Do you want to improve the curb appeal of your house? Adding a window box planter is one way to do that. The outlook of your home is as important as the indoor look is.
Window boxes are very special parts of the outlook of your home. Flat windows without anything often look kind of dull, and to bring life into the windows, you should put some flower boxes or box with other plants so your window will look colorful.
Window boxes are like wearable art for your home. They are attached to windows or porch rails, bring color and texture to eye level, and brighten up your home's exterior. Window boxes add color and interest to your home and they are relatively easy to build and install. Here are a few guidelines to assist you.
Like any garden planting, a window box comes with its own set of design considerations. Its close tie to the house is one. Study your home's exterior to see which windows need dressing up and what cues the architecture provides. Traditional houses, especially, welcome window-box plantings, which play up elements such as shutters and handsome trim.
But look from the inside out, too. From indoors, the window box frames the outdoor view and brings the scents of the garden in through the opened window. Consider which rooms you use often enough to warrant flower-edged views. Give thought to plant size and placement, as these window plantings can add privacy.
As with ground-level beds, light conditions will determine what you can grow. Full sun accommodates blooming annuals, while shade best suits foliage plants, like coleus and caladium. To properly show off these displays, select a box that's the same width as the window. Use sturdy brackets to attach the box to your house, and invest in a high-quality potting mix.
Arrange plants on top of the soil until you're happy with how the design looks from inside and out. Then ease them out of the nursery pots and settle them in.
Some crowding is fine, as long as you keep pruners handy to rein in rampant growers. You can also just drop potted plants directly into boxes and surround them with soil. This makes swapping out poor performers and popping in seasonal selections a snap.
Remember that the more window boxes you have, the simpler the design should be. Keep your plant choices to one, maybe two or three at an absolute maximum (and then only if they relate closely to each other, such as a light pink and a dark pink petunia) and then plant every box the same. It's hard to pick just a few plants when there are so many great ones around, but pick one or two this year, and then do something totally different next year.
With a little effort, you can keep box displays going strong all year. Regularly check the soil, daily in hot weather, and water thoroughly when it feels dry a half inch down. Since nutrients wash out quickly from containers, fertilizer is a must.
Good options include fish emulsion or liquid kelp, diluted to half strength and applied every two weeks.
Switch out cool-weather plants -- pansies and cyclamen, say -- for heat-lovers, like marigolds, as summer arrives. And as temperatures drop, try sneaking in edibles, like lettuce, for fall and a row of dwarf conifers for winter color.
Final word: do what you love. Containers and window boxes may be the most personal part of a garden. More care is spent picking the plants for a container than almost any other part of the garden. Each is placed purposefully in a container and because they need so much attention, and because they are the plants we most likely look at every day.
The bottom line is that if it looks good to you, it will look good to others. And it will improve your curb appeal.