Planting in Window Boxes
Window boxes are a great way to add a little bit of color and liveliness, without taking a lot of space. The perfect soil, the right flowers, and a sunny window sill can lead to a beautiful floral display.
Window boxes are just large enough to allow us the opportunity to display our planting skills, and just small enough to allow us to do it in relative ease.
Pick Your Colors
Remember that young healthy plants transplant the easiest, and make your purchases accordingly. Plants and flowers of complimentary colors create the best visual effect.
TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Rachel Klein adds, "Red, yellow, orange, bright pink, and white look good from a distance, while blue, purple, and dark green show best at close range."
Select the Arrangement
Taller growth should be placed in the back of the window box, while trailing plants, such as vines, look best at the sides.
Window boxes allow you to place plants closely together. Keep in mind, however, the location of the window box when selecting your plants. If the box is to be placed outside of a window, then tall plants are not a good idea.
TIP: Rachel suggests, "If you have extremely limited space, choose dwarf varieties of plants so that you can still enjoy them. Many herbs, including rosemary, basil, and parsley, come in dwarf varieties. Avoid plants that take over such as ivy, mint, and lavender.""
Choose Your Plants
A variety of flowers and plants will do well in window boxes, including many typical houseplants. Annuals love the comfort of window boxes. In fact, a window box makes an excellent location for a mini herb garden or a small vegetable garden.
TIP: Rachel recommends, "If you're not certain which plants to buy, bring your window box to the nursery and arrange the potted plants inside. See what looks best before you buy!"
Create the Best "Soil"
Due to their limited size, window boxes require a soil-less mix or potting mix that will encourage the plants to grow. A soil-less mix provides better aeration for the roots, as well as better drainage, while retaining the necessary water.
TIP: Rachel adds, "Potting mix containing peat, perlite, and other ingredients improves growth, fertility, and water-holding capacity."
Added fertilizer provides the little extra kick the plants need for continuous blooming and sturdy root growth.
In fact, using a mix of vermiculite and peat moss will ensure the window box does not become overly waterlogged or too heavy for its placement. Using stones at the bottom of the window box for drainage is unnecessary, especially when a soil-less mix is used.
Choose the Box
Selection of the window box is actually quite simple, even though a large variety of sizes and styles exist. Simply go with your personal taste and the theme of your yard or garden. Pick something that you like and a style that fits in with the existing features of the outside of your home. Make sure the box you choose is at least 8 inches wide and deep. If being placed underneath a window, choose a box a few inches smaller than the width of your window for the best appearance.
TIP: Rachel advises, "Plan to set plants about 2 to 5 inches apart in the box, depending on their mature size. Fill the spaces between them with soil mix and water thoroughly to settle the soil. In hot, sunny weather, window boxes will require freequent, perhaps even daily, watering. If the box becomes too heavy, or requires too frequent watering remove some plants."
Since window boxes are no longer limited to hanging outside the window, you can be creative and select different sizes and scatter them appropriately throughout your yard, patio, porch, deck, and even the outside of your windows.
TIP: Rachel adds, "Window boxes can be relatively easy to construct at home for the experienced DIYer."