Flower boxes perk up the exterior of any home, whether a stately Victorian mansion or a suburban ranch house. In tight city spaces, sometimes flower boxes are the only way to bring a bit of the garden to the urban jungles of concrete. Hang flower boxes from window sills, porch railings, apartment balconies or second-story decks. Follow the seasons when arranging flowers in window boxes.
Use the winter months to force spring bulbs inside. When the weather warms up, those bulbs will be bursting with bloom. Plant the bulbs with low-growing, trailing flowers such as alyssum, bacopa or lobelia. Plant seeds of sweet pea and nasturtiums for a surprise later in the spring. Plant a series of bulbs that bloom in early spring, mid spring and late spring for a season-long showing. If you haven't planned ahead, find bulbs in flower at the local plant nursery. Spring colors are pastels such as yellows, pinks and purples.
Fill summer boxes with heat-loving zinnias in a myriad of bright colors. Add marigolds as a bright, sunny border around the box and portulaca to spill over the edges. A box full of the same variety and color of flowers can be stunning if there are a number of window boxes on the site. Try gazanias for sunny windows, geraniums for windows that get morning sun and afternoon shade, and begonias for windows in the shade. Boxes in summer dry out quickly and may need to be watered every day. Summer colors are red, yellow, blue and orange.
Fall means chrysanthemums, asters, and dwarf sunflowers. Don't stop there. Add in colorful pepper plants in reds, yellow and orange. Flowering kale with its ruffled purple leaves looks stunning against golds and burgundies. Accent the flower box with miniature pumpkins and a few dried gourds. After the first frost remove the flowers and fill with evergreens for winter.
Winter is probably the only season where window boxes aren't easy to arrange with flowers. Don't leave the boxes empty. That is such a sad look. Fill the boxes with evergreen cuttings, cones, dried berries and branches. Or try pinecones smeared with peanut butter, orange halves, and dishes of bird seed for feathered friends to feast on as warmer weather approaches.
Boxes in mild winter areas with only a frost or two can be filled with frost-resistant pansies, flowering kale, and alyssum. In areas where the soil in the box won't freeze, plant evergreens for the winter and move them to the garden in the spring.