Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Have An Eyecatching Window Box

Call it a window box or a flower box -- either way, it's beautiful.

Window boxes first graced the windows of lower class homes in ancient Rome. Because they had little to no space for gardening, the window boxes became their source of herbs, spices and flowers used for cooking and medicines. The idea of using window boxes caught on with the Roman upper class and eventually spread to homes throughout Europe and then the world. Does this Spark an idea?


1. When choosing a window box, consider how the style of the box will fit in with the architecture of your house. The box should fit the width of the window or the window plus the frame. For wide windows, use two or more boxes side-by-side. If you want the box to match the window trim, look for boxes that can be easily painted. When in doubt, go with black wrought-iron into which you add a liner made from plastic, aluminum, PVC or coco coir, a natural bacteria- and fungus-free fiber made from coconuts. Most flower boxes come with directions on hang it -- use brackets or screw the box directly into the window frame.

2. A window box can contain flowers, ornamental grasses or herbs. Plants that grow to the same height are pretty, but for a spectacular display, use plants of varying heights, shapes and colors. Choose colors that will complement the paint color in the room that looks out over the window box. When you place the plants in the box, consider how much the plants will spread as they grow. Initially, your planter will look a little sparse, but it will fill in as the plants grow. Placement of the plants in the box is a matter of taste. Some folks like larger plants in the middle, with smaller ones on the ends. Others make every other plant taller than the rest, put the larger plants at the ends of the box. Trailing plants are especially nice when they dangle over the sides of the box.

Herbs that do well in window boxes are basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme. For boxes in full sunlight, choose dusty miller, geranium, marigold, salvia, verbena and zinnia for their height. Trailing plants include ivy, nasturtium, petunia, alyssum, sweet potato vine and vinca. Shaded boxes will do better with tall coleus, impatiens, pansy, snapdragon and begonia inside. Trailing shade-lovers include fuchsia, ivy, trailing coleus and wandering Jew.

3. Add decorative objects to the flower box to reflect your personality or the season. Add whimsy with small American flags on sticks, ceramic statues, children's whirligigs, dainty lawn ornaments, miniature pink flamingos, a weather vane or whatever strikes your fancy. Tiny pumpkins are the perfect complement to a mum-filled flower box. Many things have the potential to become flower box ornaments. They just need to be suitable for a moist, outdoor area. Use hot glue to affix the item to a craft stick or dowel, then poke it in among the flowers so it peeks through or hovers above the flowers.

4. Your spectacular window box plants need continuous maintenance. Use water-retaining, self-fertilizing potting soil. Remember to water them daily -- even twice a day when it's hot and sunny. Pinch off the heads of flowers that have finished blooming. Pull weeds. If your area receives a lot of rainfall or the box is in the shade, remove the drain plugs in the bottom of the planter. If there are no drain plugs, drill holes in the bottom to let out excess water. Your window box will flourish into the fall ... even longer if you live in a warmer climate.

Tags: window boxes, drain plugs, larger plants, made from, Trailing plants