Whether you live in an apartment (with a yard or without), want to enhance the curb appeal of your house, or enjoy gardening with every bit of available space, window boxes can be an excellent choice.
There are some things you should consider before you choose what to plant in your window boxes: how much sun the area gets, whether you want to stick with a single flower type, how plants perform in relation to each other if you go for a mixed planting, your USDA growing zone, and more.
Read our tips for choosing the best window box flowers and immerse yourself in a DIY project that can be fun for the whole family and can increase your curb appeal! The Bouqs Co. can also help you with flowers for birthdays.
Window Boxes for Apartments
Window boxes are a great way to get your green thumb going when you live in an apartment and don’t have a backyard. All apartments, no matter how tiny, are required to have at least two means of egress, which typically means at least one window in addition to the door, so a window box should be an option for residents of even the smallest apartments.
Have a balcony? Even better! You can hang window boxes from the railing to add life to your balcony without taking up any precious square footage. If the ledge around your balcony is wide enough, you could also set window boxes up there and add a layer of privacy around your home.
Some apartments may have rules regarding your ability to set up window boxes, so you should check with your landlord first before spending your time and money setting up a window box in your apartment.
How Many Flowers Should I Plant in a Window Box?
When choosing what flowers to put in your window box, keep in mind that they will grow 3-4 times larger by the end of the season. Depending on the varieties you select, you can fit 5-7 plants in a 24” window box. Regardless of how many flowers you plant, make sure the window box has good drainage.
What Do You Put in Low-Maintenance Window Boxes?
If you would prefer to spend more time enjoying the blooms in your window box and less time watering and caring for them, some of the best low-maintenance plants for window boxes include:
- Sweet potato vine
- African daisies
- Dusty miller
- Red strawberry plant
Window Flower Boxes for Backyards
If you don’t want to dig up your backyard (maybe you rent or your home doesn’t already have a garden), planter boxes for backyards provide an excellent option for beautifying your yard. Don’t have a lot of space? Try hanging window boxes on the fence to add color to your yard without taking space away from your lawn or patio (this tip is also perfect for keeping plants away from pets). If you’re into rustic chic, you can also upcycle an old wood door by placing it in the backyard and attaching window flower boxes.
Pro tip: Corners of the yard are great locations for this.
Make your backyard even more liveable by including some plants that help repel mosquitoes.
Sun-Loving Flowers for Window Boxes
If you plan on putting window boxes in south-facing windows, you should choose flowers that need plenty of sun. Some flowers wilt and wither under too much sun, so the following blooms are excellent options for window boxes in sunny areas.
Perennial in Zones 9 to 11, petunias are popular annuals elsewhere across the country. Available in many patterns and colors, petunias will bloom from spring until the first frost. Petunias need well-draining soil and plenty of sun. Depending on the variety, they’ll max out anywhere from 6 to 18 inches tall.
Sun-loving salvia is hardy in Zones 5 through 10 and comes in blue, pink, purple, red, white, and yellow varieties. Part of the mint family, salvia helps repel garden pests while attracting butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.
Typically some shade of purple, heliotrope shrubs can be almost totally covered in blooms during the summer. Needing moderate moisture, plenty of sun, and good airflow, heliotrope has a sweet scent and is perennial in Zone 11.
With blooms that resemble a dragon’s snout, snapdragons come in many varieties, sizes, and colors. While they’re common annuals everywhere, snapdragons can also be grown as perennials in Zones 7-11.
Named after the five-pointed petals on the flowers, pentas come in a ton of colors and are excellent at attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. Also called Egyptian stars, some varieties get up to 6 feet tall, so be sure to choose smaller varieties for your window boxes. Pentas are grown as annuals in climates colder than Zone 10.
Also known as vervain, verbena can be hardy in zones 8 to 11 but is more commonly grown as an annual. Found in white, red, pink, purple, lavender, or bi-colored, verbena requires full sun and well-drained soil. Just be sure to plant them far enough apart for each plant to get plenty of air circulation when fully grown.
