10 Best Low-Maintenance Plants for Window Boxes

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While hanging plants and container gardens get their fair share of plant hype when springtime rolls around, it’s worth considering the always lovely window boxes. Though it’s tempting to run to the nearest nursery and grab anything that catches your eye, there are a few considerations to account for so your window box flowers stay healthy and happy. 

First, the hardiness zone you live in helps determine what plants will thrive in your environment, so check to see where your area falls. And think about the amount of sun your boxes will get: If your window boxes are covered by trees or roofing, shade-friendly plants are ideal, but if direct light is hitting your planters, flowers that can thrive in those conditions are a good bet.

Petunias, geraniums, and begonias are classic window box flowers, but you may be surprised to find options like roses, tulips, and hydrangeas being used in these set ups now. Maintenance, soil, and watering certainly depend on the plants you choose, but there are a few good general rules of thumb. Soil should offer good drainage and you be careful about exposing too much water to the walls your window boxes are attached to. When it comes to watering, setting up self-watering planters or writing down a schedule is smart, as sprinklers and hoses don’t always reach these types of planters.
So if you’ve already tidied up your patio plants or finished revamping your balcony garden, it’s time to tackle those window boxes. Below, see the best inspiration for what plants work best and the remarkable ways to style them.

1. Bright and Vibrant Floral Mix

A mixture of tulips, pansies, and small daffodils make the window box above captured by Jen Masucci of the account Philly Doorways extra colorful and eye-catching. The different levels of flowers and bold mix of shades create a perfect springtime 

2. Monochrome Color Palette Window Box

Choosing a single color and building a window box from there can make a dramatic impression, like seen in this picture from Laura Harley. Different textures of flowers between the hydrangeas and spiller flowers prevent anything from feeling too dull.

3. Trailing and Upright Flowers

The colors of the pink geraniums and and trailing white petunias and their sizes in this image from Camilla give a nice layered effect. Switching up the heights and widths of your selected flowers is a surefire way to spice up a window box.

4. Larger Than Life Blooms

These gorgeous window boxes from Sally Evans of the Little Paddock Cottage, feature a mix of larger-sized geraniums. Because the blooms are bigger, not as many flowers are needed to create a statement, and these ones in particular add a bit of fairytale whimsy to this cozy home.

5. Sharp and Sleek Black Window Box

A mix of different textures, colors, and shapes make this box from Rouvalis Flowers a feast for the senses. Pink azaleas, pink heather, pansies, blue hydrangea, and pussy willows are just a few of the flowers that make up this fantastic arrangement. Trying mixing a random variety—they might mix together better than you think.

6. Shape Mixing Window Boxes

The petunias mix beautifully with the sharper foliage that’s layered behind them in this picture from Laura Harley. Playing with different shapes makes for a window box that’ll always be fun to look at.

Emma of White Orchard Interiors curated this delicately chic window box. For fans of neutrals and minimalist design styles, sticking with a natural box and sprinkling in a few simple plants like ivy is a great way to continue your style outdoors.

8. Greenery Filled Window Box

This gem found in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn by Annie Diamond proves that flowers aren’t the only showstoppers in the window box world. Variegated ivy, variegated grass, and cedar are a few of the green fronds that make this arrangement so stunning.

9. Choose a Color Based on the Season

Cole Williams’ pretty planter contains orange and white petunias, marigolds, and summer snapdragons among some pretty dark green trailing vines. The colors featured make this a perfect assortment of blooms for spring and summer. When fall rolls around, you can replace flowers with foliage and even gourds and pumpkins.

10. Rainbow Assortment Window Box

Tiny to mid-sized blooms in all different colors make up this pretty box captured by The Charleston Lens. A wide selection of hues will easily add a punch of color to your home’s exterior.

11. Contrasting Light and Dark

Alex Thornton shot these gorgeous window boxes that contain a variety of flowers including lobelias and petunias. The darker colors of the plants are the perfect complement to the light blue shudders.

12. Faux Flower Window Boxes

Totally understandable if you just did a double take. These stunning window boxes from Shannon Morscheck from Living with Lady’s photo contain faux flowers, which make maintenance so much easier—no green thumb required.

You can never go wrong with vibrant colors for really sprucing up your window boxes. The geraniums in this picture from Adorn Planters are a perfect example of how to use bright hues in a window box—these ones specifically really pop against the dark window frames and light yellow walls.

14. Overflowing Trailing Plants

An abundance of lush and bushy flowers can solve for a bare-looking window box. Tracy from Plaids and Poppies shows how wildly flowing blooms can boost the springtime and summer vibes of an outdoor area.

15. Window Box With One Kind of Flower

This Old Cape Barn shows how even one type of flower can still look visually stunning. This scattering of plum purple Blue Moon tulips are dramatic, but far from moody thanks to the white window boxes and different blue shades on the house.

16. Lively Colors and Extra Greenery

Vivid green sweet potato vines, Supertunias, and cleomes are what make this punchy window box so stunning. Mary Ann of Grace in This Space selected a gorgeous combination of colors that harmonize super well with the light gray stones.

17. Unexpected Window Box Flowers

Roses aren’t the first plant you’d consider for a window box, but this image from Kathryn Lott shows how taller perennial plants like this can work in this type of space. Consider bold planters beneath larger windows the perfect homes for these flowers.

18. Hedges and Trailing Vines

A mixture of clean cut and free-flowing plants, like seen in this photo from Carla Taylor, can make for a beautifully balanced window box. Try arranging your plants with more structured, trimmed plants up top and cascading vines beneath them.

19. Overabundance of Trailing Flowers

You can never have too many flowers, and these bright pink petunias from Aly Greer of Wild Cotton Photo prove that the more blooms the better. Allow your plants to truly crawl and trail out of your window boxes for an intentional “overgrown” look that feels straight from a storybook.

20. Selective Color Palette Box

The aqua walls of this home are only boosted by the pretty green plants featured in this window box. Keeping in mind the color of your home and what plants you choose can really pay off stylistically, like seen in this image from Pam Greer.

– Re-edited from a post originally published on 6.17.2010 – DF


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