Grow these winter flowers for a maintenance-free balcony

Plants grow very little in winter. But whatever size they are, they become striking enough to take centerstage in your balcony garden.
So, here’s what all you can do to have bloomy winters with them :
Make sure you start with proper-sized ones.
  • Use sufficient numbers of plants for the size of a container to make an impact from the very beginning.
  • Position your container where t will get as much sunlight as possible to ensure that your plant remains green and healthy.
  • Water your pots carefully in winter.
  • Smaller plants are more susceptible to over or underwatering.
  • Make sure you check the compost regularly as it can dry out fast.
  • It is not necessary to feed plants in containers during winter. Raise containers off the ground on pot feet or bricks to improve drainage.
Winter blossoms
During winter, the best flowers to grow in Indian climate are petunia, cockscomb, antirrhinum, cineraria, zinnia, calendula, chrysanthemum and marigold. Flower plants need soil up to 5 inches deep. So, all you need to do is take an earthen pot of 6-8 inches, dig a hole in the soil and bury the seed about 2 inches deep. After 6 weeks, you will see the seeds sprout in to saplings.
Flowers to grow in winter season:
Petunia
One of the most popular annual flowering plants, they are quick-growing and known for beautiful blooms in pink, purple, red, white and yellow. Petunia seeds can be sown when temperature is cool. These plants grow between 6 inches to 4 feet and are perfect for hanging baskets and planters. The seeds are very small, so one needs to take extra care while sowing. Prepare the potting mix before sowing the seeds, water and allow the pot to drain. Sprinkle seeds on well-drained soil and gently push them down. Do not cover them with soil, as they need light to germinate. You can use small containers as petunias are low-growers. Light sandy soil is ideal.
Cockscomb or celosia
It is a hardy annual that reaches up to 1.2 metres in height. Celosia plants are also known as cockscomb that flower from summer and continue in to early autumn. They have flowers in yellow or pink. It is best to grow cockscomb plants in large groups. Germination time is five days to two weeks. These require full sunlight or light shade. Ordinary soil will do to sow celosia. Maintain a moist soil with regular watering. These plants require proper light for growth.
Cineraria
These plants are not suited for growing in hot, dry climates. If you are growing cinerarias in the garden, they should be grown in partial to full shade, and planted in slightly acidic, rich, welldrained soil with high compost content. Water them regularly to keep the soil evenly moist. But be careful not to over-water. Cinerarias readily reseed themselves in the garden or even in containers.
Zinnia 
These are easily grown plants known for colourful flowers. Zinnia is propagated directly from seeds. You need to sow the seeds sometime between April and May, when the weather is a bit warm. Spread soil over the seeds in a way that it covers them partially, as they need light to germinate. Make the soil moist and cover the container with a plastic bag to maintain humidity level. Seeds should sprout within a week. Take a medium-sized container with adequate number of holes for drainage. From sandy to loamy, these plants can be grown in any type of soil. Add leaves mold or compost to the soil for better results. Zinnia thrives in full direct sun with some afternoon shade.
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