Choosing, Hanging and Caring for Window Boxes

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Follow these tips for success when you're planning and planting window boxes.

window box tips

Choosing window boxes

First, make sure you choose rot-resistant material for your boxes. Be certain that the boxes are sturdy enough to hold the weight of soil and plants. Remember that watering the soil will make it heavier. Make sure that the boxes you make or buy have drainage holes.

The best wooden window boxes are those made of treated redwood or cedar. Fiberglass window boxes are expensive, but they are beautiful, and their long lifespan may make up for the initial cost outlay. However, don't rule out inexpensive plastic boxes only because you don't like their look. They can easily be hidden by trailing plants.

Hanging window boxes

Window-box tips

Note how the brackets on these window boxes keep the boxes away from the building and help air flow and water from rotting the boxes. Photo credit: gettyimages

Use brackets slightly longer than the window box itself in order to leave space between it and the house. This prevents water from getting trapped at the back of the box, potentially damaging the house's siding.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installing the brackets. Make sure that the top of the window box sits a few inches below the window (especially if your windows open outward). This placement leaves more space for plants to mound without totally obscuring your view.

Caring for window boxes

To cut down on the weight that the window box must bear, fill it halfway with packing peanuts or foam pieces before you add soil and plants. Most annuals need only six inches of soil.

Window boxes—like any container—dry out quickly. You may need to water them daily.

Don't count on rainfall to adequately water your plants, particularly if there are eaves or gutters above the window box.

To cut down on maintenance and keep things looking beautiful, choose drought-tolerant annuals that bloom over a long period and do not require deadheading. Include plants whose best feature is their foliage, such as coleus and sweet potato vine.

For more tips plus planting recipes, check out How to Window Box. It is a fun and modern guide to creating window boxes for indoors or out.