Window box gardening has been widely used for decades in urban, suburban and rural locations. Boxes come in myriad shapes, sizes and colors and can be used in almost any space, large or small. Made from clay, plastic, fiberglass and even wood, window box ideas add charm to windows as well as balconies when filled with colorful flowers and plants.
Window boxes made of softwood or hardwood are easy to paint or stain so they blend in with the color of your house and its trim. Plastic, metal, terra-cotta, or concrete can work also, but are in some ways harder to use. Boxes should equal the length of your window, and have plenty of room for plants to grow. A common size is a box at least 8 inches deep and 8 inches wide. You will also need brackets to attach the boxes, a supply of potting soil, some water retaining crystals and some mulch to get started. Planting is easy. You can put plants directly into the box, or put a series of already potted flowers into the box. Make sure to pack the soil around the roots and leave about an inch of soil at the top.
After you have done with the preparation of window boxes, you can continue your window box ideas by choosing plants and flower. You can create a mix of flowers and plants to your liking in all kinds of color combinations. Many people like to mix compact upright plants that grow tall enough to be seen without blocking the window, along with filler plants, bulbs and trailers. Juxtaposing bright colors and softer ones along with varied leaf and vine patterns is key to a lovely design. Common window box plantings include pansies, petunias and impatiens as well as geraniums and lobelia. All of these come in many shades and you can mix one or two kinds of flowers in multiple shades, or use different plants in similar shades. Another kind of design might use a variety of ivies mixed with a very bright colored flower. You can plant tulips and daffodils in spring, and then change to summer flowers. You can also plant a variety of herbs. It is fun also to have some trailing plants and vines that cascade over the boxes and create contrast with their colors. Sweet potato vines are a good example of this, with a yellow green color that trails over the edge of the window box.
Maintaining the plantings is the important thing to do after you choose the plant for your window box. Each plant has different needs for light (direct or indirect) and water (anywhere from often to once a week). So select your flowers with those in mind. For low maintenance you could choose a mix of one or two continuously blooming plants like marigolds, nasturtiums, geraniums, or impatiens. You can also plant things for a shady spot if you don’t have a lot of sun. Good choices include coleus, which comes in many patterns with the reds or greens dominant. Also consider trailing ivies and the many varieties of impatiens. New Zealand impatiens, for example, can handle a good deal more sun than some other varieties. Of course, you need to water carefully, especially in summer when there is a lot of sunshine and heat. Flowering plants get very thirsty in summer and sometimes need daily watering. You can use most kinds of plant food. Usually these are mixed with water and added every week or so, sometimes every couple of weeks.
Window boxes are convenient ways to have a variety of plant displays that allow you to add some color to the outside of your home and show a bit of your personality. If you live in an apartment and do not have a yard, then window box ideas allow you to have a green thumb in the middle of the city.