Small space gardening and city gardening have their own unique challenges. Apartment dwellers may not have access to any useful green space and city gardening spaces are few and far between. One option for the apartment or city dweller is to use window boxes as a garden area.
Window boxes are easy to plant and maintain, and can be used in both apartments and homes. Think of your window boxes as mini gardens and be creative with your display. The choice of plants and the many styles of window boxes make it easy!
Size and Material of Window Boxes
Start by selecting and preparing your window box. Selecting the appropriate size and style is important for a beautiful window box display. Measure window ledges and decide how the boxes will be mounted. Be sure that the size of the window box is not too large or small for the window. The size should be in proportion to the window for the best looking results.
The type of material your window box is made of will determine the way the window boxes are prepared for planting. Terra cotta window boxes require a bit more preparation in that you must provide gravel under the soil for good drainage, and they should be brought inside during cold weather to prevent cracking of the container.
Window boxes made of more porous type materials may need to be lined with plastic in order to retain moisture before planting, such as with baskets or wooden boxes. Plastic window boxes are inexpensive, lightweight, and last a very long time through all kinds of weather.
Soil for Window Boxes
Choosing a good soil mix will ensure your window box garden is a success. Look for soil mixes that are specifically made for containers. This type of soil retains moisture better than regular soil. Window boxes, like any other plant containers, will dry out faster than gardens in the ground.
Container soil usually includes a peat base that holds water longer and drains less of it off. Standard soil will work as well, but remember to water frequently! Try using mulch on top of your soil to retain moisture and provide warmth to young plants. A good bark mulch or small gravel will work fine in a window box.
Location of Window Box
The location of your windows will undoubtedly decide the type of plants you will choose for your window box, depending on the amount of sunlight they receive. City gardening can be a challenge due to the close proximity of buildings allowing very little light to get to the flowers.
Plenty of plants and herbs grow well in the shade and can make a beautiful window box display. Flowers such as Begonias and Trailing Fuchsia do well in the shade and adapt well to window boxes. Herbs such as Parsley, Lemon Balm and Sweet Woodruff are shade loving herbs that look beautiful in a window box.
If you are lucky enough to have window boxes that will get sunlight, take advantage of the multitudes of flowers and plants available for sunny spots.
Whether you have sun or shade, selecting the correct flowers and herbs for growing in a window box is important. Consider the height of the flowers and herbs you choose. You obviously do not want your view from your window blocked by plants that have grown too high.
Too tall plants will also droop over the sides of the box. Choosing a plant that either grows relatively short and has smaller flowers, or a plant that naturally cascades down the sides of the box, will always look nice in a window box.
It’s easy to create your own beautiful window box that has a bright show of color for a shady location. First, choose a plastic window box in white, so that all the colors of your flowers stand out and they don’t compete with the color of your box. Line the window box with plastic to retain moisture, and place a thin layer of small gravel at the bottom.
Planting the Window Box
Fill the window box with soil, to about 3 inches from the top of the box. For this display, use 2-3 colors of Impatiens, a beautiful small flower with bright colors which doesn’t grow very tall. Salmon and fuchsia colored Impatiens are a good choice for color.
Place these around the edges of the window box, creating a border. Then, plant a few Begonias, which also come in many colors, in the center of the box. Fill in the remainder of space with pansies, which will grow well into the fall. Be cautious not to plant the flowers too close together or too close to the edge of the box. Finally, water and feed your window box flowers and enjoy!
Maintaining your beautiful window box display is easy. Water your flowers or herbs regularly, sometimes daily in hot weather, and feed your plants at least weekly. One of the benefits of window boxes is that you don’t have to weed!
You will need to check for insects and pests, however. Dead flowers or herbs should be removed from the window box to keep it looking fresh.
Window boxes are an easy way to solve small space or city gardening problems and are easy to plant and maintain. The plants and flower choices for window boxes are endless and can provide a beautiful display all summer long!