Window Boxes for Beginners

I’ve always loved window boxes. Walking through London when I first moved here at the spring chicken age of 20, I would pick apart the flowers and plants spilling from the window boxes of Marylebone and Chelsea, mentally planning for the day I would have my own sill to place a little box of petals on.

You would think a window box was a fairly easy addition to a home but as I realised, not every window is made equal. With some there is no sill, others are just too high (AKA dangerous) to risk a window box, for fear of killing a passer by if it were ever to loose it’s footing. I was (un)fortunate enough to have one of these scenarios in each of my homes for quite some time. During these years I made window boxes on the inside wherever I could, kitchen counter tops, pieces of furniture, radiator covers (by no means ideal) honing my craft and getting ready for the day I could move those magical rectangular boxes to the other side of the glass.

Today I have the pleasure to name not one but FIVE window boxes my own. And although that is a fair few to maintain I still like to experiment so I change them up most seasons. In the winter I have gone for trusty, neat and festive, white cyclamens. In the summer I like frothy bursts of colour that spill out over the sides and flower their little hearts out all through the warmer months.

I’ve learnt over the years that more is more when it comes to window boxes and I like to pack plants in at twice the spacing you would usually add them to your garden beds. I also like a rising crescendo in the centre of each box that I’ve achieved in the past with things like anemones or delicate and silvery baby eucalyptus which I plant out into the garden when the seasonal change over comes.

I also love the impact of a tightly packed bunch of Viola’s and more recently the large Mariposa peach pansys. Providing you keep them dead headed (pick off each flower when it looks dead before it turns into a seed head) these will be happy and keep flowering almost all year.

I also like to go for plants that I can either plant out into the garden after a window box reshuffle or that I can pick while blooming for indoors as the months pass. And yes, even violas. Get a pot small enough and even a little bunch of Violas can command attention on a bedside table.

5 things to remember for wonderful window boxes

  1. Pick flowers that like to be packed in AND flower profusely.
  2. Remember to water. Just because they sit on a window sill it doesn’t mean they’ll catch the rain. Often, as is the case with my window boxes, the top of the window shelters them and they dry out easily. I water mine once a week.
  3. Feed them. Anything in a pot does well with a bit of all purpose feed. You can put slow releasing pellets into the soil when you plant them up or water them once a month with a bit of all purpose diluted feed.
  4. Mix them. Try for a mix of two or three complimenting plants, usually two flowering and one leafy (this could be a trailing option like ivy) and plant in a brick like, alternating pattern so that flowers and leaves seem mixed once established.
  5. Small at the front/tall at the back and in the middle. Keep your trailers and lower plants to the front and higher ones to the back and centre of your box.

Find more inspiration for window boxes on my Pinterest page, aptly titled – Window Boxes!


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