Window Flower Boxes

Nancy Gmeiner
Adams County Master Gardener

Drive down a street and notice the lovely flowers on display under many of the windows. Drive by again to see what kind of flowers and of what material the window boxes are made. Are they metal, wood, plastic or wrought iron with sphagnum moss? All of these mediums will work.

It is important to keep a space between the house and your window boxes so that moisture from watering the plants does not affect the structure. Drainage holes in the boxes will prevent over watering. Filling the boxes with plants, leaving small spaces to grow between plants will result in mounds of flowers dripping with vines a sight to behold!

Purple Cone Flower
Echinacea purpurea

Black-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia hirta

The spring window box is my first one of the year. It bloomed beautifully this year, thanks to the summer sun, water and some fertilizer. It is best to plant in a mixture of 1/3 garden soil, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 compost. You may use landscape fabric also if you wish before putting in the soil. In planting the flowers, plant the tallest in the back - spikes and geraniums work well. Plant vines in the front; good choices are white Nancy, vinca, sweet potato and licorice so they can drape gracefully over the edge. Fill in between with the smaller blossoms such as petunias, pansies, lobelia, impatience, daisies or special blossoms of your choice.

Fall boxes can be a mixture of mums, coleus, and varied leaf plants. You may use a combination of varied leaf specimens instead of flowers if you so choose. If you save the dried stems and blooms from Echinacea (or coneflower as it is sometimes called), you can spray them with a copper paint spray found in the dollar stores and arrange them among green plants in your boxes for an interesting fall look. The stems and blooms from the Black-Eyed Susan work well for this purpose also.

As fall turns into winter, think about pressing boughs of holly, pine and magnolia into your window boxes. This look lasts throughout the winter and allows for the continuation/ beautification of your home through window boxes during the months when most may not consider using them. An added feature for the holidays can include bright balls or pinecones and a ribbon for color. A solar light is a perfect touch that adds a soft glow.

As you can see, you really can garden in a very small space. No need for acreage with open spaces just begging to be landscaped just use the space you have and be creative!

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