I’ll tell you, the one thing the South get’s right is its curb appeal. There isn’t a city in the South that doesn’t have at least one historic home with a beautiful window box displaying that season’s finest annuals and crawling ivy. As a part of our patio refresh, I wanted to put the old flower boxes to good use and fill them with a bevy of petunias, geraniums, and crawling vine. Windowsill boxes are an easy way to add color to a home’s facade, or in this case, patio.
Step One: Getting Your Window Box
First thing is you’ll need to decide on the type of window box you want to use. I have the wire hanger window box with natural hay liner so the plants get a lot of drainage (to prevent root rot), but some people opt to build their own out of wood (or you can find some pre-built one’s here) to fit under the windowsill. The key is to make sure it’s the right size for the space you place on adorning. Like with curtains, you typically want your window box to be a bit wider than the window itself. If you have two windows close together on your house, you want your window boxes to be as wide as your windows.
Step Two: Picking the Right Plants
Part one: Make sure you get plants that will be happy next to each other. You don’t want a shade loving plant next to a sun-loving plant. Depending on where you plant your window box, one of those plants will be unhappy next to each other. Make sure you read the container to see what kind of sun the plants will need before planting.
Part two: The prettiest flower boxes have a formula to their success of being visually interesting. In each box, you will need a thriller, a filler, and a spiller. Your statement flower that stands taller than the rest is going to be your thriller, a great flower for this is a geranium. Next, you’re going to want a pop of color through your filler, this could come in the form of petunias or non-flowering plants like this polka dot plant. Then you want some spillers. These are the flowers and vines that spill over the edge creating the “tame but wild” look and can be achieved with ground covering ivy, or bacopa flower.
Step Three: Prep Your Flower Box
Before you plant your flower box, you’ll want to water the plants and get their roots wet and saturated. You also want to make sure you get the right soil, I like Miracle Grow’s Moisture Control Container Soil. It helps the plants retain the necessary moisture so you can be certain you’re not overwatering. You’ll want to fill your flower box half full of soil before adding your flowers and give that bottom layer of soil a thorough watering until water drains out of the bottom of the hay liner.
Step Four: Plan your Flower Layout
Once you’ve watered your flowers, lay out your flowers on the ground to make sure they fit well in your box and aesthetically no one will be competing next to each other. You don’t want to put two different spillers next to each other otherwise they’ll be competing for attention in your box.
Step Five: Plant, Water, Drain, Watch
You’re ready to plant! Once you’ve laid out your plants, start from the middle and work your way to the outside with your design, adding soil as you go. Be certain not to pack the soil in too compact- you want the root area to stay a little airy to prevent root rot. When you’ve added dirt to the base of all of the plants, water the plants so that water drains through the bottom. Keep an eye on your plants carefully for the next two weeks to make certain they aren’t being over or underwatered. A good test is to stick your finger in the dirt about two inches, if the soil is dry it needs water. It’s recommended to water your new flower box 2-3 times per week during the first two weeks.
Step Six: Enjoy
The final step is to step back and enjoy your hard work! Flower boxes are a great alternative to keeping fresh flowers in the house at all time and really help to spice up the front of your home or add some color to a patio. Just be aware that most flower boxes use annual plants, so you’ll get to practice your flower boxing skills each Spring season with a new crop of flowers to show off.
Make sure you have these items on hand before you start your windowbox flower