Plants For Window Boxes

To create the best effect you need to plan your window-box carefully. You have to decide on the best plants for its position, themo st suitable container and also a colour scheme.

Arranging plants

To create an effective arrangement it is usually best to mix plant sizes and shapes. However don’t choose tall plants unless you want to obliterate your view outside. A maximum height of around 30cm (12in) is best with some smaller bushy plants and trailers to tumble over the window-box edges.

Remember that your window-box will be viewed from both sides. Although plants grow to fill the space, you need a surprising number if you aim for an overflowing mass of colour. A window-box 90cm (36in) long can easily contain 15 plants.

Container choicePlants For Window Boxes

  • Plastic and fibreglass boxes are light to move and the soil in them will dry out less quickly.
  • Terracotta will provide you with an attractive rustic look.
  • Wood is the best material if you intend to make your own box.

Looking after your window box

  • Where there is no sill fix a box to brackets. For safety secure all boxes.
  • In hot weather water daily, in early morning or evening.
  • Dead head flowers regularly and plants will flower longer.

The position

A sunny position is ideal as most flowering plants love a sunny spot. Remember to water plants frequently.

For a partially shady area there is still a good choice. Some suggestions are Begonias, Fuchsia, Campanula, Primula, Pansies, Night Scented Stock and Day Lilies.

It is more difficult to find plants that will flower in full shade so why not use a green and cream scheme, picking decorative leafed Hostas, variegated Ivies, Ferns, London Pride, plus Lily-of-the-Valley.

Colour scheme

Although a haphazard riot of colour does have a certain charm, it is usually better to work to a colour scheme. Bear in mind the window’s surroundings, both inside and out. Take into account interior decoration, outside wall colour, nearby climbers and hanging baskets.

Window-boxes don’t have to be planned only around colour. A selection of herbs in a kitchen window-box allows you to pick what you need when you need it. Alternatively, turn your box into a miniature salad garden and grow Bush Tomatoes, some of the decorative

Choosing your colour schemewindow-box

One colour: This can be effective if you use a colour in all its tones. Adding white: The addition of white to a one-colour scheme makes the colour appear purer, and highlights it. Using blending colours: Choose colours close in the spectrum, pink and blue or orange and yellow or orange and red can be every effective. Contrasting colours: These produce a real splash. Put blue with red or with yellow.

Colour round the year

Use a basis of small, hardy evergreens like Ivies, herbs like Rosemary and Bay and perhaps a couple of Dwarf Conifers. Then add flowering plants in season. Bring them on in pots until buds are formed and then sink the pot into the box of compost. They can then be removed and replaced when flowering finishes.

  • Spring bulbs can be followed by summer flowers like Geraniums and Petunias and these in turn can be replaced by Asters or Dahlias.
  • Cut-and-come-again lettuces like Red Lollo and Green Oak-leaf plus Chives, Basil, Rocket and Nasturtiums for colour and salad decoration.
  • Consider a box of plants picked for their wonderful perfume — Flowering Tobacco, Petunias, Night Scented Stock, Pinks. Or you could grow a range of wild flowers or flowers to attract butterflies.

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