Can I grow a winter container garden in low light?

I live on Catalina Island and I have a small porch that gets little to no light. I have had some success with container gardens in the summer when I get sun through most of the day, but in winter I get little to no direct sunlight on my porch. Can I grow a winter container garden? Do I need to fertilize more often? Water?

  8 answers
  • Dfm Dfm on Nov 03, 2017
    full spectrum light bulbs..the ones that say daylight on the box. Either in floresent or grow bulbs. Most plants need 6 to 8 hours of light...use a timer. Most plants hibernate during the winter...some cool weather plants like kale or cabbage should do ok. Min. Temp I’ve been told is 60 degree f. Use a proper amount of fertilizer..don’t over do it. More is not better.
  • DebM DebM on Nov 03, 2017
    Plant christmas ferns, different varieties of pothos, heuchera (coral bells) and helleborus (lenten roses). All are evergreen. Lenten roses bloom in winter and have many different color blooms, heuchera has beautiful varieties of foliage that is prettier than the blooms (stalks of little bells). You can always set them out in dappled shade occasionally if you feel the need to give them more light. A mixture of these plants will give you nice container mixtures.
    Post pics of your deep shade container garden design!

    • Tennessee Pinky Tennessee Pinky on Nov 03, 2017
      Excellent suggestions, perhaps I should have specified vegetable garden... You sound very knowledgeable, perhaps you can suggest some?
  • Lucky you! Catalina Island, how fun! Just get a grow light or two. Try not to over fertilize, it will burn the plant roots. Or have your winter garden in a different place? Move to a sunnier location on your property?
  • 27524803 27524803 on Nov 03, 2017
    If you live on Catalina... then the temperatures there do not often get below freezing and frost is not a huge issue. The success of a winter garden is in the choice of plants... those that tolerate cooler temperatures, like those in the northern states where their summers are the same as our winters. (We live in AZ and winter, up until about Feb. is our second growing season)
    Maybe the way to your success is to get the containers off your porch and out into as much sun as the day will give you.
    • Tennessee Pinky Tennessee Pinky on Nov 03, 2017
      Where I live (second floor apt.) I don't have yard to move it to, hence the container. I like your suggestion though, using high north summer plants. I was hoping for spinach and squash?
  • Margolynluvsu Margolynluvsu on Nov 03, 2017
    Low light plants might do it but all plants hibernate in winter.
  • DebM DebM on Nov 03, 2017
    Ahh veggies! Sorry, I can't think of any with such low-light conditions. On a good note, you can add grow light bulbs to almost any fixture so they blend in to your decor subtly and you don't end up looking like an industrial growhouse. They even have LED strips for growing. I'd ask your local extension office if anything will grow in the short days of winter with grow lighting. (Amount of daytime matters as much as warmth.)
  • 27524803 27524803 on Nov 04, 2017
    they grow lots of spinach and squash in northern areas.... also as a space saver... cucumbers, melons, and squash can be grown on a type of trellis... check out for ideas.
    Also since you live on the 2nd floor... did you think about mirrors on the back and side walls of the balcony to multiply the light you do get? They could be thrift store finds or cheap door mirrors... they are for function not aesthetics.