover my balcony well.

As our balcony is facing road which most of the time has lot of traffic, causing smoke and noise, so I was thinking to use some plants to cover my balcony's grill to minimize the noise and pollution from entering into my home. It will be great if those plants can beautify my balcony.

Can anyone suggest such plants?

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    How much can you irrigate? – J. Musser Dec 12 '14 at 12:44
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    Not sure what you mean by your balcony's 'grill' is it a grill that goes from the bottom of the balcony up to the roof, on the front edge of the balcony? – Bamboo Dec 12 '14 at 13:56
  • @J.Musser: Did you mean how much area do I have to grow plants? I have around 15 one cubic square feet (1' x 1' x 1') ceramic pots. – jaczjill Dec 15 '14 at 5:58
  • @Bamboo: Yes, just that it goes from mid of the balcony up to the roof, on the front edge of the balcony. From bottom to mid there is a concrete wall, my ceramic pots are placed over the concrete wall. – jaczjill Dec 15 '14 at 6:03
  • @Bamboo: If there is some other word in place of 'Grill' then please reword it, as in India, people generally call it as Grill but in the west the word Grill may denote barbeque. Thank you! – jaczjill Dec 15 '14 at 6:11
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No, the word grill is fine here - I just wanted to know whether this grill enclosed the whole balcony, or whether it was just at the bottom, or, as it turns out, with a wall and then a grill right to the roof.

It's not that easy an area to plant with large, beautiful plants - if you use climbing plants, unless you keep them very well trained, they will grow up the grill and will block out most of the light. Equally, if you use tall, wide plants, you'll be blocking light, although in pots, most plants don't get as large as they would in the ground. That said, the next problem is a shortage of sunlight, so that rules out some plants which only do well with plenty of sun.

Two I've come up with which will do fine in the sunlight available are Jasmine multipartum (climber, mostly evergreen, very fragrant flowers) and Eranthemum pulchellum (also known as Eranthemum nervosum), a free standing shrub which has blue flowers. Otherwise, Thuja pyramidalis compacta I found mentioned as a plant to grow in your part of the world, though I confess to being a little surprised - Thuja does well in places like Canada, so the conditions are somewhat different. Might be worth a try though, it's evergreen and won't get too large in a pot, and this plant should have better (though not necessarily very noticeable) noise reduction capacity. Otherwise, Clematis hybrid varieties (not species like montana or tangutica), though again, they're climbers, and having too many will definitely mean a reduction in light, and most flower much better with more sunlight on their topgrowth. Even so, if you can find them, Clematis Hagley Hybrid and Nelly Moser are two that do well in shadier conditions, and the fact there's a wall means the roots will be kept a bit cooler. Climbers will need pots which are preferably 2 feet deep and 12-16 inches wide to achieve reasonable growth.

Whether any of these will make any major difference to the noise and pollution is another matter, but they will improve the area visually.

  • Don't clematis need a winter or cool period? – kevinsky Dec 15 '14 at 12:07
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    @kevinsky - you'd think, but they are also mentioned as something you can grow in the area. Be interested to know whether its true, but I imagine if its not, they won't be available to buy there. I'm still taken aback by the mention of Juniper and Thuja... – Bamboo Dec 15 '14 at 12:49

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