Best Secrets of Winning Window Boxes
Even the most accomplished container gardeners are impressed when they encounter a full, lush, well-designed window box. Why? Because anyone who has planted and cared for one knows that a window box presents certain challenges.
First, there’s that odd shape to deal with. Usually long and narrow, window boxes seem to inhibit even the most daring designers, who inevitably fall back on a row of geraniums or a few cell packs of pansies.
Maintenance is another issue: watering without spattering the house, the windows, or passersby; deadheading, and managing to keep the show going despite a small growing area. These are all hurdles, but surmountable ones.
Before buying any Flowers or plants—or even the container—decide where your window box will be placed. Keep in mind that those sitting on a window ledge will obscure part of the view, more so as the plants fill out. This is desirable if you’re trying to obliterate an offending view, but less so if you want to see beyond the box to the rest of your garden.
A box mounted below a window is ideal but requires non-gardening-related skills such as drilling and measuring. Select a location where watering will not damage nearby surfaces (e.g., not above a dining table or wicker chair).
Tools and Materials
- Window box
- Preparing blend for holders
- Water source and watering can
- Plants with alluring blossoms and foliage
- Blooming plant compost, water-solvent
Design Principles Boxes For Flowers
Blend plants in with trailing, spiky upstanding, and “fleecy” development propensities, just as enormous, medium, and little leaves. Pick a shading plan or shading blends that supplement your home or scene. Red, yellow, orange, splendid pink, and white look great from a separation, while blue, purple, and dim green show best in short proximity.
1. Add Potting Mix Soil
Buy a sterile preparing blend containing peat, perlite, and different fixings that improve seepage, air circulation, fruitfulness, and water-holding limit. Consider utilizing a water-retaining polymer to diminish watering recurrence. Fill your window box about half full with the preparing blend, and add water to dampen the blend if it’s dry. Try not to utilize standard nursery soil.
2. Include the Plants or Flowers
Plan to separate plants around 2 to 5 creeps in the case, contingent upon their development size. Slip plants out of their pots without pulling on the stems and delicately unravel any orbiting roots. Set the tallest plants, for example, geraniums, in the rear of the container. Let the trailing plants, for example, lobelia, hang over the front and sides.
Fill in with cushy plants, for example, pansies or impatiens. Occupy the spaces between plants with soil blend, tapping tenderly. Water altogether to settle the dirt. Make certain to keep window box planters watered. When the dirt dries out after a couple of days, water again, dousing with a stream from the hose or by filling and letting sit for 15 minutes.
3. Keep up the Plants
Window boxes require visit watering – regularly every day in a blistering, dry climate. Douse the dirt totally at each watering. Utilize a water-solvent blossoming plant compost broken up at one-quarter quality once every week or as per bundle directions. Trim dead blossoms and messy development and supplant plants that die or look ratty. Evacuate a few plants if the container turns out to be excessively packed or requires watering too oftentimes.
Choose your Container with Care Planters
Next, choose your container, keeping proportion in mind. A box sitting atop a window ledge should almost fill its length: too short and it will look skimpy. The same goes for a box hanging below a window. If space allows, it could even extend beyond the width of a window for a more generous look. Naturally, the deeper the container, the more space there is for roots to spread out and for water retention, but larger boxes are typically heavier, too.
Before installing, determine how much weight your wall and the hanging brackets will tolerate when the soil is fully saturated. Check the packaging with the hanging brackets; sometimes a maximum weight load is provided. Fill one of the boxes with soil, water it well, and lift it (or weigh it on a bathroom scale). Then, estimate if you need more than two brackets or sturdier ones.
Types OF Boxe Container Planters
- Iron Planter Container
- Terracotta Planter Container
- PVC Planter Container
Look for practical materials that suit the style of your house. Those commonly used include plastic, metal, and wood, and each has its merits and drawbacks.
Plastic is lightweight and versatile, but not always the most aesthetically pleasing option (dark-colored plastic can heat up in the sun, which may cause plant roots to cook). However, if a plastic window box is disguised with trailing plants, both problems are solved.
Metal is lightweight and attractive but, like plastic, offers little in the way of insulation for plants. The relaxed style of a moss-lined wire basket suits cottages and informal settings. Unfortunately, it can be prone to drying out. Add a sheet of clear plastic between the moss and soil to slow evaporation (punch a few holes in the bottom to allow any excess water to drain away).
A moss-lined basket is also relatively lightweight and easy to hang. Long, narrow willow baskets (such as those used to serve bread) are another option. These don’t require moss, just a plastic liner to hold the soil.
