When it comes to planting window boxes you typically want to use a combination of tall flowers in the back, dense flowers in the middle, and hanging flowers in the front. This allows for various window box arrangements that showcase various plants while giving you the most full effect. Below we've listed the 5 best climbing plants, middle plants, and hanging plants for a window box.
The 5 Best Tall Plants and Flowers for the Back of a Window Box
1. Coleus. This tall red and purple leafed plant grows nice and tall and works as a great contrast to all the green in a window box. They grow extremely well in window boxes and are perfectly adapted to taking root in loose potting mix.
2. Delphiniums. These grow tall and blueish purple. The flowers form a cylindrical cluster. They make great secondary accents for tall plants and I often use them on either side of a centerpiece.
3. Dwarf Conifers. These work well in wider window boxes around 10" or greater since the root balls take up some space. They require little maintenance and are hardy enough to remain in the pot year round. This saves time and money when changing out your arrangements each season. Once the conifers outgrow the box you can remove them and put them in a larger ground planter where they can grow 4-6 feet in height.
4. Snap Dragons. These are pink and yellow flowers with a bell shape that grow in tall clusters. They like a lot of cool sun and water thriving in the spring. Though the flowers will die in summer they'll come back again and bloom in the fall. Meaning you can often leave them in the box for three seasons.
5. Tulips. These pink and red flowers stand up tall and in tight formation. They have a short bloom time but when they do bloom they are absolutely gorgeous. They are annuals so they can be left in the box and will come back again next year or you can dig them out between seasons.
The 5 Best Filler Plants and Flowers for the Middle of a Window Box
1. Petunias. Petunia flowers are very heat tolerant and grow in large bundles. They come in pink, purple, white, and yellow. I love to get them in at least a couple different colors when I mix these into the box. Because of the way the fill out, they can also spill out of a window box.
2. Pansies. These flowers remind a lot of petunias except that they have an off colored center usually and a heart shape. They're a little hardier in colder climates making them great for fall plantings and lasting a little into winter. They stand up just barely and have green stems so usually you will want to accompany with a good colored hanging flower.
3. Geraniums. These large red rose-like flowers are perfect for a window box that gets a lot of sun. They're easy to grow and can be brought back to life if you've not been watering them making them great for beginners and experts. They don't use up a lot of root space either which makes them easy for cramming in missing gaps in a window box.
4. Marigolds. These are great yellow flowers that form big balls. They need a little extra root space and air circulation so don't crowd them too much in a window box. They can grow with some good height too and they thrive in summers.
5. Million Bells. These come in single color and multi-color varieties. This is both a filler and spiller flower that can carry a lot of the heavy lifting for a window box. They basically look like miniature petunias and have the same effect of completely engulfing a window box with flowers. You will not even be able to see the stems of the flowers, that's just how much these flowers take over the box. They're easy to care for and make any beginner look like an expert.
The 5 Best Hanging Plants and Flowers for the Front of a Window Box
1. Creeping Jenny. This is a nice trailing plants with small, round green leaves. It does well in moist soil and without taking up too much space it has a nice small trail which compliments well in almost any window box. It grows rapidly with little effort and is great for beginners.
2. Sweet Potato Vine. Sometimes called "the" vine for window boxes. The leaves are huge, grow fast, and can trail for miles with very little effort. They can be planted in spring and last all the way to winter making them perfect for containers.
3. Periwinkle. Vinca periwinkle is a low growing plant with purple flowers and trailing vines. Plant in the spring with average watering and partial shade conditions. You can use this plant as both a filler and hanging plant all at once and sometimes I'll completely line the front of a window box with this plant and use taller plants in the back row.
4. White Bacopa. This is a cool cascading annual with miniature white flowers that does well in summers and fall. The flowers bloom for a white and this plant does very well in containers in sun with partial shade. In addition to its aesthetics this plant also has some medicinal properties as well.
5. Fuchsia Flower. This water thirsty plant is an exotic purple and pink drooping upside down flower that does well in the shade and summer. Try to avoid extreme heat with this flower. Due to the way it grows it can climb and droop or do both simultaneously making it an interesting choice for any section of your window box. You can bring them indoors during the winter and they'll continue to grow all year long.
About the Author
Matthew Buquoi is the owner of Flower Window Boxes, a no rot PVC window box company that specialized in custom made window boxes that ship all over the country.