Container Gardening

Window Boxes That Wow!

By Nina Koziol

A window box filled with flowers or colorful foliage connects a garden to the house. It adds character and enhances the views from indoors and out. When I see window boxes, my first impression is that the house must be really cozy inside. This article looks at how to choose and plant window boxes to dress up your home’s curb appeal throughout the year. In other words, Window boxes that wow!

Our house features a 9-foot-long cedar window box outside our kitchen. The box faces north and gets limited sunlight until the afternoon. That doesn’t stop me from creating a four-season shuffle of good-looking plants that we enjoy seeing from our kitchen table and from the front sidewalk.

In the spring, there’s colorful red and green leaf lettuce and spinach, which I sow from seed and harvest through early June. Once these shade-loving, cool-season greens start to flower, I replace them with begonias, caladiums, asparagus fern, oxalis, vines and fuchsia, which attracts hummingbirds. In fall, my window box wears an assortment of ornamental peppers, kale, cabbage, asters and miniature pumpkins. And in winter, it’s filled with spruce branches, dried hydrangea flowers, red-twig dogwood stems and pinecones. The best part?  There’s no bending over or kneeling when it comes time to plant.

Window box

Photo by Nina Koziol

Up and Away

Window boxes are like any other containers. They need drainage holes, lightweight soil-less potting mix, fertilizer and consistent moisture. Garden soil is far too heavy for most containers, especially those that are attached to a building. And, when you water them, consider that one gallon weighs a little more than eight pounds. Add in the plants, and that’s why lightweight soil-less mixes are a good idea.

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