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How to Make a Window Garden

By Ma Wen Jie ; Updated September 21, 2017
Window gardens can add warmth and beauty to urban environments or winter windows.

A window garden is a good way to garden in urban environments or in areas where winters are too cold to allow outdoor gardening. Window gardens are good for plants, flowers and herbs. Window gardens can be made with pots on your windowsill, pots on a shelf or baskets and pots hanging in front of the window. The layout will depend on what you want to grow and the direction in which the plants will grow. Leave space over taller plants. Make sure you plant shorter herbs and plants below hanging baskets with downward growing plants.

Arrange the empty pots as they will be in the completed garden. Envision the fully grown plants to try to avoid space problems.

Mark the type of plant each pot will hold on the bottom of the pot. This will make it easier and quicker to pot the plants without accidentally putting the wrong plant in the wrong pot, thus requiring a repot.

Move the pots to your potting area. Ideally, potting areas are outside, but plants can be potted anywhere cleanup is easy. Many window gardens have been planted in a bathtub.

Mix 70 percent to 80 percent potting soil with 20 percent to 30 percent odorless compost in your bucket. Some potting soils are available with compost already mixed in. If you are using this kind of soil, skip this step.

Remove a plant from its plastic pot and, using your small gardening shovel or your hands, put enough potting soil and compost mix in the bottom of the pot to support the plant's root ball to the desired level in the pot. Double-check the plant name on the bottom of the pot to be sure you are planting the right plant in the right pot.

Put the plant and root ball in the pot. Fill in the empty areas of the pot with your potting soil and compost mix and gently pack the soil.

Repeat steps 5 and 6 until all of your plants are potted. Once potted, arrange the plants in your window garden and water the plants.


Things You Will Need

  • Pots
  • Magic marker
  • Small gardening shovel
  • Potting soil
  • Odorless compost or other organic fertilizer
  • A bucket
  • Plants


  • Southern-facing windows are ideal for window gardens.
  • Each plant might require different amounts of water. Write the watering schedule with your marker on the bottom of the pot.
  • Plants grow toward the sun, so remember to rotate your pots every week or two to avoid a leaning window garden.


  • If you have cats, consider planting a pot of cat grass to keep the cats out of the garden. Many cats love to eat greens and cat grass, available in many pet shops, will distract them from your other herbs and flowers.

About the Author


Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.