Not only do window boxes go a long way in adding curb appeal to a home, they’re also great for apartment dwellers who still wish to indulge a green thumb. Whether placed outside a window, on a balcony or even inside, a window box with a pretty mix of plants, flowers or herbs can bring cheerfulness and color to any environment. Here are a few tips to ensure you love the outcome.
Consider the Conditions
Before you begin, evaluate the amount of light your window box location receives on a daily basis to determine what kind of plants you need. Boxes in full sun – with six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day – are ideal for tough, sun-loving plants, such as petunia and sweet potato vine. Shady or partially shady areas that may only receive afternoon sun call for plants that thrive in shady conditions, like impatiens and caladium. When you’re at the nursery, be sure to read labels for sun requirements and select plants with similar needs.
Select Your Plants
Combining flowering plants with attractive foliage will add a variety of color and texture to your window box. But before we get into specifics, there are a few things you should keep in mind while selecting plants:
- You may lose light in a window if you choose plants that grow too high, so consider scale.
- The higher your window boxes are the bolder in bloom you should go. Plants with fine texture – small leaves and blooms – will be lost in a window box that’s mounted on a second level.
- Symmetry is key. Pick just a few plants that you can repeat in your design
The old adage – thriller, filler and spiller – still applies here. Mix things up by selecting a mix of trailers, upright plants and filler plants. You can’t beat classics, such as geraniums, ivy, marigolds and coleus. However, don’t be afraid to think outside the, uh, window box for a look that’s a little more unexpected.
If your box is in a particularly sunny, dry site, consider drought-tolerant succulents. These hardy plants can withstand high heat and go days without a long drink of water. Available in a variety of colors, sizes and textures, succulents make quite an artful display.
Succulents: Echeveria, Hens & Chicks, Cotyledon, Angelina Sedum & Blue Spruce Stonecrop
If you like to cook, try planting herbs and vegetables. Imagine simply reaching outside your window for wonderful edible accents to add to your meal. Rosemary, thyme, sage and lavender don’t like to be overwatered and do well together while basil, cilantro and mint keep each other in check. Small varieties of vegetables, such as lettuces, sweet and hot peppers and cherry tomatoes all thrive in window boxes.
Vegetable, herb & flower box: Fern Leaf Dill, Purple Basil, Dianthus, Chocolate Mint, Mint, Sage, Lobelia, Hot Pepper Plants
Arrange and Plant
Experiment with your arrangement a little bit before you take the plants out of their pots. The tallest plants go in the back, trailing plants should hang over the front and sides and the fluffy plants should fill in the empty spaces up front. When you’re ready, slip plants out of their pots, gently untangle roots and place in a hole the depth of the pots they came in. The best plan of attack is to start planting from the middle of the box and work outwards. Fill spaces between plants with soil and pack down gently. The final step is to give it a good watering.
Semi-sun mix: Pink, Purple & Yellow Petunias, Sweet William, White Begonias, Mini Dracaena, Gardenia branches
Maintain Your Box
Depending on the weather conditions, you’ll need to water your window box every two to three days – daily in hot, dry weather – soaking the soil completely. For best results, use a water-soluble flowering plant fertilizer once a week, but it’s not absolutely necessary if you’re a low-maintenance kind of gardener. Trim dead flowers and straggly parts to encourage new growth and replace plants that perish to keep your window box looking its best.
We hope you find planting your window box a fun and creative experience. The most important thing to remember is to do what appeals to you, so you can enjoy your window box all season long.
For even more ideas and inspiration, check out our Window Boxes board on Pinterest.