Custom-made wooden window boxes can be a costly alternative, but they are certainly beautiful additions to a home’s facade. Wood offers good insulating properties, can be made to any size and can be enhanced with trim, molding, and paint to match your house. For ease of planting in wooden boxes that are permanently mounted below a window, first, create your arrangement in a rigid plastic liner, then drop it inside the box.
Make sure the top rim of the liner sits level (or slightly below) the top of the box. (A liner also prevents damp soil from coming in contact with the wood.) In winter, fill wooden boxes with arrangements of berried branches and evergreen boughs.
Care & Maintenance of Window Boxes
Whatever type of window box you use, make sure excess water will easily drain away. A 90-centimeter-long box needs two or three drainage holes. Place squares of fiberglass screening (the kind sold in the screen door and window repair kits) or some other porous material over the holes before filling the box with soil. Do not use pot shards or gravel, which take up valuable space and do nothing to improve the drainage.
- Fill the container with lightweight potting soil or soilless mix.
- Plant closely so your box looks lush and generous right away. Don’t be afraid to gently squeeze a root ball to make it fit.
- Avoid placing trailing plants close to the front edge. Instead, give them more stability by sitting them midway back to let their long stems thread through plants at the front and over the edge.
- If you want to encourage a soft-stemmed, upright plant, such as coleus, to spill over the front edge, tip its root ball at an angle when planting so the stems lean forward.
- Apply transplanter solution according to the manufacturer’s directions to get plants off to a fast start. Once you notice new growth, begin fertilizing lightly and frequently: once a week with a water-soluble product designed for flowering plants, diluted to at least half the recommended concentration. (For example, if the label calls for 15 milliliters of fertilizer per two liters of water, use 15 milliliters per four liters or more.) A balanced formula or one with a slightly higher amount of phosphorus (the middle number) is fine. If you’re using potting soil that includes time-released fertilizer, you probably won’t need to start feeding until midsummer.
- Deadhead regularly and ruthlessly. This keeps your display looking tidy and encourages plants to produce more flowers.
- If one plant starts to take over (such as English ivy, coleus, New Wave petunias, or sweet potato vines), don’t be afraid to cut it back.
- Checkboxes daily to ensure soil is kept consistently moist from top to bottom.
Mounting Window Boxes For Flowers
Most window ledges dip down ever so slightly in front to prevent water from standing on the surface. Before positioning a planter box on a window ledge, you may want to put a couple of stoppers on its bottom front edge to prevent slippage.
If you’re mounting a window box on a wall, use L-shaped brackets beneath the box rather than trying to attach its backside directly to the wall. Brackets underneath provide more stability and can be decorative. Use wood screws for wooden siding, or drill holes and use a masonry anchor to hold screws in mortar or brick.
Foolproof Plant Combos in Window Boxes
The fancier your window box, the simpler the planting should be. For example, an ornate, embossed metal or terra-cotta box filled with clipped boxwood spheres or spiky blue fescue grass looks understated and elegant.
However, most window boxes call for a collection of trailing and upright plants. Depending on the size of the container and restraint of the gardener, usually, four or five types of plants offer enough variety (more and the collection loses its focus). Don’t rely just on flowers for interest; foliage plants offer an array of textures and leaf shapes, which prevents a mix of plants from looking too busy.
Aim for a Balanced— Not Necessarily Symmetrical—Look
There is no rule that says plants in window boxes need to look like soldiers standing at attention: a long row of red geraniums faced with a long row of trailing lobelia can be boring. If you’re using one tall specimen as a focal point, try positioning it one-third in from either end and let shorter ones slope down on either side. Group similar plants together instead of scattering them throughout the box to create a more graphic, dramatic look. Trailing types don’t need to be evenly spaced across the front: let random areas of the front of the box peek through.
Some Combinations of Beautiful Window Boxes to Try:
Japanese painted fern, miniature blue-leafed hosta, asparagus fern, and one dramatic caladium
Pink verbena, white and pink impatiens, tri-colored sweet potato vine, white bacopa
Purple-leafed coral bells, purple trailing sedum, parrot’s beak (Lotus berthelotii)
For part Sun:
Purple heliotrope, yellow trailing snapdragon, white lantana, English ivy, Australian fan flower, pale yellow petunia, blue Nierembergia
For a part to the full sun:
Trailing rosemary, culinary sage, chives, flat-leafed parsley, small ornamental kale
Golden creeping Jenny, yellow French marigolds, yellow-and-white variegated coleus, Bidens
Leatherleaf Sedge, gold lantana, creeping zinnia, orange dahlia, red nasturtium