By: Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)
The addition of containers is a great way to enhance the growing space and add valuable garden real estate. This is especially true for those living in rented houses or apartments with limited outdoor garden options. Plantings placed in window boxes can offer the ideal location to grow ornamental flowers or small vegetable crops.
Many enthusiastic growers have started to bring their gardening skills indoors. The creation of indoor flower boxes is an interesting way to add appeal and interest to indoor spaces. Better still is the fact that kids can enjoy this too.
As the name would imply, indoor flower boxes refer to plants kept indoors directly beneath a window or on a windowsill. Window flower boxes work well for a variety of reasons. While many apartment dwellers may not have any access to green space, a sunny window can provide ample space for a small garden.
Choosing indoor window box planters will take some consideration, but can add style to the home interior.
When it comes making an indoor window box, the options are limitless. If constructing the boxes, you’ll need to take several factors into consideration including size, shape, and depth. While most indoor window box projects are constructed of wood, premade boxes made from a wide range of materials can be purchased and are the easiest route to go.
Regardless of which window box style is selected, containers require drainage holes. This will prevent standing water, as well as potential issues with root rot or various fungal diseases.
To begin making a window box indoors, examine the growing space. Determining how many hours of sunlight the window receives each day is essential in choosing plants to fill the indoor flower boxes.
Next, the window flower box will need to be filled in a quality potting soil. While a well-draining potting mix will be ideal for many plants others, such as cacti and succulents, may have special requirements.
Care and plant maintenance will depend on which plants are selected. Window boxes indoors will require watering as needed. It will be essential that drip trays are used with indoor containers, as draining water can damage indoor furnishings like carpet or wood floors.
Tropical plants may need frequent misting to ensure adequate humidity is achieved. If window box planters do not receive enough sunlight, the addition of a small grow light is also an option.
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Read more about General Houseplant Care
Imagine a window box positioned at the front of your window, cascading with variegated foliage and colorful blooms. Now imagine the beautiful floral scents captured on the breeze as they flow into your home. If this sounds appealing to you, then we have some of the best plants for window boxes to get you started down the journey of window box planting.
Window box flowers not only add curb appeal to your home, but they are also a great way to enjoy nature if you don’t have outdoor space for planting. They are similar to hanging baskets yet are perched directly on the outside of your window. A gorgeous window box brings the beauty of nature so close to your home that you can touch it.
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The first step is to choose your box and where you want to hang it. Don't underestimate how heavy a window box can be—it is filled with soil and plants, and gets even heavier when watered. We recommend buying a sturdy box made of a hardwood like redwood or cedar rather than pine, which rots quickly, and then securing the box with a window box bracket like the Panacea Holdall Flower Box Holder, starting at $14.40, from Amazon.
Always make sure your window box has drainage holes. To aid drainage, place 2 inches of nonbiodegradable packing peanuts or old wine corks in the bottom of the box, and then cover with landscape fabric to prevent soil from seeping out.
Next, fill the box halfway with potting soil, and add your plants. Make sure your plants are placed a few inches apart to give them room to fill out. If you want immediate impact, you can plant closer, of course, but know that you will need to pinch or prune your plants to prevent overcrowding. Once your plants are in place, fill in the gaps with more soil and lightly pat down around the plants.
As with all container plantings, choose plants with similar water and light needs, and expect to water them more often than those in the ground. Water thoroughly once the soil has dried out.
Botanical Name: Calibrachoa
Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Part sun
This classic spiller plant flowers in different shades of violet, blue, pink, red, magenta, yellow, bronze, and white from summer, fall, and surprisingly in winter too.
Do you envy your neighbor’s beautiful flowerbeds, but find that you don’t have the time to do justice to your own garden? Why not consider window boxes that will add color to both the outdoors and indoors?
They are a great means of adding a little bit of nature to your living space. Whether you live in a city apartment building or a country farmhouse, window boxes provide growing areas for your favorite flowers or herbs.
