Window boxes provide the opportunity to grow flowers, fruit, veg and herbs outdoors, without the need for a garden.
When planting up your window box, there are a few things you need to take into account. It’s a great chance to up-cycle old chests and crates, but whatever you use, do make sure the container has drainage holes. Drill these in if you need to.
Secondly, plants will use up the limited nutrients in compost quite quickly, so mix slow-release fertiliser granules into the compost when planting – this will gradually release nutrients throughout the growing season for a lush display.
Finally, to stop your window boxes drying out so quickly, water them regularly and consider incorporating water-retaining gel into your planting medium.
Discover some of our favourite plants for window boxes, below.
Strawberries can be grown in the smallest of spaces, so they’re ideal for window boxes. Keep the plants well watered and fed to ensure a decent crop. Discover more ways to grow strawberries in containers.
Mexican fleabane, Erigeron karvinskianus, is a tough perennial that can be grown in small spots, such as in between paving stones. A window box provides more than enough space, and it’ll provide masses of flowers for months on end.
For spring colour, try planting an assortment of spring bulbs like daffodils, grape hyacinths and hyacinths. Check out this daffodil and primula window box, or stipa and muscari window box for ideas and inspiration.
While chillies (Capsicum annum) are perennials, they’re often grown as annuals in cooler, temperate climates. A window box in a sunny spot is ideal. If you like spice, check out these six steps to growing hotter chillies.
Sempervivums will relish growing in a well-drained window box, on a bright windowsill. Browse sempervivum varieties to grow on our handy Plant Finder.
The are lots of herbs that will grow happily in window boxes. Herbs you can grow in window boxes include thyme, rosemary, sage, mint, parsley and basil. Find out how to plant up a herb container for more advice.
Crops like tomatoes, chard and lettuce will not only provide you with fresh food, but they’ll look colourful, too. The window box pictured is planted with tomatoes and lettuce, while the nasturtiums are great companion plants, helping to draw away pests. Follow our advice on how to get the best from veg in containers.
Annuals and tender perennials
Annuals and tender perennials are usually only grown for the year before being discarded, so don’t require much root space – and you can try different colours and flowers each year. Classic choices include petunias, lobelia and bidens. For scent, try nicotiana, night-scented stock and sweet alyssum.
Many of us will have some, if not all, windowsills that are in shade for the best part of the day. In these spots, go for shade-lovers like ivy, hart’s tongue ferns and cyclamens.
As half-hardy perennials, pelargoniums are perfectly at home grown in containers, allowing them to be moved somewhere sheltered and frost-free over winter. Deadheaded regularly, they’ll provide continuous blooms for months. Pelargoniums are easy to propagate, too.
Securing your window boxes
To stop your window boxes falling off, always make sure they’re secured. Metal brackets bolted to the wall can extend your windowsills, as well as help to secure the containers. You could also screw eyelets into the wall each side of the window box, then tie in the window box with some strong wire.