Spring is in the air, and everywhere I turn in my neighborhood I see vibrant blooms popping in full glory. Gardening is such a wonderful pursuit. It adds beauty to the world while providing the gardener with relaxation and a sense of accomplishment.
But what if you don’t have space, time or physical stamina to plant and tend a full-blown garden? Two words: window boxes. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a novice getting her hands dirty for the first time, window boxes are a joy.
Follow these tips to create beautiful window boxes that will turn heads and prompt compliments all spring and summer long.
1. How’s the light? Before you pick out your plants, take a good look at the amount of light your window boxes will get throughout the day. How much sun your space gets will determine which flowers will thrive best. For instance, your boxes could be partial sun, partial shade in the morning (which is cooler), or partial sun, partial shade in the afternoon (which is hotter). Or, you could have a space that gets very little sun or one that gets drenched for four to six hours a day.
Use this information to select the right plants for your box. Here’s a gardener’s rule of thumb: window boxes in full sun and partial sun will present more growing options for colorful annuals, perennials, and succulents than those placed in partial to full shade.
2. How’s the drainage? Make sure your window box allows water to drain out so your plants can get adequate air flow. If your planter doesn’t have holes in the bottom, you can drill some yourself or put flowers in a plastic nursery container with holes. If you do the latter, be sure to set the container on a raised gravel bed inside the window box and take care not to overwater.
If you’re using a wooden window box, line the box with plastic sheeting to make sure wet soil won’t cause the box to rot.
3. Let’s plant. Now it’s time for the fun part. Fill your window box with fresh potting soil, and consider mixing in a high-quality fertilizer (organic or slow-release works well). If you do, your flowers will be fuller and lusher. Next, wet the soil so you can make sure there are no drainage issues.
Place your plants in the window box, keeping in mind that taller plants should go towards the back, while the middle should be filled in with shorter plants. Along the edges, use trailers.
Dig holes in the potting soil with a hand trowel or your hand. Place the plants into the holes after removing their containers and loosening their root balls, and water again.
4. Keeping it green. Be sure to think about how often you’re willing to change your window box plantings. Annuals work well in window boxes, but you may need to swap them out each season. As for perennials like geranium, lavender and herbs, you could get a longer shelf life with these beauties.
Remember that window boxes dry out quicker than other planters and gardens because of the small amount of soil. If you can, set up a drip irrigation system. Or, just be sure to water regularly. Just give your plants a drink – water just enough to prevent window box rot or overwatered flowers.
Presto! You’re done! Now you can enjoy your flowers from both the inside and the outside of your home. And the great thing about window boxes is that they’re forgiving – if one flower doesn’t do well, you can easily replace it with another. So, get those green thumbs to work and create your own little garden at the windowsill.