Window boxes can be as simple as mounting flowerpots on a frame that gets fastened to the bottom of the window. They can also be a bit more complex in design. The decision is yours based on how much you want to spend to add a beautiful touch to your home.
Window boxes are made from a variety of materials, including metal, plastic, wood, terra cotta, stone, ceramics and fiberglass. It’s a good idea to choose models made from rot and insect resistant materials. Treated lumber will last a long time outdoors, but you should not plant anything you intend to eat in these chemically treated containers.
Sunshine does take a toll on plastics and fiberglass. These containers are most apt to crack and break because the sunlight breaks them down.
Caution should be taken to insure that the proper mounts are used to attach the boxes to the sills of the windows so that the weight of the boxes is adequately supported.
When buying window boxes, be sure to first measure your window sills to insure that the boxes will fit. Choose ones that you can customize by painting or staining to match the exterior of the building in which you live.
Choose boxes that provide adequate space for plant growth. Boxes that are at least eight inches wide and eight inches deep work well for planting most varieties of flowers.
There are three basic ways you can plant widow boxes. One is to place plants directly in the window box containers. Another option is to put the flower pots containing the plants in the window box and fill around them using bark, moss or lightweight materials that can withstand the elements outdoors. A third option is buy liners and plant the flowers directly in the liners.
Selecting the right plants is the key to making your window boxes attractive. A mixture of plants that trail and grow upright is a good start. Bulbs and filler plants can be included.
Choose plants that contrast with the building. Pale flowers against dark brick walls make a dazzling display. Bright plants against a light background add a dramatic touch to the building.
Both annuals and perennials can be planted in window boxes. Dianthus, geraniums, impatiens, lobelia, pansies, petunias and sweet alyssum are good annual plant choices. Permanent plants such as varieties of dwarf bulbs, ground ivy, English ivy and miniature roses are good choices if you don’t want to replant every year.
Visit this site for general information about window boxes.
Above all, the most important considerations are sun exposure and which way your window box faces. The leaves of shade-lovers will get scorched in the high light levels of a south or west-facing wall plants that thrive in full sun will grow tall and leggy in a northern exposure.
(for a sunny, hot, south or west-facing window)
|opal and bush basil|
|‘Blackie’ sweet potato vine|
|‘Homestead Purple’ verbena|
|miniature climbing rose|
Coleus, a shade-lover
(for a shady, cool, north-facing window)
|fern (maidenhair, tassel, Boston, asparagus)|
|sweet autumn clematis|
|variegated English or Algerian ivy|
|sweet autumn clematis|
Photo credit: Brandt Bolding/Shutterstock
Often overlooked for window boxes are foolproof flowering bulbs. Whether you do a fall planting of miniature daffodils, snowdrops, or hyacinths for springtime bloom, or you do a late-spring planting of lilies, alliums, or dwarf gladiolus for summertime bloom, be sure to tuck a few bulbs and corms into your window boxes for added impact.
If you’ve got an accessible location, try planting edibles. Plant herbs like sage, chives, thyme, and mint. Just open the kitchen window when you need some fresh herbs!
Cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and kale mixed with marigolds will do nicely in a window box, too. Like flowers, they will need water every couple of days and fertilizer every two weeks. (Note: since a window box is just a breeze away from your living quarters, you might want to avoid aromatic fertilizer like fish emulsion.) Be sure to cultivate the soil regularly so that the water will penetrate throughout rather than just run off.
There are many window boxes or troughs sold in garden centers than can be easily mounted or hung on a balcony or window ledge. These days, they tend to be plastic.
For a house, a wooden window box can easily be custom-built to fit the length and width of a windowsill, so wood remains the medium of choice. Its life can be extended significantly by using the box simply as a holder for a metal or plastic planter or for several potted plants. Wood is also the easiest for mounting to your house. A word of caution here—do not set the box directly against the siding of your house. Leave an inch or two of breathing space so that moisture does not build up. Make sure the box is securely fastened to your house, too, as you don’t want a strong breeze to send it flying!