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How to Plant Flowers in Window Boxes

Add curb appeal and enliven your home with a flourishing window box. Learn how to plant flowers in window boxes to create a thriving miniature garden that enhances your home’s charm.

Planting in window boxes is one of my favorite ways to add a touch of color and beauty to the exterior of my home.

It’s also an excellent way to grow plants in small spaces or in areas where traditional gardening isn’t possible.

After completing the renovation of our garden shed, we added these adorable stainless steel window boxes with an antique copper finish.

I love how the copper finish looks with the paint color on the shed, don’t you? New window box planters mean more opportunities to plant pretty plants and flowers.

So let’s warm up the garden shed with some beautiful spring flowers.

Follow these tips for designing and planting a window box that will add curb appeal to your home.

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How Do Window Boxes Planted With Flowers Make Your House Look Better?

Window boxes planted with flowers can add a lot of visual appeal to your home and make it look better in several ways:

  • Adds curb appeal. Window boxes filled with colorful flowers can add instant curb appeal to your home, making it more attractive and eye-catching from the street. This can be especially beneficial if you are looking to sell your home or just want to enhance its overall appearance.
  • Brightens up the facade. Window boxes can help brighten up the facade of your home, adding a splash of color and texture that can help break up monotonous or plain-looking walls. This can make your home look more interesting and inviting.
  • Adds character. Window boxes can also add character to your home by creating a focal point and bringing a sense of charm and personality to your home’s exterior.
  • Creates a welcoming atmosphere. Flowers have a way of making people feel happy and welcome, and a window box filled with colorful blooms can create a warm and inviting atmosphere around your home.
Gorgeous cottage garden in the backyard in front of a garden shed with sedum autumn joy and wood picket fence with dahlias and zinniasin front of garden shed in backyard garden with green garden stakes topped with terra cotta clay pots - My cut flower garden in front of the shed in the backyard with a wood picket fence and sedum autumn joy - How to Save Money at the Garden Nursery
My garden shed with window boxes filled with flowers

What Should I Plant in My Window Box

There are lots of pretty plants and flowers that can be planted in a window box. Depending on the location (sun, part sun or shade), you’ll want to design your window boxes accordingly.

Keep in mind that soil and plants carry a lot of weight, particularly after it rains. So make sure you reinforce the window boxes so they don’t fall off the building. (It’s happened to me before).

Annuals that I enjoy using in spring window boxes include:

  • Petunias
  • Euphorbia
  • Sweet Potato Vine
  • Geraniums
  • Ivy
  • Vinca
  • Impatiens
  • Bacopa
close up of copper window boxes with flowers and plants - How to Plant Flowers in Window Boxes
How to Plant a Window Box for Spring

How Wide Should a Window Box Be to a Window?

The width of a window box should generally be equal to the width of the window or slightly smaller, depending on the size and style of the window.

This will ensure that the window box fits properly and looks proportional to the window.

If the window is very large, you may want to consider using multiple window boxes or a larger planter that spans the width of the window.

Additionally, it’s important to make sure that the window box is deep enough to accommodate the roots of the plants you plan to grow.

A depth of at least 6 inches is recommended for most plants but if you can, I’d go deeper so it doesn’t dry out as quickly.

Just make sure you reinforce the boxes so it holds the additional weight of soil and plants.

close up of purple pansies and violas

Should Window Boxes Have Drainage Holes?

Yes, window boxes need drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. Proper drainage is important for the health of the plants in the window box because it helps prevent water from collecting at the bottom of the container, which can lead to root rot and other problems.

Without drainage holes, water can become trapped in the bottom of the window box, which can suffocate the roots of the plants and cause them to die.

Drainage holes allow the excess water to drain out of the bottom of the container, which helps prevent this from happening.

If your window box does not have drainage holes, you can drill some holes in the bottom of the container yourself.

It’s important to make sure that the holes are large enough to allow water to escape but not so large that soil will fall out of the bottom of the container.

Make a few drainage holes to help water get out and if you are concerned about soil washing out, use a piece of weed fabric in the bottom to help keep it in.

bright yellow pansies

How Do You Attach a Box to a Window?

There are several ways to attach a window box to a window, depending on the type of window and the window box itself.

But the best way to do it is by using brackets and screws.

Many window boxes come with brackets and screws that attach to the sides of the window box and then to the window itself. These brackets are typically made of metal and are designed to fit over the windowsill or be screwed into the wall beneath the window.

Another option is to create a load-bearing shelf with brackets to support it to hold the weight of soil and plants.

Before attaching the window box, it’s important to make sure that the window and surrounding area are clean and free of any debris that could interfere with the attachment method.