Shade Tolerant Flowers for Window Boxes
No south-facing windows in your home? No problem! Choose one of these plants that don’t need a lot of sun for shady window boxes.
Most varieties of begonias are perennial in Zones 9-11 and grown as annuals elsewhere. Some begonia types need more sun than others, but many varieties love the shade. Begonias love moist, well-draining soil.
Available in shades of orange, pink, purple, red, white, or yellow, impatiens bloom in the summer and fall and prefer partial sun exposure. Grown as an annual except in Zones 10 and 11, impatiens need plenty of moisture as well as protection from the wind.
Coleus plants can bring color to your window boxes all season long. Hardy in Zones 10-11 and grown as an annual elsewhere, coleus can tolerate full shade and comes in assorted colors, styles, and shapes. Make sure your cat or dog can’t access your window boxes because coleus is toxic to pets.
In moist, well-draining soil, fuchsias thrive in the shade and will bloom with red, pink, white, violet, or purple flowers from spring through fall. Sensitive to cold and usually grown as an annual, fuchsias produce dozens of dangling, teardrop-shaped flowers.
With small, sweet-smelling flowers in hues of pink, purple, red, or white, cyclamens go dormant in the winter and then quickly regrow in the fall. Hardy in Zones 9-11, cyclamens are popular annuals elsewhere. Keep them out of reach of pets and children as they are toxic.
Drought Tolerant Window Boxes
Don’t want to worry about constantly watering your window boxes? Choose one of these drought-tolerant plants.
While geraniums can be grown in the ground in Zones 8-11, they actually grow quite well when they are slightly root-bound (as they could become in a window box) as long as the soil drains well. Geraniums need full sun, but not too much heat, so they may do best in an indoor window box if you live in a steamy climate.
True annuals that grow well in Zones 3-10, zinnias come in pink, purple, yellow, orange, white, red, or green and need plenty of sun. Drought-tolerant zinnias rarely need supplemental watering (although they may appreciate a drink now and then during especially long dry spells).
Hardy in Zones 5-9, sweet alyssum can provide excellent ground coverage with its white, pink, or purple blooms around taller flowers. Take note that sweet alyssum is on California’s invasive species list and is an aggressive grower in warmer climates.
Also known as silver dust, dusty miller is a neutral-colored drought-tolerant plant that will act as a contrast for flowers in any color scheme. Winter-hardy in Zones 8-11, dusty miller needs full sun and is drought-tolerant.
Herb Garden Window Boxes
While flowers are beautiful to look at, why not turn one or more of your window boxes into an herb garden? The next time you’re seasoning a meal, you can just reach out your kitchen window and grab the herb you need.
Thyme becomes mature enough to harvest within just a few months and will return yearly in Zones 5-9. Native to the Mediterranean area, thyme prefers full sun and hot, dry conditions. Make sure to leave at least 12-24 inches between each plant as thyme grows quickly and takes up a lot of space.
Native to Europe and hardy in Zones 5a-9a, lavender prefers full sun and dry soil. The purple blooms smell divine, but the plant is toxic to dogs and cats, so plant it in a window box your pets can’t access.
Growing 2-6 feet tall, rosemary could act as a privacy screen in a window box while also providing spices for your cooking. Hardy in zones 8-10, rosemary needs full sun and prefers sandy, loamy soil.
A member of the mint family, basil grows perennially in Zones 10-11 and does well as an annual elsewhere. Sweet basil (commonly associated with Italian cooking) is one of the easiest and most popular herbs to grow and is ready for pruning in about 6 weeks.
Keep Blooming Year-Round With The Bouqs Co.
If you only have room for one small window box, you may not want to cut blooms from it, so for important occasions, send flowers online and keep friendship and love blooming year-round with The Bouqs Co.Shop All