Window Box Ideas

Window Box Ideas

Choosing plants for containers and window boxes is such fun; there are so many creative possibilities! Everywhere you turn in the garden center there are vibrant flowers, striking foliage, and tremendous textures to pick from. Here are a few ideas for great window box combinations and some tips for success.

For those who love pink, blue and white, this mix of lobelia, petunias, Diamond Frost Euphorbia and Snow Princess Lobularia are popular. The Endless Illumination Browallia might be used instead of the blue lobelia for more long-lasting blue flowers.

TIP: Be sure that your boxes have drainage holes drilled or poked through before you plant them.

If your boxes get at least two hours of direct sun, even if it’s in the early morning or late afternoon, your shade plants will flower better. In this box a variegated, upright fuchsia is used in the center flaked in the back by Encanto Orange Begonias. In the front of the box dark blue Lobelia and yellow Calibrachoa almost overwhelm the variegated ivy. This photo was taken in early August.

TIP: Fill the entire window box with soil. Do not put rocks, shards, mulch or other materials in the bottom.

This country style box includes Profusion Zinnias, nasturtiums and purple Angelonia, with a Silver Falls Dicontra spilling over in the center.

TIP: Use a good quality potting soil for your boxes such as Coast of Maine Bar Harbor blend…these potting mixes have been blended to promote the fastest root growth without being too heavy.

A mix of plants that flower and those that have colorful foliage makes for an attractive box. Sweet potato vine, such as the lime green variety here, do well in sun or shade. This box also contains purple Supertunias, Heliotrope, Calibrachoa, and variegated Plectranthus. The touch of red is from an ivy geranium we think….

TIP: Mix fertilizer into the soil before you plant. If you use a mix of a time-release fertilizer such as Osmocote, and an organic fertilizer such as Flower-Tone, your plants will be well nourished all summer. Use about 1 tablespoon of this mix per plant.

This box is a simple mix of whites and greens. White petunias, Sutera and Lobelia are almost covering the three dwarf boxwood plants that were in the box all winter.

TIP: If you’re recycling old soil from last year, dump it into a wheelbarrow and add some Coast of Maine compost along with the fertilizer mix. Chop up old root balls and mix well before re-filling the boxes.

Don’t stress about color…when you put a group of flowers together it almost always “works.” Flower combinations are cheerful, no matter what you use.

TIP: When you water your window boxes be sure to run the hose for a few minutes to clear any sun-heated water out first. Hot water from a hose can kill your container plants! Water well and then come back and water again so that the entire root zone is well saturated. If possible, sneak your hose or can spout under the foliage so that you’re watering the soil and not the plants.

Happy Planting!


  1. Crystal on June 19, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    So glad I came across this, great ideas! Will finagle a way to water the soil and room before I plant my boxes this weekend.

  2. Diane on January 31, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Where do I get the fleu de lei iron window box shown in top picture. Have been looking a long time. Diane

    • CLFornari on February 3, 2016 at 10:17 am

      This photo was taken on Nantucket a few years ago so we have no way of knowing where the window box came from. Perhaps they are not available anymore?

  3. Ann Macnaughton on May 18, 2017 at 5:34 am

    Greetings from a passionate gardener in Ireland. We have lots of rain and shade but plants grow on almost a daily basis. Loved your tips and ideas for window boxes. Mrs Mac

    • CLFornari on May 18, 2017 at 7:36 am

      Greetings back to you, Ann! We often get college students from Ireland who work at our garden center in the summer in order to fund their Cape Cod holiday…they are often appalled at how sunny and hot it can be in July and August here!

  4. Jan Kienke on May 31, 2017 at 7:15 am

    Thank you for using specific plant names. I now know what I’m looking for when I’m in the green house trying to achieve a certain look for my planters.

    • CLFornari on May 31, 2017 at 7:35 am

      You’re welcome, Jan!

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