Window boxes are a charming feature for any home. You can make the most of these miniature gardens by choosing the right flowers. To pick the right plants, you must consider the climate of your location, the amount of sunlight the window boxes get, and the amount of care you are willing to give the plants. You also want to make sure that you choose plants that will not grow tall enough to obscure the view through the window. Be sure to pick plants that will grow no more than twelve inches tall.
Planting annuals will allow you to have different flowers each year, if you wish. You may even change flowers with the seasons. Several good annuals to plant are petunias, nasturtiums, marigolds, impatiens, and snapdragons. Pansies and flowering kale will provide color in winter.
Petunias grow eight to twelve inches tall and come in shades of blue, white, red and pink. The trailing varieties of petunias are particularly attractive in window boxes. Petunias will grow in sun or part shade. They do not need a rich soil and can withstand drought.
Nasturtiums are very easy to care for, almost thriving on neglect, and have edible flowers. Their red, yellow, and orange flowers add a cheerful note to any home. Nasturtiums will grow ten to sixteen inches tall. Although nasturtiums prefer full sun, they will tolerate some shade.
Marigolds need full sun. They will grow in almost any soil and can tolerate infrequent watering. Some varieties have edible flowers. Marigolds will grow eight to twelve inches tall. Most marigolds blossom in shades of yellow and orange. Be sure to remove the dead flower heads to make the plants bloom more.
Impatiens bloom in hues of white, pink and red. They prefer to grow in part shade, and some varieties will even produce flowers in deeply shaded areas. A window box that is shaded by trees during the hottest part of the day is ideal for impatiens. They will grow ten to twelve inches tall. Impatiens are easy to grow and require no special type of soil.
Flowering kale will provide color for your window box throughout the winter. This plant does not actually have flowers – instead it has leaves in shades of red, cream, and green which make it look like a big bloom. Flowering kale will grow to be ten to twelve inches wide, so it is not recommended for very narrow window boxes. It is easy to care for, only requiring sun, moderately rich soil, and regular watering. You may even pick and eat the leaves.
Snapdragons may bloom in the fall, as well as in the spring and summer. Pick a dwarf or a cascading variety. Snapdragon flowers may be red, white, rose or lavender. You may cut their blooms for use in flower arrangements. Snapdragons will grow in sun or in part shade. They grow best in a rich soil.
If you prefer something smaller for winter color, try pansies. They are extremely hardy, require no special care, and will bloom from fall to spring. You may buy pansies in shades of purple, red, orange, yellow, and blue. Pansies will thrive in sun or in part shade. And although pansies prefer a rich soil, they will grow and bloom in fairly poor soils also.
If you would prefer not to replant your window box every season, there are several good perennial plants for window boxes. Violas, hardy geraniums, or miniature roses are good choices.
Violas, or Johnny-Jump-Ups, are similar to pansies, but with a smaller and more delicate flower. They are hardy to zone nine. Violas will grow in full sun or part shade and will grow five to seven inches tall. Violas prefer a rich soil and regular watering. They bloom in shades of violet, yellow, and white. Some varieties even have edible flowers.
Hardy geraniums have velvety medium-green leaves that contrast well with their blue, pink, red, or white blossoms. Since the leaves are covered with fine fuzz, they are drought resistant. The do not require an especially rich soil. Geraniums prefer sun, except at the hottest part of the day. Part shade suits them best in very hot climates. Get a dwarf or trailing variety for your window box. There is an ivy-leaved variety, which trails and is especially attractive for window boxes.
Miniature roses require more care than most other flowers. They must not be planted too closely, or the poor air circulation between the plants will promote disease. They should be pruned once or twice a year, and dead flowers should be promptly removed. They need a rich, consistently moist soil. Miniature roses need full sun to bloom their best. But proper care will reward you with blossoms of almost every color, from white to yellow to red, and a lovely fragrance from spring through fall.
Experiment with different flowers in your window box to find the ones that suit you best. Harmonize the colors of the blossoms with your house, or plant those that contrast to make the window boxes more noticeable. Whichever flowers you finally decide upon will reward you with many months of color and enjoyment.