This is a panaramic photo of our balcony in May of 1999. I put three photos together to get this view. Judge me for the quality of my plantings, not the quality of the photo.
The hanging plants from left to right are **:
** Common and Latin names used are those that were on the plants when purchased or my best guess as to which is the currently accepted nomenclature.
Wax Plant (Hoya ?), Fuschia Scullcap (Scuttelaria ? - making a comeback after near total collapse), Purple Achimenes, Climbing Fern, Cigar Plant (Cuphea ignea), Flowering maple (Abutillon ?), Hummer Feeder (Perky Pet four flower feeder with perches), Hanging Picture Plant (Nepenthas coccinea), Rope Plant (Hoya ?), Ganges Primrose, Bolivian Sunset (making a comeback after total collapse), another Hummer Feeder (Wild Birds Unlimited three hole dish. I've yet to see a hummer feed here.)Firecracker Flower (Russelia equistiformis), and the begonia that houses my Barking Tree Frog.
Lower left corner.
From the bottom left on the floor: Bleeding Heart (Clerodendrum thomsoniae), Pink Cestrum (Cestrum elegans - another comeback plant. it began blooming a couple of days after this photo was taken.), Firecracker Vine (Maniatta inflata or M. luteo-rubra ?) in the black pot, Summer Blooming Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana), A red Pentas and pink Four O'Clock that are covered up by the shrimp Plants, Winter-Blooming (ugly) Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana) that is blooming better this summer than it has in any previous winter,
In a window basket hung from railing above the shrimp plants: Karneval Plant (Porphyrocoma pohliana), Goldfish Plant (Nematanthus gregarius), and a Red Scullcap (Scutellaria ?). Since these photos were taken, I've added a Bat-faced Cuphea (Cuphea llava) listed as Red Heather at Home Depot, and cuttings of a C. llava, Scutellaria, Winter and Summer Blooming Shrimp Plants, and two Salvia minutas (I've seen these listed as S. miniatta in some nurseries)
Center of balcony.
These plants are all on a three tier plant stand. They range in the photo from the left at the tall large dark green leaved plant below the abutillon to the white post on the right.
On the floor: Three pots of mints, two Peppermint and on Chocolate Mint. They were not viewable at the time of these photos but they are beginning to make a comeback. Typical of our gardening, when one plant suffers, another will take it's place. The mint on the left produced the "tall large dark green leaved plant", a white Nicotiana that grew from a stray seed fro a couple of years ago. The middle mint has a large red impatiens growing from it, probably a stray seed from the impatiens above it. Another red impatiens is growing from the mint on the right. A cutting of the Summer -blooming Shrimp Plant is to the left of this last mint pot.
First tier left to right: An Aloe vera that can't be seen form the outside, a large pink impatiens, four pots of red impatiens that didn't survive being wet all weekend but making a comeback, a cutting of the firecracker vine, Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) climbing up the left side of the white post bushing out at the feeder, Trumpet (Coral) Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) and chives.
Second tier left to right: Mexican Oregano, Pink Double-bloom Impatiens, Golden Shrimp Plant (Pachystachys lutea) cutting, Spider Plant, Scullcap cutting, C. llava cutting, Pineapple Salvia (Salvia elegans), miniature yellow Mum, and Thyme.
Top tier: Red Abutillon cuttings, Victoria Blue Salvia, Sizzler Red Salvia, Purple Snapdragons, Wild Coffee with C. ignea growing from seeds spread from the plant above, and Blue butterfly Flower (Clerodendrum ugandense) also in bloom since this photo was taken.
Left of the white post: Victoria Blue Salvia, Sizzler Red Salvia, Purple Snapdragons, Gardenia with a pink Nicotiana growing from old seeds in the reused potting soil, Flamingo Flower (Justicia Carnea) this plant was listed as a Jacobinia sp. when we purchased it but I've most recently seen it listed as Brazilian Plume Flower - (Justicia Carnea). Also hiding behind these are a Rosemary and a Bay tree. Right of the pink nicotiana (hanging down from the balcony) is a Coral Bush (Russelia sarmentosa) unfortunately not in bloom at the time of the photo. Hiding behind it is a poinsetta (from Christmas), a pink impatiens, and a full grown Golden shrimp Plant. On the railing is one pot with a red abutillon being taken over by Cigar Plants that seeded themselves when the mother plant was hanging above this pot.
Other plants of intrest that can't be seen in the photo: A Fire Bush (Hamelia patens) off the far left side, Tropical Sage growing like weeds in most pots, 6 orchids, a large growing burgandy salvia (I think it may be Van Hout's), and a tall growing bush that may be in the Cestrum family. It has 1 to 1 1/2 inch narrow tubular flowers and looks like a hummer plant but the only nursery I've seen it at did not know what it was.
My philosphy on spacing plants:
If the instructions say "Space four feet apart", I read it to mean 2 feet on each side. Of course, I ignore the 2 feet needed by the next plant. I feel they'll do what they can to prove the "Survival of the fittest" theory. They fight to fill every possible opening of daylight. They look great as a group, but if one is removed, it doesn't exactly have the nice look you expect from a "bush".