Are you running out of room in your garden? Feeling boxed in? That's terrific! A box can be quite liberating, particularly if it's a box full of flowers under your window. A form of container gardening, window boxes enable gardeners to bring bursts of color right up close to the house. Window boxes also provide gardeners with limited space an opportunity to expand their options. They can take your garden quite literally to another level.
Type of Window Box
Window boxes come in a wide range of styles and materials, including cedar wood window box, willow, bamboo window box, plastic and fiberglass. Each has pros and cons that should be carefully considered before selecting them. Natural material like wood and bamboo are getting popular because they are ecology sustainable and light weight. Weight is important because most of the window boxes are hung by the building and weight is always a concern. Building your own window boxes also can be a fun and rewarding weekend project. Window boxes look best when they are at least as long the window is wide or even a few inches longer. Also, try to choose a style that compliments the architecture of your home.
For window boxes constructed from wood or other materials susceptible to weathering and decay, a liner helps them to last longer. Investing in a liner or other container to slip into the window box also facilitates planting, especially for hard-to-reach boxes. Simply place the plants and soil in the liner, then drop the whole thing into the outside box. Even better, when it comes time to clean it out in the winter, just lift out the liner and you're done.
Planting a Window Box
Planting a window box is much like planting any other container. You must consider the hours of sunlight it will receive and choose plants accordingly. Ensure it has proper drainage so that water will not collect on the bottom and rot the plants' roots. Use a bagged soil-less mix available at most garden centers. It is relatively lightweight, free of insects and diseases, and has a good water holding capacity. Because soil-less mixes are low in nutrients you will need to fertilize your window box plantings regularly. If you wish, you may mix in a slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote before planting.
Many plants work well in window boxes, from annuals and grasses to shrubs and miniature roses. First, lay out your plants while they're still in their pots. Buy small ones, in cell-packs or four-inch containers. Not only are they more economical in this size, they are also easier to work with. In no time, they will grow into a lush and beautiful display.
Feel free to experiment with different plant combinations but avoid planting in rows. Instead, stagger plants in a zigzag pattern which will look less rigid. In general, place taller plants in the back, closest to the window. Next, have some mounding plants of middle height. Finally, include some trailing plants that will spill down the side of the window box.
When you have the plants arranged how you
like them, plant them about a half-inch below the rim so there is room to
water. Gently firm the soil around them and water well. Window boxes in full
sun may need watering every day. For high-up ones, you may want to consider
investing in self watering window boxes, which are available from online
stores and some garden centers. Try not to let your plants wilt before
watering as this extreme stress can reduce their performance. Every two weeks,
feed with a water-soluble fertilizer. When flowers or leaves fade, remove them
to keep the plants healthy and looking their best.
With virtually limitless design
possibilities, window boxes offer a unique way to accent and brighten your
home's fagade. Next time you feel boxed in, you might also think it's terrific
as you gaze at the flowers waving in your windows.
CARING FOR CONTAINER GARDENS
Window box can dry out very quickly. Daily or even twice-daily watering may be necessary. Feel the soil to determine whether or not it is damp. If the potting mix feels dry 1 inch below the surface, it is time to water. Apply water until it runs out the drainage holes. If the pot dries out too much you should immerse it in water to resoak the soil mix. Containers will need frequent checking as the plants grow and temperatures become hotter.
Watering wands are good tools for difficult-to-reach baskets and window boxes. They extend your reach and produce a gentle shower.
Frequent watering flushes nutrients from the soil quickly, so frequent fertilizing is also necessary. Liquid fertilizers or timed-release fertilizers are the easiest methods of application. Time-release fertilizer pellets can be mixed into the soil at planting or worked into the top inch later. The soil in the container should be moist when fertilizer is applied, even liquid fertilizer. Feed baskets and boxes every two weeks from spring through summer with a complete liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strength.
Remove flowers as they fade to keep
flowering baskets blooming well. Many plants are rejuvenated by a trim in late
BASKET AND WINDOW BOX PLANTS FOR SUN
BASKET AND WINDOW BOX PLANTS FOR PART SHADE OR SHADE