Additionally, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the window box to ensure that it is attached securely and safely.

close up of copper window box planter on a shed with plants and pink flowers

How Many Plants Should Be in a Window Box?

When determining how many plants you should include in a window box, consider the garden design idea that the eye breaks spaces in thirds.

So choose an odd number of plants (3, 5, 7 or 9) and stuff them in the planters.

If the gardening season is short like it is here in my zone 6a hardiness zone, I suggest planting them tightly so you get a full look from the outset and fewer weeds pop up.

Cottage garden flowers in my cut flower garden in backyard garden in front of garden shed with wood picket fence - Staking flowers is important to do when growing a cut flower garden

How Do You Organize Plants in a Window Box?

Before planting, move your plants around in the window box until you get a look that is aesthetically pleasing.

Be sure to include both flower and foliage plants, but make sure they are balanced and not all grouped together on one side or the other.

Stand back and ask yourself if the window box looks symmetrical.

If it looks good, then pot it up!

Garden shed with cut flower garden inside a wood picket fence with an arbor - the window boxes are not yet filled -How to Plant Flowers in a Window Box Planter
Before the window boxes were planted with flowers.

How to Plant Flowers in a Window Box

I potted them up with some pretty spring flowers that would accentuate the beauty of the copper planters and add cottage charm to my garden shed.

Supplies Needed to Plant in a Window Box

Getting ready to pot up a window box on my potting bench - How to Plant Flowers in a Window Box Planter

For this project, the plants I chose are:

  • Geraniums
  • Sweet Potato Vine
  • Bacopa
  • Euphorbia
  • Vinca
Nursery Trip with garden blogger stacy ling
When I shop for annuals, I don’t mess around. I bring the big truck!

Determine the Location

The first step is to determine where the window boxes will be maintained. Does the area receive full sun, part sun, or shade?

Understanding the location will help you choose the right plants.

If you aren’t sure how much sun or shade an area gets, watch it for one full sunny day.

  • 6-8 hours of direct sunlight means you have full sun
  • 4-6 hours means you have partial
  • And 4 or less means you have shade
Shopping to Plant Flowers in a Window Box Planter with annuals from the garden nursery on shopping cart with pink petunias
Nursery Trip with Shana inspecting the plants and reading the labels

Choose Flowers for the Window Boxes

Once the location is determined, it’s time to shop for plants.

If choosing to create a container design with a few plants, it’s important to make sure that they each have the same or similar light conditions as well as water conditions.

Look at the plant tags to learn more about the needs of each plant. You’ll find greater success that way.

If your window boxes will be in full sun, you want to choose plants that can handle the light but also be able to handle some dryness. Because in the heat of summer, trust me, those window boxes will dry out quick if they are not self-watering.

If window boxes will be maintained the shade, you’ll want to choose more shade-tolerant plants.

So read the plant tags.

Understanding light and water conditions will help you take better care of your plants after the container garden is finished.

How to Design a Window Box Garden

While shopping around the nursery, I was looking for plants that would accentuate the planters and could handle lower light conditions.

One of the things I like to do is group my plants together in the nursery to see how they look together.

Are they aesthetically pleasing?

I look at foliage, blooms, plant size, and the overall plant habit.

Because when designing a container garden, I use the thriller, filler and spiller method of design.

NJ garden blogger stacy ling potting up a copper window box on her potting bench - How to Plant Flowers in a Window Box
How to Plant Flowers in a Window Box - stacy ling planting pink geraniums in copper window box planter

How to Plant Flowers in a Window Box

  • Gather supplies.
  • If possible, remove the window box and work from a table. In many cases, this isn’t possible, and that’s OK. But it is much easier to pot them on a table if you can.
  • Cut weed fabric to size to fit inside the planter. This will help keep the soil in instead of washing out every time you water.
  • Add some potting soil with a hand trowel or cup so the plants have some soil to sit in.
  • Check the planting depth by adding your plants while still in their plastic nursery pots. You want the soil line to match up with about an inch down from the top of the container. If more soil is needed to get the right depth, add more.
  • Remove plants from plastic pots and fan out the roots before setting in the container. This encourages the roots to grow out into the potting soil.
  • Backfill with potting soil, tamping it down as you go to remove the air pockets.
  • Add a slow-release fertilizer to the container, water, and enjoy!

When planting your window box, you’ll want to arrange your plants in a way that creates a balanced and visually pleasing display. You can use different heights and textures to add interest and don’t be afraid to mix and match different plants for a unique look.

And that’s it!

Didn’t they turn out beautiful?

How to Plant Flowers in a Window Box - stacy ling planting pink geraniums in copper window box planter
close up of newly planted window boxes in cottag garden in early spring - How to Plant Flowers in Window Boxes

How Often Should You Water a Window Box

It’s important to note that window boxes can dry out much easier than larger planters. So frequent watering is a must, particularly during the summer. Or you’ll need to use plants that can handle drier conditions, like succulents.

