For charm in the garden, nothing surpasses a well-planted window box.
It may be one made of wood in a traditional rectangle. or perhaps yours is one of the newer styles called a hay rack, fashioned in metal and lined with sheet moss. Planting them can be simple because you don’t need a lot of plants.
First, consider the amount of sun or shade the box gets.
The mainstays of a shade garden, be it in a bed at ground level, or in a box attached to a fence or below your windows, are hostas, ferns and begonias. These are plants with staying power.
They possess enough variety and texture to keep it interesting and are not so tricky that they collapse at the slightest bit of neglect. Hostas with small leaves look lovely and in scale in a box. Their smooth surfaces combines well with the fluffy texture of ferns.
The color choices in hosta foliage –lemon, lime green, golden green – are a nice change from dark green and some possess white or cream stripes or marks that liven up a shady spot.
Ferns come in many choices and are always interesting to look at.
The third component should be begonias. These plants bloom abundantly for a long time and come in a range of colors from white to pink to red that will brighten the box. Begonias are also more tolerant of drying out. If you prefer blue or purple, consider torenia, which bears an unusual flower on a neat, well-behaved plant.
The other popular shade plant, impatiens, can get too big for the narrow width of a typical window box. And they demand regular water. To trail over the sides, English ivy works.
This is no place for something whose show ends early. Trailing lantana is a top choice to cascade over the edges. Its bloom season is very long, there is a large choice of colors and it ranks among the most durable flowers in a hot and stressful location.
Vertical choices inlcude angelonia, now sold in a beautiful range of colors. Pentas is an upright beauty, mostly in pinks, roses and light purple, that may require pruning eventually to maintain the desired height of 10 inches or so.
Sun coleus comes in interesting hues that will calm down the scene.
When shopping, look at your selections together and see how the colors suit your eye. Think about the color of your house, whether it is painted or brick. Think about whether you prefer a vivid display of bright colors or a soften won made of pastels.
Like all container gardens, window boxes require good soil and regular attention to watering. Use fresh potting soil every year and add Soil Moist, which will absorb water and release it slowly as soil dries.