Window Boxes

Window Box PerfectionWindow boxes are a unique way to add color to your house, balcony or patio.  They can be attached to windowsills or hung over railings. Packed with beautiful colors and trailing vines they will complement any landscape or outdoor decor.

3 Things to Keep in Mind

There are a few important factors to keep in mind while you plan your window box. The first is where it will be placed. Make sure you know how much light it will receive throughout the day. Then use plants that will thrive in that environment. The second factor to consider is how you will water. It might be tempting to place a window box on a high window, but if you cannot regularly reach it to water the plants will not survive. Are you willing to fill up a watering can, walk it through the house and pour it out the window if water is not easily accessible? The third is color. What colors do you want to accent? The color of the house, the garden or both? Remember that both foliage and flowers can be used to create the color palate you want to use.

Recommended PlantsCharleston Window Boxes

Shape is also an important part of a window box. Southern Living reminds gardeners that you will want to use plants that both trail and mound for a full looking window box.  Ivy, sweet potato vine, vinca and lobelia are excellent trailing plants to use in window boxes. Depending on the variety, nasturtiums either clump or trail making either choice appropriate for window boxes. They also have brightly colored flowers that add and eye-catching flair.  Coleus are foliage plants that add texture and color to a window box. Better Homes and Gardens recommends petunias and geraniums for a “no fail” plant to use in sunny spots. They require little care and thrive in the heat.  You can even grow herbs outside of a kitchen window. They will be convenient for easy harvesting as you cook. Thyme and oregano will trail beautifully in a window box. Sage can add a beautiful silvery color. Begonias are another easy to care for flower with interesting foliage that will add to the texture of a window box. Impatiens can be a colorful choice for window boxes in shady spaces. If you would like to know more about a particular flower, Cornell University Flower Growing Guides is an excellent resource. You can look up the flower by name and find its characteristics and any special considerations.


Be sure to use a potting soil that will encourage good drainage. Also, make sure the window box you use allows for proper drainage. Some window boxes may trap the water causing the potting medium to remain wet resulting in root rot. Before you water check the soil a few inches down and make sure that it is mostly dry before adding water.

As you plan your window box choose plants that will grow well together in the available light giving shape, form and color. With some planning and minimal care you can have beautiful window boxes all summer long. Do you have a favorite flower to grow in a window box?

Photo “Window box perfection” courtesy of Rachel Kramer  

Photo “Charleston Window Boxes” courtesy of Calvin Dellinger

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