Home Tip Tuesday: Tips for Planting Window Boxes

Window boxes add a big dose of curb appeal.

Window boxes add a big dose of curb appeal to any home. There are a few tricks to creating that magazine-perfect look. To begin with, make sure the type of box and plantings complement the style of your home. A vintage fruit crate filled with geraniums would make a charming window box for a cottage, but would look out of place on a contemporary home.

Plan For Success
Before purchasing a new window box, take careful measurements of the window.  Window boxes are more visually pleasing when they are the same length as the window where they’re being displayed. Also, be certain you know what kind of hardware is needed to install the box. Take a photo of the window sill to a home-improvement store, and ask an expert for help if needed. Lastly, purchase plastic liner material for your window box. Inserting a removable liner before planting makes it easier to change out the box as needed. Do remember to poke drainage holes in the liner each time you change it.

Placement Matters
Don’t let the casual look of a window box fool you; they require regular care just like any container. Boxes that are difficult to reach probably won’t get the attention they need, and you'll end up with an arrangement of  dead or unhealthy flowers. Keep in mind the amount of sun your window box will receive, and choose plants accordingly. Roof overhang may provide some shade, but in many cases, window boxes receive strong sunlight most of the day without shrubs or trees to shade them.

Annuals Or Perennials?
The soil in window boxes exhausts quickly and requires yearly changing. For that reason, planting annual flowers is the most practical choice. Perennial plants will not likely thrive in a window box where the soil’s nutrition gets used up quickly. If you do opt for perennials, be sure to start with rich soil, and add fertilizer at the most frequent recommendation. Replace as much of the soil as you can on an annual schedule.

Small Space, Big Impact
Thrill, fill and spill is the oft-repeated mantra for container planting. But does it doesn't necessarily apply to window boxes.  For security reasons, windows should never be blocked by foliage of any kind. And for aesthetic reasons, you probably don’t want to obscure the view to the outdoors. Plants and flowers that amply fill the box and spill over for a natural look are preferable to those that grow tall and wide. 

Care and Upkeep
Caring for a window box means more than changing the flowers. Occasionally, the box itself may need repair or updating. Tightening a few screws and applying a fresh coat of paint once in a while should be enough to keep your window box looking beautiful for many years.

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