Copy These Window Boxes

A healthy, blooming window box can give the appearance of a lush garden, even if the rest of the landscape is sparsely planted. That's because window boxes place flowering specimens right at eye level, accenting windows on a home the same way long eyelashes bring out the beauty of eyes.  Of all of the improvements a gardener can make to the flowering landscape, installing a blooming window box yields more gains for less money than other renovations. However, not every flower will thrive in a window box, and a plant that outgrows its box or never gets big enough to peer over the side is a waste of resources. Copy one of these proven combinations in your window box, and wait for the compliments to pour in.

  • 01 of 06

    Tulips and Hyacinths

    Spring Window Box
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     The vibrant hues of purple hyacinths, yellow daffodils, red tulips, yellow violas, and red and yellow primroses are most welcoming after a dreary winter. The trick to success with this blooming mix is to pre-chill your bulbs for at least 12 weeks. Keep your bulbs constant temperatures of 35 to 48 degrees, using an unheated garage, a cold frame, or your refrigerator. Forcing them in the window box container itself is easiest. When spring arrives, move the container to its sunny spot. When you see the bulbs sprouting, add your primroses and violets. A few variegated trailing ivy plants complete the look. 

  • 02 of 06

    Pink Shade Lovers

    Pink Window Box
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     A shade garden does not preclude the ability to grow a blooming window box. The impatiens, begonias, and lobelia flowers in this planting thrive in partial shade, especially situations with some morning sun and afternoon shade. Feed these hungry annuals every week with a diluted flower fertilizer, and the blooms won't stop until first frost. 

  • 03 of 06

    Foliage Accents

    Red Pansies and Grape Hyacinths
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     Don't overlook your greens, as foliage provides much needed texture to all flower gardens, including those in containers. Ferns and grasses complement a cool weather planting of red pansies and grape hyacinths. If you can't bear to give up limited real estate to plants that don't bloom, choose flowers with interesting foliage colors and shapes to add interest. 

  • 04 of 06

    Petunias and More

    Purple Window Box
    Ellen Rooney/Photolibrary/Getty Images

    Today's variety of petunia hybrids means you can design a window box of virtually any color with this flower as the focal point. This combination adds penstemon, lobelia, and verbena in varying shades of purple and magenta that pop against the white siding of the home. If the tobacco budworm is getting the better of your petunia blooms, million bells makes an excellent substitute. 

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  • 05 of 06

    Formal Flowers

    Formal Window Box
    Ellen Rooney/Photolibrary/Getty Images

    People sometimes think of window boxes as a cottage garden staple, but the right design makes them fit in to a formal garden design as well. Think repetition and a simple color palette, like this combination of white pelargoniums, ivy, and box (Buxus) topiary specimens. Lavender plants also work well in a formal garden scheme. 

  • 06 of 06

    Wall-to-Wall Flowers

    Hayrack Planter
    Josie Elias/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    If you want to achieve a window box that is so smothered in blooms that the container itself is obscured, there are a few considerations. First, choose a hayrack planter. Line these metal planters with coco coir or sphagnum moss, and tuck plants into gaps across the facade of the planter. Second, choose flowers that bloom heavily and often, like these pink and purple petunias, million bells, and pelargoniums. To duplicate a window box like the one pictured you need about five pelargoniums, 12 petunias, and three to five filler flowers like sweet alyssum or fleabane daisies. Finally, deadhead and feed your plants each week to ensure that they bloom without ceasing.