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Creative Ideas for Window Box Planters
Heleigh Bostwick

Window box planters make a charming addition to your home or apartment and are an easy way to add a splash of color or greenery. Window boxes are perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy a garden, but is too busy to take care of one.

Most people think of planting flowers in window boxes, but there are several other alternatives. It’s just a matter of choosing something that is right for you. If you like to cook, think about planting herbs or baby vegetables. If your hobby is making sachets or herbal extracts, plant fragrant or medicinal herbs and flowers.

Choose a theme for your window box garden. Perhaps you dream about visiting the Swiss Alps or love the beauty of the desert. Consider replicating these habitats in your window box. With a little creativity, the possibilities are endless.

Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Cook’s Garden

Herbs grow best in partial or full sun. Plant your miniature garden with the herbs you frequently cook with such as thyme, oregano, basil, parsley, tarragon, or chives.

Fragrant Garden

Options for fragrant herbs include lavender, peppermint, rosemary, lemon balm, artemisia (also known as wormwood), lemon verbena, or pineapple sage. Again, most herbs thrive best in partial or full sun.

Medicinal Garden

Plants known for their medicinal properties include aloe vera, calendula, sage, comfrey, yarrow, sweet woodruff, chamomile, or peppermint and grow best in partial or full sun.

Vegetable Garden

Many vegetables are available in diminutive forms. Try planting baby carrots, baby beets, pearl onions, baby lettuce, or baby teardrop tomatoes. A window box in full sun is best for growing vegetables.

Alpine Garden

Most alpine flowers bloom in shades of pink, purple or white and require partial or full sun. Primrose, creeping phlox, candytuft, pinks, bellflower, or a trailing variety of baby’s breath are all possibilities for your miniature alpine garden.

You can also plant crocus, snowdrops, scilla, or grape hyacinth bulbs in the fall for spring blooms the following year.

Succulent Desert Garden

Succulent plants do best in full sun. Hens and chicks, sedums, kalanchoe, aloe vera, and small cacti are excellent choices for this type of window box garden.

Check Hardiness Zones

Once you have decided on an idea or concept for your window box planter, consult the USDA Hardiness Zones Map or call your county extension agent to obtain a list of plants that are hardy in your region. You may discover that the jasmine you wanted to plant for it’s wonderful fragrance only grows in southern Florida , while you live in Minnesota .

Design Tips

Keep the size of the plants in proportion to the size of the window box. It is better to use smaller plants such as thyme or oregano for a small window box as opposed to basil, which might overwhelm it.

Be sure to buy enough plants. If there are too few plants, the window box looks sparse. On the other hand, if plants are crowded they will not grow properly.

After purchasing your plants, fill the window box with potting soil suitable for your particular window box garden. Then, figure out your planting scheme. To help you to decide, follow these guidelines:

1. Don’t plant in straight rows, use a random planting pattern

2. Use vines and compact plants in the front

3. Medium sized or round plants are best in the middle

4. Plant taller or vertical plants in the back

Enjoy

Once you have decided on a satisfactory planting arrangement, plant your window box garden, making sure you compact the soil and water it thoroughly. Then, stand back and enjoy your beautiful creation!

Heleigh Bostwick is a freelance writer and former landscape designer who frequently writes about gardening, health and nutrition, and herbal medicine. She is the editor of Green Living – Simple Living With a “Green” Twist and Parenting Multiples and is a single mom of twin toddlers. She may be contacted at habostwick@verizon.net.