Window boxes not only let you grow a window garden, but also add to the beauty of your house. The size and shape of the box, as well as its color, add emphasis to your facade.
Materials for Window Planter Boxes
Wood is a traditional material for window boxes, but select the kind of wood carefully. Some are more suitable than others for use as plant containers. Wood does degrade over time and with exposure to the elements, so wooden window boxes will require more maintenance than some others.
- Pine is a soft wood that rots quite easily. The moisture needed to grow plants will shorten the life of a pine box.
- Oak is strong, but it turns black when wet. An oak box usually looks unattractive after the plants are watered, although a good paint job can conceal that characteristic.
- Cyprus wood has a high oil content that makes it resistant to weather and moisture.
- Cedar is very resistant to decay. Cedar boxes can even be left unfinished to weather naturally.
- Teak is a durable and beautiful wood, but it is an expensive choice.
Wooden boxes are popular not only because they are attractive and durable, but also because they can be decorated in many ways. They can be painted a single color to blend or contrast with the color of your house. They can be stained. They can be ornamented with cutout or painted shapes.
Be cautious when choosing paint or stain for a wooden window box, since some contain chemicals that will have a bad effect on your plants. Building a box from pressure-treated lumber is all right, but don't use chemically-treated lumber for the same reason.
Antique wrought iron boxes from France are gorgeous, but a modern reproduction may look just as beautiful. Remember that heavy iron boxes require more support than lighter materials.
Fiberglass window boxes are very strong and lightweight. They won't rot even when they're filled with moist soil, and they aren't damaged by extreme heat or cold. They can be painted if the paint is chosen carefully.
Plastic hanging baskets can be seen everywhere, but heavier plastic is also suitable for window boxes. It is lightweight and inexpensive, but some plastics are not very durable. Some gardeners feel that plastic boxes heat up rapidly, which can cause a problem for plant roots, and dry out rapidly.
Ideal Size for Window Boxes
Plants grow best in window boxes that are nine inches or more deep. This allows enough room for healthy roots. Most boxes are around seven or eight inches wide.
Window boxes look finest when their length matches with width of the window. If the window has shutters, the box should be a little longer, so that it reaches to about the middle of each shutter.
Ensure the Box Has Good Drainage
Drainage is very important for healthy plants! Your window box should have plenty of drainage holes in its bottom. Some molded boxes have a specially designed concave bottom that channels water down the sides of the box and into the drainage holes.
Most boxes require liners, so that the soil or growing medium will not wash out of the drainage holes when the plants are watered. Pebbles are pieces of broken terra cotta pots are traditional liners, but weed cloth is lighter weight.
Provide Secure Support for the Box
Weight is an important consideration for window boxes. A box full of moist soil and plants is heavy, so it must be securely attached to the wall and supported by brackets. The larger and heavier the box, the more brackets will be necessary.
Window boxes can be mounted just an inch or so below sliding or double-hung windows. If the window opens outward, like a casement or awning window, the box should be mounted six to eight inches below the windowsill. That way, the plants will not be damaged when the window is opened.
The Convenience and Beauty of Window Boxes
Window boxes make tending flowers and other plants as easy as opening a window. There's no tromping through a muddy garden or dragging a hose behind you, and yet you can actually increase your gardening space by installing one. With a few hand tools and a watering can, you can easily take care of your plants' needs. These planters also make your home look more attractive. All things considered, window boxes can make a very nice addition to your outside home decor. Check your local garden centers to take a look at all of your options.