Window Box Flower Planting Ideas

Window boxes full of flowers add character and warmth to a home. They are a good choice when you want to add color and charm to your landscape, but don't want to spend a lot of money to do so. Those who live in apartments will also appreciate the versatility and ease of window box gardening. With many types of flowers to plant, virtually every season, there are plenty of options to create stunning window box gardens for your home.

Annuals

Unlike a larger garden area, where the cost of nursery plants might instead lead you to plant using seeds, window boxes are small enough that you can splurge on nursery transplants for instant beauty. Annuals work well in this regard because they allow you to add instant volume and color. For a sunny window, petunias, marigolds and zinnias make intense splashes of color to last through the whole summer. Dwarf and trailing snapdragons, pansies and violas do well in partial sun and cooler weather, such as fall and spring. To add vertical dimension to your box, tuck in some trailing plants, such as nasturtiums, begonia (specifically, Brazilian Heart) or edging lobelia. Dichondra 'Silver Falls' is a non-flowering trailing plant with tiny, heart-shaped leaves that provides a contrasting texture and hue to the vibrant colors of flowers.

Perennials

If you're planting flowers and plants in a window box that you want to leave up all year with minimal fuss, a perennial garden is a good choice. Perennials have a flowering season, but continue looking beautiful and interesting well after the flowers have faded. Their foliage and texture allow the casual gardener to enjoy seasonal changes in the plants, with minimal care. Perennials that work well in window boxes include edging lobelia, dusty miller and dwarf salvia. English ivy and geranium look striking as trailing plants. Impatiens are another option, but select a dwarf variety so they don't get too leggy. Create a backdrop for your flowers with dwarf evergreens, which provide a vibrant dose of green among a drab winter landscape. In the spring when the weather is warmer, tuck in some flowering annuals among the evergreens and you've instantly transformed your window box into a cheerful garden.

Bulbs

Many gardeners forget about bulbs when it comes to window box flowers, but bulbs are often perfect companions to other annuals and perennials. Spring bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils, narcissus and crocus, can be planted in layers at different depths in a large window box, underneath a bed of annuals, such as pansies or snapdragons. The benefit to planting bulbs this way is that if they bloom at different times, or not at all (as often can happen with bulbs), the top layer of annuals will help mask any mistakes. Many bulbs also work well sprinkled in among other perennials to provide subtle color year after year. According to landscape architect, Jacqueline van der Kloet, in an interview with DallasNews.com, the perennials screen the bulbs once they're done blooming and have entered into the die-back phase that gives the bulbs energy to bloom again the next spring. Bulbs that work well in this setting include tulips, jonquils, crocus and some species of daffodils. Bulbs need plenty of light during the flowering stage, and to be left alone in the die-back phase, even when withered leaves might tempt you to cut them off.

Keywords: window box garden, flowers window box, bulbs container garden

About this Author

Lisa Brei is a freelance writer who has written for "Los Angeles Family" magazine, "L.A. Parenting" magazine and various nonprofit newsletters and blogs. She frequently covers education, family travel, gardening, children's health and infertility. Brei holds a Master of Arts in education from University of California, Los Angeles.