Window boxes full of colorful flowers can transform any plain uninteresting home, and give it the appearance of a picturesque country cottage before you know it. Homeowners with limited space will find them particularly useful.
There are plenty of flowers that can be grown in boxes including alyssum, lobelia, geraniums, marigolds, trillium, fuchsias, beautiful non-stop begonias or virtually any low growing flowers that love the sunlight.
Useful herbs that could be used include rosemary, chives, parsley and thyme. However, if you intend using mint take care to plant it on its own as it is very invasive and will take over all other plants.
The arrangement and display of flowers can be absolutely stunning and truly breathtaking. It is a shame we do not see more homeowners using them as they are relatively inexpensive and require little maintenance.
Window boxes themselves come in an array of materials, although I still prefer the traditional wooden ones. When choosing your boxes, consider the depth, eight inches should be considred a minimum as any less than this and plants will tend to dry out too quickly.
One of the most important issues is safety...
Boxes can be extremely heavy when full, and so secure fixing is essential, particularly with upstairs windows. It is best practice to secure the box to the wall prior to filling it with soil. The method of fixing will depend on your window style and careful thought should be given before proceeding.
Positioning too will play an important role in the success of your display, sunny aspects will most likely give the best displays, but shade loving plants such as Begonias can also provide dazzling displays.
If you are a keen gardener with a few diy skills, there is no reason why you can't make your own window box out of wood. You could build one of your own design or there are woodworking plans available to help you along.
If you choose to construct your own from scratch go for 3/4" hardwood, and use a water resistant glue and brass screws.Or if you go for softwood exterior-grade primer and paint.Don't forget to include to drill holes in the base for drainage.
Container-grown plants need regular attention to maintain them in prime
condition and so ensure the best display possible. If you make it a
habit to inspect them when you water, you will notice any problems as
soon as they arise.
Window boxes and other containers dry out very quickly and regular watering is essential. It should be carried out in the early morning or late evening during summer months. If only one watering is possible, an evening watering is preferable as the plants have the cool night hours in which to absorb the water.
A watering can is adequate for small window boxes although a hose will be more effective for larger ones.
Most potting composts (soil mixes) contain sufficient food for only six weeks of plant growth. After that, you will need to feed your plants using a variety of plant foods such as slow release granules and pellets, liquid feed or a general fertilizer. Always follow the manufacturers instructions, as too much fertilizer or liquid feed can burn the plants roots.
These are an efficient means of adding nutrients to plants, as they are added to water. Both organic and chemical varieties are available in many formulations. They may be added to the compost or sprayed directly on to the leaves, depending on the type. Apply liquid feeds bi-monthly in the growing season.
Deadheading And Pruning
Faded flowers will mar your plants and spoil your display. Remove them as soon as they fade. This will also encourage more flowers. Dead or drying leaves and stems also look unsightly and can rot and attract diseases, so remove these regularly.
As your seedlings grow, repot them to grow on before transplanting to the window box. Divide the plants, if necessary, and plant them in pots. Established plants that have outgrown a container can also be transplanted to a pot one or two sizes larger, but with permanent containers just change the top layer of compost (soil mix), or remove the plant, prune the roots and top, then replant with fresh compost.
Evergreen foliage can become grubby over the year. In spring, wash off any accumulated dirt and check for sooty moulds or signs of infection by pests such as caterpillars or grubs. Spray the plants if you find any problems.