Have you hesitated on putting a window box together because of less than ideal lighting situations? We might have solutions for you.
For many people (especially urban dwellers) a window box is your only chance for some floral expression, but you don’t think it can be done.
Well we can understand your hesitation in putting a window box together in less than ideal conditions, it can still be done. Just think of all the pictures you seen a beautiful window boxes especially in Europe.
Not everybody had the luxury of picking an ideal position for their wonderful box that would get the perfect amount of light. But you can’t have everything.
Therefore, it will take a little bit of creativity to come up with a successful and long-lasting design.
Ideally, the best location would be somewhere with just the right amount of sunlight daily and it should also be a place where the fragile plants are sheltered from the harsh natural elements.
Sometimes, with window boxes, we are stuck with less than ideal locations. The selection of the correct types of plants becomes very important.
Since the amount of sunlight that different plants require will vary, you will need to do your research beforehand to see how much sunlight is sufficient for the plants you’re growing.
Some plants love the sun while others would prefer the shade and just a bit of sunlight daily. If you are growing a variety of plants, then you will need to arrange your container garden appropriately to cater to the unique needs of each plant.
Depending on your conditions and location of your window box, make sure you look for plants that are rated for partial sun or shade.
Obviously, there are many more selections of flowers for full sun conditions. But, would just a little bit of research, you can find some beautiful flowering plants.
Although this article is primarily concerned with sunlight issues, there are other issues to be considered.
You should also be aware if there are any potential weather elements that may pose a future threat to your plants. Some places are prone to storms or heavy rains. In cases like these, you may be required to move your plants to some indoor shelter to protect them. It will definitely be much easier to do this if the plants are near to your house or the shelter.
PLANTS THAT GROW WELL IN PARTIAL SHADE
These come in a variety of colors including variegated varieties.
The variegated varieties grow better in shade than in direct sunlight. These plants grow best in cool weather.
In fact, they become dormant in hot weather. You may even think they are dying in hot weather, but as soon as it cools down and you water them they’ll come right back.
2. BACOPA PLANT
The Bacoba plant is a trailing annual that works really well in window boxes. It grows to a height of 6 to 12 inches. And is available in various colors: white, pale blue, and red. There is also a ‘giant’version that has large flowers while maintaining a low profile.
3. BEGONIA (TUBEROUS)
These plants are standard in window boxes, containers, and hanging plants. These perennials definitely add a pop of color.
They come in almost all colors and shades (except blue).
Choose the hanging varieties for a bit of overflow in your window box. They tend to have more blooms.
For larger flowers you can choose upright varieties that work very well toward the rear of the box and have larger blooms.
4. BUSH LILY (CLIVIA MINIATA)
These plants have very unusual blooms most commonly in orange, though there are some white varieties available. They are very commonly used in container gardens or flowerbeds. Be aware that for window boxes these stand a little tall stalks as high as 2 feet high.
Take that into account when designing your window box. They generally bloom in the spring but can get a start in late winter. After the flowers are gone they produce berries.
5. FALSE SHAMROCK (OXALIS TRIANGULARIS)
Pretty purple flowers and dainty flowers make this plant an excellent choice for outdoor containers in mild-winter climates.
These very pale, light pink flowers are also know as ‘false shamrocks’.
Full sun to light shade, afternoon shade in hottest areas.
Keep it in light shade with moist, well-draining soil.
This is a great indoor plant, too.
Grow in zones 4-10 outdoors or anywhere indoors; perennial in zones 6-10
These perennials are very easy to grow and will flow over and hang over window boxes. They are commonly used in hanging baskets that can easily be adapted for window boxes. They come in different shades most prominently in the pinks and reds. They produce a very exotic looking flower that is texture rich.
These are one of the most commonly available and popular plants out there, for good reasons.
They come in a huge variety of colors that can really spark up a shady area. They do not do all that well in direct sunlight, but you can acclimate them if you expose them to a little more light each day.
These cheerful flowers are a staple of hanging baskets, container gardens and window boxes.
8. LYSIMACHIA NUMMULARIA
These plants feature rounded cup yellow flowers on trailing stems with rounded leaves. They are often used for groundcover because of their low growing height, usually 4 to 10 inches tall. They are mat creeper that can be trained to flow over the window box or simply provide surface cover.
This beautiful flowering plant is actually edible. It comes in a variety of colors including yellows and reds. It is very easy to grow and can take the form of trailing from hanging baskets in window boxes, two versions that are more like bushes.
These are one of the easiest to care for plants going, it might be a slight exaggeration to say they’re indestructible but they do thrive with the minimum amount of care.
We discovered this Dwarf Pansy (Viola kitaibeliana), which is absolutely stunning. Pansies are available in many, many varieties and colors. They generally bloom in early spring, and tolerate partial shade conditions as well as some sun.
We have seen some beautiful window boxes created with different colored pansies. As a groundcover they are often placed in geometric formations delineated by color.
11. SAPHIRE FLOWER (BROWALLIA)
This is an easy to grow annual plant. It generally has purple flowers.
The major intolerance of the plant is harsh direct sunlight. It is usually not a trailing plant but more of a clumping plant.
There are, however, some species that grow in a flowing, trailing fashion. You need to ask when purchasing. It has a maximum height of about 24 inches in width of 12 inches.
The soil should be moist.
12. SWEET ALYSSUM (LOBULARIA)
These are annuals that are primarily noted for their easy growth characteristics and needing a minimum amount of care. The plants only grow to a height of 3 inches to 6 inches.
The flowers produced are usually in clumps or clusters and are petite and dainty. Colors range from white, yellow, pink, to purple. They are fairly common.
WINDOW BOX PLANTING TIPS
- Here are a few window box planting tips mentioned on the video below.
- The change of seasons is a signal for you to change your window box.
- Try to set up detachable window boxes. It makes it easy to work on them when you are on a convenient, flat solid surface.
- When you have the window box empty, cover the drainage holes with a small mesh screen. This will prevent soil leakage.
- Fill the box halfway up with soil, then place the plants and set them loosely
- You can them move them around figure out what you want to be in the forefront. You don’t have to make them perfectly symmetrical.
- You can vary the heights of the plants you can vary the textures and the color.
- Plan on ease of use, as well as looks when building or buying a window-box planter.