Pro Tips: Plant a Better Window-Box Garden

Packed with potential, these mini landscapes can benefit from a few design tricks of their own! via thisoldhouse.com
Thrillers, Spillers, FillersThrillers, Spillers, Fillers
Sprucing up a facade is just the start of the window box's talents. Its potted plantings also bring garden scenes up close and invite flowery perfumes indoors. And because window boxes are so prominently placed-and generally on public view-they claim more attention than patio pots without requiring any additional effort or expense. They're amazingly versatile, especially if you push past a mere gathering of geraniums, as pretty as those can be, for a layered mix with nuance and dimension.

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Balanced Approach

Balanced ApproachBalanced Approach
As with ground-level beds, light conditions will determine what you can grow. Full sun accommodates blooming annuals, while shade best suits foliage plants, like coleus and caladium. To properly show off these displays, select a box that's the same width as the window.Use sturdy brackets to attach the box to your house, and invest in a high-quality potting mix.

Arrange plants on top of the soil until you're happy with how the design looks from inside and out. Then ease them out of the nursery pots and settle them in. Some crowding is fine, as long as you keep pruners handy to rein in rampant growers. You can also just drop potted plants directly into boxes and surround them with soil. This makes swapping out poor performers and popping in seasonal selections a snap.

Shown: The silver leaves of this euphorbia tone down a boisterous mix of striped petunias, purple lobelia, and hot-pink nicotiana.

RELATED: How to Hang a Window Box

Year-Round Installment
Year-Round InstallmentYear-Round Installment
With a little effort, you can keep box displays going strong all year. Regularly check the soil, daily in hot weather, and water thoroughly when it feels dry a half inch down. Since nutrients wash out quickly from containers, fertilizer is a must. Good options include fish emulsion or liquid kelp, diluted to half strength and applied every two weeks.

Switch out cool-weather plants-pansies and cyclamen, say-for heat-lovers, like marigolds, as summer arrives. And as temperatures drop, try sneaking in edibles, like lettuce, for fall and a row of dwarf conifers for winter color.

Shown: A cheery combo of lantanas, impatiens, geraniums, petunias, and sweet alyssum spills over a deep box that spans three windows.

Read on for more planting strategies to embellish a window-box planting, one that can last as long as you wish and will never stop pleasing.

For more vibrant combinations, see Plant a Better Window-Box Garden

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