Gardening Tips

Gardening Tips – July 2019

Window Box 101

Flower boxes or Window boxes have a history beginning in Europe and making its way to America with early settlers. Terra Cotta planter boxes date back to the Romans with use in cottage gardens for food, medicine and religious uses and finally window boxes were used for flowers. Historically window boxes were made out of iron hay frames, wrought iron, wood and terra cotta.

Window boxes are attached to the window sill or just below a window attached to the wall. Brackets are used for support on the wall below or window boxes can be bolted to a wall. Window boxes should not touch the wall to allow water/soil to fall behind and drain away from the wall. Window boxes are often accessed from indoors and used by people who don’t have access to a yard, live on upper floors or have access only from a balcony.

Window boxes can solve the problems of a small garden and help gardeners avoiding bending. They should be hung just under the window. They provide greenery and color to the home and offer an opportunity to grow your garden in the window box. You can place your window box along your balcony or yard deck enclosure.

Window boxes should extend beyond the brackets or corbels and window sills or approximately the width of the window or group of windows. The height of the window box with mature height of the plants considered should be 1/5 or 20% – 25% of the window as you do not want to cover the entire window.

I recently added a 6 foot window box made of PVC to my window. Assembly was easy and required gluing together 5 pieces. After letting the window box dry, I attached the 4 brackets to the wall. You may use a wood brace to attach to a wall for more support but I chose not to do so. The window box fits tightly in the attached brackets. I used biodegradable/compostable packing peanuts about an inch deep in the bottom of the window box to fill up some space. Next, I added a good, light weight potting soil, slow release fertilizer and finally arranged, then added my plants. My planter is located in a sunny to part sun location, therefore I added warm season sun loving plants appropriate to this location, and finally watered them in. I packed a lot of plants in the window box for maximum impact. I used Angelonia, Sun Coleus, Salvia, Speedwell, Potato vines “Marguerite” and “Sidekick”, Lisianthus, Torenia, Feather Grass “Ponytails”, white and pink Vincas, Wave petunias (they will need to be replaced as they are fading fast but I love petunias). I used mostly pinks and purples. Plants that don’t do well can be easily replaced.

Treat the window box as you would other containers. Change out the plant material for each new planting season. Also, use fresh new potting soil each time you add new plants. The window box makes for a nice addition to any home or garden and also adds an element of vertical gardening.

By Karen Blackburn

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