These best flowers for window boxes will bring colorful plant life into your home, even if you don’t have a garden. Consider these blooms and greens to brighten the exterior of your home or apartment.
'One thing to consider is the sunlight exposure for window box plantings,' says Kat Aul Cervoni, landscape designer and founder of Staghorn NYC and The Cultivation by Kat. 'Think of the implications of the amount of sunlight and how much watering will be required given that window boxes are relatively small and shallow, so are subject to drying out pretty quickly. So, for folks with extra-sunny exposures, it may be prudent to choose particularly water-savvy plants, such as sedums and succulents, or else watering might be a daily duty.'
For more tips on container gardening, we reached out to top experts, and this is what they told us about the best varieties for window boxes.
This plant does not pose a lot of hassle but does require a nice dose of sun for good growth.
'Touch-me-not plants (Mimosa pudica) love lots of sunlight and moist-but-well-draining soil,' says Kat Aul Cervoni. 'Place these low-maintenance plants near eastern or south-facing windows for a daily dose of rays to prevent them from closing up and also help with blooming. Be wary of fertilizer-enriched potting soil mixes as they may be too rich for them.'
If you prefer to fertilize houseplants naturally, consider mixing coffee grounds, banana peels, eggshells, and green tea in the potting mix.
Pansies are not only one of the best flowers for the window box but are also ideal fall flowers to plant. These are great main-theme flowers and can upgrade the look of your exteriors.
'Pansies offer a wide range of vibrant colors and are well-suited to the confined space of window boxes,' says Reese L Robins, a gardening expert at Just Pure Gardening. 'They provide a burst of seasonal color and are relatively easy to care for. Incorporating a mix of other flowers allows you to create visually appealing and ever-changing displays throughout the year.'
One thing to keep in mind before choosing flowers is 'to consider the aesthetic appeal and color coordination to enhance your home's curb appeal,' says Reese.
If you’re after all-year-round color, then consider planting annuals in your window box. ‘Annuals are probably best for color as they bloom all season long as compared to perennials that go in and out of flower throughout the season,' says Diane Blazek from the National Garden Bureau tells us.
Perhaps the most common flower trend spotted blooming in window boxes is the much-loved Petunia. The bright and beautiful florals are a sure-fire way to add some color to the outside of your home. But just be warned: the annual flower loves regular watering and sunlight.
Easy to grow, easy to love, and easy to look after, geraniums make for popular options in hanging baskets for more reasons than one.
The vitamin D-loving flower, which is more informally known as cranesbills, is believed to have more than 422 species and it comes in a variety of shades, including red and white, orange and yellow, pink, violet and lilac, so there's something to suit every modern front garden color scheme.
For other sun-loving plants, Diane recommends adding, ‘calibrachoa, geraniums, snapdragons, verbena, lantana and shorter varieties of zinnias and marigolds.’
Don't have room for a herb garden? Create your herb garden from your window sill. Coming in handy for cooking, adding rosemary to your window box will give your sill a hit of greenery and leave a pleasant aroma for anyone walking by. Plus, it's also ideal for all those living the good life in a small backyard.
‘Some herbs like basil and rosemary are good fillers and oregano and thyme as spillers,' says Diane. Or learn how to grow cilantro for another window box addition.
Does your window box get more shade than the sun? Consider adding bright and beautiful shade-loving florals to your window with a perennial like the much-loved fuchsia.
The exotic-looking flower, which looks like little hanging lanterns, tends to trail (although they can grow upright with a little bit of TLC) making for the perfect addition to hanging baskets.
'Fuchsia aside, perennials that work well in window boxes include varieties like strawberry, sedum, marigold, creeping jenny, pansy, Ivy, and lavender,' says Reese. 'These plants are not only beautiful but also adapt well to the limited space of window boxes. They're known for their resilience and ability to return year after year, making them a cost-effective and low-maintenance choice for window box gardening. Their trailing or compact growth habits add a lovely dimension to your windowsill garden.'
It’s not just flowers and herbs that you can fill your window box with. To help decorate the space and add some greenery to your window sills that will improve your home's curb appeal, consider adding evergreen fillers to your box.
According to Diane, ‘Sweet potato vines, ivies, vinca minor, creeping Jenny, and other trailing foliage or blooming plants, would work well.
How many flowers should you put in a window box?
‘There are two things one needs to know first to figure out how many flowers are needed,' Diane says. 'First, what size (height and width) are the flowers you wish to use? Secondly, how long and deep is your window box? '
For a window box, you can position each plant closer together than what the tag or label suggests. Just know that some plants are more aggressive growers so they may outgrow their neighbors.
'A little trial and error goes a long way in learning what works best together but to start, and in general terms, you can place one plant every 6” in a window box, going right to the ends to make the box look full and lush,’ says Diane.
How can you keep flowers alive in a window box?
Once you’ve gone through all that trouble of finding the right flowers for your window box, it’s now time to think about their aftercare.
To help keep your flowers alive, Diane recommends thinking about three things. This includes:
- Know the amount of sun your window box will get.
- Water the right amount depending on the amount of sun and the types of plants but make sure the window box has good drainage.
- Fertilize blooming plants for season-long flowers.
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Becks is a freelance lifestyle writer who works across a number of Future's titles. This includes Real Homes, Top Ten Reviews, Tom's Guide, TechRadar and more. She started her career in print journalism at a local newspaper more than 8 years ago and has since then worked across digital and social media for food, fashion and fitness titles, along with home interior magazines. Her own interior style? She's big on creating mindful spaces in every corner of her home. If it doesn't spark joy or happiness, it has no place here. When she’s not writing, she’s reading and when she’s not reading, she’s writing.
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