Planting Window Boxes for Year Around Beauty

September 24th, 2011

Window boxes and other plant containers can be enjoyable year round.

Just because it might not be summer any longer does not mean those pots have lost their use until next year. Create some texture and color for winter box use. Below are a few ideas on what I mean. Remember: You are only limited by your imagination. I like the idea of finishing a window box off with moss for a more professional look, but is not necessary. Most all of these items can be picked up at your local market, greenhouse, garden center, or ordered from Greenwood Nursery.

Keep it simple and use what is available. For point of reference in my examples, I am planting a 30 inch window box liner.

In spring, swap out the box liner with another liner filled with spring/summer blooming annuals or perennials. Your winter collection can be kept as is for several years. After a year some of the larger growing plant varieties may need to be relocated to your landscape so their root systems can expand.

Example 1: 2 rosemary trees in gallon containers (one on each end), 2 blue rug junipers in center, and sprays of evergreens, boxwood and bittersweet from walking in the woods.

Example 2: 3 heuchera plum puddings centered in gallon containers, and 4 sedum Angelina on the ends to provide wonderful contrast. These colors would look gorgeous against a house with white or other lighter color siding.

Ornamental grasses are so versatile to work with. The smaller sizes are just perfect for containers.

Example 3: 2 hameln grasses in gallon containers in the center, one blue glow fescue grass in a gallon container on each end, with 4 pachysandra green sheen plants planted between the grasses.

Sweet and simple is this look. On each end plant one gallon size emerald green arborvitae, in the center plant two of the one gallon size acorus ogon grass adding 3 wooly thymes draping over the front.

Although the growth on most plants will have slowed during winter, without any regular rainfall, you may need to water every few weeks to keep all of the plants from drying out. Make certain that your planting container has several drainage holes. A few rocks, piece of tile or foam peanuts are good for placing over the drainage holes to keep them from getting blocked. Top the container off with moss or excelsior for a wonderful finished look.

Below is a listing of a few plants that in their young state, gallon containers and smaller, that work perfectly in window boxes and other containers. Don’t limit yourself to just these varieties. Use what is available in your area.

Junipers – Ornamental Cabbage – Rosemary – Arborvitae – Creeping Thyme and other herb plants

Pines – BoxwoodsPachysandra – Holly – Cool Season Ornamental Grasses

Small mum’s – Evergreen Ferns – Heucheras – Ivy – Miniature Roses

Hens & Chicks – Winter Heather

Remember to have fun with gardening projects and be creative. Bring out some of those old decorations from the attic or basement and put them into use again outside in the containers, such as a tiny artificial tree or those wooden spirally trees. They would look very festive and give them a new purpose.

Visit the Greenwood Nursery Online Garden Center for a great selection of plants for window box and container planting.

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