Unless you add an irrigation system like this one set on a timer, you may need to water your window boxes 1-2x a day in the heat of summer.

Keep an eye on your plants to make sure they do not wilt.

Click here for more container garden care tips.

close up of newly planted window boxes on garden shed in early spring with wood picket fence and lilac flowersHow to Plant Flowers in a Window Box Planter
Shed Garden at Sunrise in May in suburban new jersey garden

Why You Should Consider Using Self-Watering Window Boxes

Self-watering window boxes are a great option for those who want to grow plants in a window box but may not have the time or ability to water them regularly.

Here are some reasons why you should consider using self-watering window boxes:

  • Consistent moisture: Self-watering window boxes have a reservoir at the bottom that holds water, which is then drawn up into the soil as the plants need it. This ensures that the soil remains consistently moist, which is important for the health of the plants.
  • Reduced maintenance: With a self-watering window box, you don’t have to worry about watering your plants as frequently, as the reservoir can hold enough water to keep them hydrated for several days or even weeks, depending on the size of the box and the plants you are growing. This can reduce the amount of time and effort required to maintain your window box garden.
  • Less water waste: Self-watering window boxes are designed to reduce water waste, as the reservoir only releases water as the plants need it. This can be especially beneficial in dry climates or areas where water is scarce.
  • Improved plant growth: Because self-watering window boxes provide consistent moisture and reduce water stress on plants, they can promote healthier growth and larger yields for edible plants.

Overall, self-watering window boxes can be a convenient and efficient way to grow plants in a window, while reducing maintenance and promoting healthy growth.

When using self-watering planters, make sure you add enough support to hold the additional water, soil, and plants because it can get very heavy and you don’t want them falling off your house.

close up of copper window boxes with flowers and plants - How to Plant Flowers in Window Boxes
How to Plant a Window Box for Spring

Shop for Window Boxes

There are lots of different window box options to shop for. Choose one that will look good with your home and speaks to your personal style.

Click here to shop these affordable and beautiful window boxes for your home and garden.

close up of garden shed with window boxes in cut flower garden with cottage style and wood picket fence

More About Planting in Window Boxes

Do you plant in window boxes? Have you thought of adding them to your home or garden? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I would love to know more in the comments below.

And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it to the blog. Would love to see you there too!

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Want to Learn How to Grow Flowers With Ease?

If you’ve always wanted to grow flowers but struggled with where to start or how to create something beautiful, I got you. I wrote a book that shares all the things you need to know to grow a beautiful and easy-care flower garden.

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the bricks 'n blooms guide to a beautiful and easy-care flower garden

What’s in the Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide?

  • Gardening basics to set you up for success
  • Great garden design ideas with ready-made plans for you to follow
  • Easy-care instructions for a wide variety of flowering annuals, perennials, and shrubs
  • Helpful how-tos for container and cut flower gardening
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My book publishes on February 6, 2024, but you can preorder now and get a special pre-order bonus chapter you can’t get when the preorder period closes.

Preorder your copy here and get a free, downloadable guide that shares bonus information with tips and unique garden designs to get year-round color in your landscape. Offer ends 2/5/24.

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Garden Supplies I Use

I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. From pruners to deer repellents, here are some of my favorites in no particular order.

1850 farmhouse with front porch and spring flowers including ajuga, ranunculas, with hostas and buckeye tree.
The Prettiest Thrift Flip Idea for the Front Porch

It Helps to Have a Potting Bench

To raise your workspace so there is less strain on your body and organize all the things, you totally need a potting bench. There are so many wonderful options you can buy that will accommodate any garden space or budget.

I found some great ones that I would LOVE to have. Some are so pretty yet functional. And if you aren’t that big into gardening, they would even make great decor for a porch or patio.

Click here to shop for potting benches.

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I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as find ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes too.

Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging.

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How to Plant Flowers in Window Boxes
How to Plant Flowers in Window Boxes

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  1. Those window boxes are gorgeous…a step up from the cocoa fiber hay racks. Honestly, you can’t beat geraniums in a sunny window box. As long as you deadhead and fertilize they will bloom til frost.

  2. I love the choices of plants you combined to make theses beautiful flower boxes. I was wondering if you have ever discussed how you water your extensive outside gardens? Do you use a sprinkler system? soaker hoses? hoses with a sprinkler wand? Thanks for the wealth of knowledge you share with us!

    1. Funny you ask – I’m sharing a post about how to care for gardens while away on vacation tomorrow that will touch on this very topic! Thank you xoxo