Window boxes are like jewelry for your house. They are a fun way to add a pop of color and interest to your home, as well as improve curb appeal.
A concern with window boxes, as with all container gardens, is drainage. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes in your window boxes so that the roots of your flowers aren’t going to rot from standing in super wet soil for an extended time. It is a good idea to put an inch or so of stone in the bottom of the window box for the same reason. Then, fill your window box with good potting soil.
Now that you are ready to plant, check your location first. Are your window boxes in full sun all day with southern exposure? Or are they on the north side of your house and receive only indirect light or shade all day? The amount of sunlight is critical when choosing which plants will do well in your window boxes.
Another factor to consider when choosing plants is the distance from the window box the viewer is. If you will only be viewing the window boxes from a distance, you might want to choose flowers that are bright and colorful so they show up even if you aren’t that close. On the other hand, if your entry sidewalk is right next to the window boxes, it can give you the opportunity to use softer colors and more textural interest. Don’t forget that you will also be viewing from inside the house. The plants have to look good from both sides. Consider adding some flowers that attract butterflies so you can see them close up from inside.
Here are some suggestions for plants that will make your window boxes spectacular!
Shade window boxes:
- Coleus. The flowers on the coleus are secondary to the foliage. Coleus is available in all different shapes of leaves–from lacy and delicate to large and thick. The one thing all coleus varieties have in common is the vibrant colors of the foliage. Available in colors from soft pinks to deep magentas, from almost black to vivid lime greens, the color patterns and variations are amazing. They will produce flowers, but who needs them when you have this spectacular foliage!
- Impatiens. This is a dependable flower for shade that will bloom all summer. Impatiens grow into mounds of flowers in shades of white, pink and purple. They are easy care and don’t require deadheading. Plant as a mix of colors or choose your favorite color. Impatiens are a great choice if your window boxes are in shade.
- Begonias. This flower is also very shade-tolerant and will bloom all summer. The original varieties were an upright variety, but today the draping variety is becoming increasingly popular. It is especially nice in the window box covered with begonia blooms and draped over the sides of the box.
- Fuchsias. Fuchsias are most commonly used in hanging baskets, but they are equally lovely in a window box. The stems are gracefully arching with beautiful large flowers in shades of white, pink and purple.
Sun-Loving Window Boxes:
- Geraniums. Geraniums have been a favorite for window boxes forever. Their thick foliage gives a lush full look and the flower heads are held on stems above the foliage for the most impact. Today’s geraniums come in a wide range of colors.
- Zinnias. Zinnia seeds are easy to grow and the plants come in all sizes, including window box size. They can be sown directly in the soil or started indoors for earlier flowering. They are so bright and cheerful. They are like a carnival in a box!
- Salvia. Salvia is a great window box flower. The blooms are held upright over the foliage and last for days. An added bonus if you choose salvias: They are a favorite of hummingbirds.
- Petunias. Petunias are another old favorite for window boxes. They will grow into a huge mound of large flowers in almost every color. As they grow, they will cascade over the side of your window box for a fabulous display of flowers.
Herb Window Boxes:
- Lavender. Don’t forget herbs when planting your window boxes. Plant lavender seeds for your boxes and enjoy their beauty and their scent. Harvest them and use the dried flowers throughout the winter.
- Thyme. This is another herb to use in the window box. It is a calming presence next to the multicolored zinnias or with salvia. Don’t forget that if your window box is going to include edible plants, you need to use organic flowers and vegetable seeds. A window box completely planted with herbs located under a kitchen window would be perfect!
Tip: Don’t forget to water often. Window boxes will dry out faster than plants in the ground. Also, since the water can leach out the nutrients of the soil, fertilize regularly for the best-looking plants.