Beauty on your windowsill
For a dramatic display, choose plants that contrast with the background — bright plants against light siding or wood, pale flowers against dark brick walls. Here’s a brief rundown of the top 12 plants — both annuals and permanent ones — for window box culture. But remember that this list is intended only to get you started; your plant choices are many and varied for dynamic window boxes.
Sweet alyssum: Stalwart, reliable, fragrant trailer in white, cream, pink, and purple. Alyssum is exceptionally easy to grow and fills in beautifully, often reseeding itself.
Lobelia: Sound familiar? Yes, we often call on this little annual with clouds of cascading colour in white, sky blue, dark blue, rose, lavender, and cobalt. Simply great in window boxes.
Pansies: Perfect in any box, pansies offer prolific colour in many hues and quickly fill gaps between permanent plants or other annuals, offering long-lasting colour.
Petunias: Choose these when you want a stunning summer box that shines in the sun. Try cascading varieties, as well as multifloras, for an abundance of blooms in a wide range of colours.
Impatiens: The plant for shade, and awesome in window boxes — especially valuable for continuous colour in a range of hues. Use low-growing, dwarf varieties. New Guinea hybrids also offer excellent foliage.
Dianthus: You get the bonus of fragrance with the gift of colour. Plants are well behaved. If all goes well, a breeze blows, sending sweet scents through your open windows.
Ivy geranium: Yep. The selfsame winner in hanging baskets, this one also works really well in window boxes, gracing us with wonderful trailing stems covered with bright flowers. In cold climates, grow it as an annual.
Geraniums: Bedding geraniums are the classic window box plant — grown for clusters of brilliant flowers in colours ranging from white to crimson to apple blossom pink. Plants are easy to grow. Consider geraniums an annual in cold climates.
Dwarf bulbs: Forgive us for lumping so many bulbs together, but the miniature nature of many flowering bulbs — daffodils, crocus, grape hyacinth, cyclamen — makes them ideal players in the window box.
Ground ivy: Impressive long stems spill from your window box in shimmering green or variegated tones. Ground ivy can survive through winter in milder climates.
English ivy: Hardy, versatile, attractive, and useful for any box where you want trailing plants, ivy handles in sun or shade. For extra colour, choose varieties with cream or yellow accents on the leaves.
Miniature roses: You have dozens to choose from, and each one can be trusted to perform elegantly and effectively in combinations with annuals or other permanent plants. Some varieties also offer fragrance.