Not everyone who likes to garden has the outdoor space for anything really ambitious. On the other hand, almost anyone can have a container garden. A window box full of flowers is one way to satisfy your gardening yen and beautify your home at the same time.
By planting annuals in your window or patio box, you'll be able to enjoy the variety of different flowers each year, or even switch more often.
Window box gardening is in some ways one of the easiest forms of gardening, but you'll still want to prepare and do it right. One of your most important decisions, of course, is choosing what to plant. You'll need to research different possibilities, with an eye toward such factors as how certain plants do in your climate, the amount of sunlight your box will get, and what type of care different plants need.
You'll also want to try for a pleasing variety of colors and shapes. Think like an artist. Consider how certain colors look together, and against the background of your walls and surroundings. Strive for a combination of upright plants that are tall but not so tall as to block the window, trailing plants and vines along the edges, filler plants, and bulbs.
Among the popular choices of annuals for a window box garden are:
* Black-Eyed Susan Vine
The black-eyed susan vine has blue-green arrowhead-shaped foliage, and blooms all summer in orange, white, and yellow colors. It does best in full sun, and its fast-growing, thin vines look terrific hanging down from a window box.
Dianthus form bushy, compact clumps. They have dark green evergreen foliage, and striking pink flowers with white or red accents. Their flowers will be more abundant in full sun. They are one of the easier flowers to grow, and can do well in almost any soil. Dianthus are much appreciated for their fragrance.
* Flowering Kale
Flowering kale will give you plenty of color throughout the winter. It does not literally flower, but the leaves, which are edible, are various shades of cream, green, and red, so that it looks like a giant bloom. With plenty of sun, moderately rich soil, and regular watering, it will grow to ten to twelve inches wide.
Impatiens are a good choice for a window box that doesn't get a lot of sun, as they thrive in partial shade, and some do well even in heavy shade. They are not picky at all about soil. They can grow to ten to twelve inches tall, though lower-growing dwarf varieties can also be good for a window or patio container. Their flowers come in shades of pink, red, and white.
Lobelia does best in rich soil and full sun, though it can do fine in partial shade as well. There are varieties good for window boxes that grow three to nine inches high, though there are also lobelia that reach eighteen inches high. The small flowers are blue, violet and white. Also called "Indian tobacco," this plant has long been used as a nature cure for respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis, and as a way to wean smokers off of nicotine, though science has offered little or no support for these practices, especially its supposedly facilitating quitting smoking.
Marigolds are hearty enough to grow in most soils, and to require little watering. They do best in full sun. They grow to eight to twelve inches tall, and their flowers are various shades of orange and yellow.
One of the easier flowers to grow, nasturtiums thrive in rich and semi-rich soils; the richer the soil, the more abundant will be their foliage. They do best in full sun. They will grow to ten to sixteen inches tall, and trail over the edges of the window container. They have round leaves, and their flowers are a lovely red, orange, or yellow, and are even edible.
Pansies are a good choice for the winter months, blooming from fall to spring. They are among the hardiest of flowers, needing little care, and doing well in full sun or shade, and in most soils. Their flowers are small, and come in many colors including blue, orange, purple, red, and yellow.
Petunias are a forgiving choice for a window box garden, as they're happy with most soils, can do well even if they get little water, and thrive in full sun but also partial shade. There are many different varieties of petunias, some growing upright to twelve inches tall, some no more than six inches tall, some that cascade over the sides of the box, some whose flowers are less than an inch in diameter, and some with huge showy flowers. Petunias come in a wide variety of colors as well, including blue, pink, red, and white, and are known for their pleasing fragrance.
* Sweet Peas
Sweet pea plants come in many varieties, depending on what you need for your window box. There are two foot bushy plants and eight foot climbing vines. Their flowers are a bright lavender, scarlet, white, or multi-colored, and are highly fragrant. They do best in rich soil and full sun.