Best Flowers for Window Boxes — 6 Lively Blooms Pro Gardeners Use to Add Character to a Home's Façade

These vibrant blossoms will give the exterior a decorative touch, and boost your home's curb appeal

a window box with flowers and ivy
(Image credit: Contained Creations)

With the summer season making an appearance, it's key to take care of your colorful blooms, wherever they may be. From blossoming beauties in backyard patios to precious flowers in window boxes — without a doubt, these delicate blooms will add style and character to your home.

When choosing the best flowers for window boxes, it's important to consider one thing and that is: sunlight exposure. Depending on the type of flower, blooms that prefer shade might get scorched in high levels of sun exposure. 'One thing to consider while choosing these flowers for window boxes is the sunlight exposure in your window,' says Kat Aul Cervoni, landscape designer and founder of Staghorn NYC and The Cultivation by Kat. 'Too much light and the plants are susceptible 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.'

So what are the best flowers for window boxes? If you're keen to explore this container gardening practice, we've created an insider guide into charming flowers that will brighten up your space with character and grace.

How to choose flowers for window boxes

Window boxes are a great way to add a decorative touch to the exterior of your home, as well as framing your view out with beautiful flowers and plants. However, as they so directly affect your home's curb appeal, you'll need to choose window box ideas that look good all year round.

That means considering when the plant's flowering season is, whether you're choosing annuals that need to be replaced after they've had their time, or how to plant up perennials that complement each other and ensure interest season after season. You may also want to combine your short-lived annuals or perennials alongside more evergreen offerings, so there's never a moment your window boxes feel unloved.

And, don't forget, not only are window box flowers beautiful to look at, but depending on the type, they can add a luxurious scent into your home.

1. Petunias

Petunias in a window box in soft sunlight on a cream wall background in summertime,

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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. Generally, petunias are easy to care for, but it is essential to remember these annual flowers love a well-drained soil and lots of sunlight.

‘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,' Diane Blazek from the National Garden Bureau tells us.

Petunias come in a wide range of colors and varieties such as trailing and upright —and depending on your style and preference, you can choose the one that is best suited for you. These delightful blooms are also known to make an appearance throughout the spring and summer. So get ready for these colorful delights in your window boxes!

Hardiness zones: 9 to 11 (According to United States Department of Agriculture)
Soil type: Well-drained, moist
Type: Tender perennials, but are mostly grown as annuals
Sun exposure: At least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day

2. Touch-Me-Not (Mimosa pudica)

A close-up of a blossoming branch of sensitive plant, a type of mimosa that is a traditional remedy for venereal disease.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sensitive to the touch, this plant does not pose a lot of hassle, and is a great flower for low maintenance gardens. All it needs is 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, landscape designer and founder of Staghorn NYC and The Cultivation by Kat. '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 it naturally, consider mixing coffee grounds, banana peels, eggshells, and green tea in the potting mix.

Hardiness zones: 7–13
Soil type: Well-draining, Loamy soil
Type: Annual or short-lived perennial
Sun exposure: Provide bright, indirect light

3. Pansies (Viola tricolor var. hortensis)

Close-up of window box decorated with pansies

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Pansies are not only one of the best flowers for the window box but are also ideal for the fall season. These are great main-theme flowers and can upgrade the look of your flower beds planted along the window.

'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.

Hardiness zones: 7 to 10
Soil type: Rich, well-drained
Type: Short-lived perennials
Sun exposure: About 6 hours of partial sun

4. Geraniums (Pelargonium)

Window with window box and geraniums

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Easy to grow, easy to love, and easy to look after, geraniums make for popular urban gardening varieties, and look pretty in hanging baskets.

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.’

Hardiness zones: 3-9
Soil type: Well-draining
Type: Most are grown as annuals. However, they are perennials in Zones 10-11
Sun exposure: 4-6 hours of full sunlight a day

5. Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)

Fresh Rosemary Herb grow outdoor.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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. If you're a fan of herbs, you can also learn how to grow cilantro, which is a great window box addition.

Hardiness zones: Zone 7
Soil type: Well-drained, loamy,
Type: Perennial
Sun exposure: At least six hours of direct sunlight

6. Fuchsias

Fuchsia is a genus of flowering plants that consists mostly of shrubs or small trees.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Does you window 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. These flowers are a big garden trend and look great every year. 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.'

Hardiness zones: Some Fuchsia are tender and tolerate zone 10-11. Others are half-hardy and survive cooler climates in USDA zones 9-10
Soil type: Moist but Well-Drained,
Type: Tender perennials
Sun exposure: Full morning sunlight and afternoon shade

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.

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Freelance writer

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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