Window Boxes for Color and Joy


Everyone responds happily to window boxes. Plant yours with care and enjoy them all summer.

By FamilyTime

 

Attaching window boxes to your house adds to its appeal and will make you smile when you come home at the end of the day. There’s something about colorful flowers and healthy foliage that is especially welcoming.

Window boxes are not hard to mount, nor are they tricky to maintain, but they do require some care. Nothing is sadder than an empty window box or one filled with brown and dying plants.

To Mount the Box

Depending on the kind of windows you have, the window box should be hung one or two inches below the sill or as much as eight inches. Double-hung and sliding windows open in such a way that the box can be mounted close to the sill; casement and windows that swing out to open mean that the box should be mounted well below the window.

Most window boxes require two brackets, although those that measure four feet or longer will need three or four brackets.

Measure carefully and then affix the brackets with decking screws that are two-and-a-half to three inches long. You will probably want to use a cordless drill with a Phillips tip to do this.

Before you set the box on the brackets, make sure it has drainage holes. If it does not, make a few so that water can easily escape. Depending on what the box is made of, you may want to line the box with plastic or metal. Be sure to punch holes in these liners, too.

To Plant the Box

It’s a good idea to spread a layer of gravel on the bottom of the box to help with drainage. Next add potting soil that you have bought at a garden shop or nursery. Explain that you want it for window boxes and you will get soil with a good balance of soil, peat moss or similar, and perlite.

Fill the boxes about three-quarters full with the soil. You are now ready to plant.

Place the plants, still in their little containers, on top of the soil to see how they look next to each other. Take color, size, and shape into consideration.

Put tall plants at the back of the box, flowering ones in the middle, and hanging ivy or similar foliage in the front so that it can tumble down from the sides.

Starting at the center of the box and working out to the sides, insert the plants in the soil. Pack the soil firmly around them so that they stay in place.

Scatter a layer of bark mulch over the top of the planted soil. Water the window boxes thoroughly, using a gentle spray so as not to dislodge the newly planted residents.

To Select Plants

Most folks fill window boxes with colorful, easy-to-care-for blooms. Other ideas are herbs—particularly nice in a kitchen window box—and vines with variegated leaves. Or a combination of all of the above.

Make note of when the sun hits the window and for how long. This should determine the plants you choose.

Some popular and successful plants are geraniums, impatiens, pansies, zinnia, salvia, petunias, and fuchsia. Sweet potato vines, English ivy, coleus and dracaena are nice vines and foliage.

If you want a window box with edible plants, consider cherry tomatoes, small peppers, strawberries, and herbs such as thyme, rosemary, basil, and parsley.

To Care for Window Boxes

Once the window boxes are planted, water them often. You may not need to do so everyday, but like any container garden, they dry out fairly quickly. Check them every day or two and give them a good dousing. On the other hand, don’t overwater them.

Fertilize the window boxes about once a month. Containers don’t benefit from the same nutrients found in gardens and so need a little extra boost to keep the flowers blooming and foliage green and robust.

Enjoy your window boxes all summer long. Revitalize them with fall flowers come September and in the winter take them down or shield them with branches from evergreen trees.