While everyone knows that our window flower boxes are ideal for growing flowers and they will expand the amount of space you have at your disposal, not everyone is so quick to experiment with what will grow well in them. The truth is that many plants besides flowers will actually flourish in our flower boxes, and many of them bring some additional perks as well.
Additionally, a lot of the following plants have differing needs and will grow in a wide variety of environmental conditions, so whether you live in a dry or humid environment or have more access to sun or shade, there’s something here for you!
If you need to branch out and want to try growing something other than blooms and blossoms this upcoming spring, make sure you at least consider one of these plants. With the right care and attention, any of them would make a great fit for our window flower boxes, and some of them will even thrive in close proximity to each other!
Ornamental plants are plants that are grown for the character of their shapes or for the coloration of their foliage. Unlike flowers, which generally need to be in bloom to be appreciated, and which will only bloom given the proper growing conditions, some of the following ornamental plants can be grown year-round, which means you can enjoy them even in the colder months of the year!
Coleus is a beautiful ornamental that is almost immediately recognizable from its bright foliage, which often features contrasting splashes of bright pink, purple, burgundy, and lime green, although it comes in a variety of differently colored cultivars.
It doesn’t just come in cultivars that give you a variety of colors, though, as some cultivars are better suited to full sun whereas others are tolerant of shade. This means that you can find a breed of coleus that will grow well for you no matter where your window box is situated.
Coleus also grows well even when crowded and tolerates the company of other plants very well. Coleus is also a fairly easy plant to care for. If you keep the soil moist and give your breed the level of sun it needs, it will be happy and healthy for most of the season. In addition, coleus foliage can be enjoyed throughout the season when other flowers might fall out of bloom!
Ivy is like the demure older sibling of coleus, with regal foliage that is much less brightly colored than most cultivars of coleus. Ivy is also remarkably tough and tolerant of much harsher environmental conditions than most breeds of coleus. If you have a slightly cooler, darker, wetter climate, ivy will probably thrive.
Even though its foliage is darker and more stately, it still lends an impressive effect to its surroundings, and ivy generally requires less care than coleus. Also, ivy is a perennial that will look after itself throughout most of the season, even growing well beyond the confines of a window flower box if you let it.
That’s one thing to be wary of if you decide to grow ivy; be careful about letting the ivy grow along your walls or windows as the tendrils it puts out can scar the facade of a building. Still, some appreciate the look of a house festooned with ivy. If you do, a flower box can be a great pot for growing it.
Some species of ipomoea and relatives, the morning glories, are grown for their blooms and not for their foliage. Some of these plants are climbers that will aggressively try to ‘escape’ the window box you plant them in.
Other species of ipomoea, however, are well suited to growing in window boxes, although most will not survive a frost. This makes them a colorful ornamental to grow throughout the warmer months of the year.
These plants are sun lovers and need to be watered well, so they will do best in sunny locations, where their colorful foliage will trail down and over the sides of window flower boxes. They also offer you a lot of variety in color, so regardless of the paint scheme of your home’s exterior, there are breeds for you. Some more popular breeds have dark purple foliage, whereas others have lime-green foliage.
Some of them can be the perfect accent to make your home pop!
Dusty miller is a pretty and unique plant, which is immediately recognizable by its small, frond shaped leaves that are colored silvery-gray to almost white. They’re also relatively easy to care for, so their uniquely colored foliage may make them well suited to serve as a complement to your home.
What’s great about dusty millers, aside from the fact that they have handsome foliage, is that they are relatively easy to care for as well. They’re also relatively tolerant of both cool and hot temperatures, so they will do well in many zones across the United States. You just have to remember to give them enough water. In addition, they also do well both in full sun and partial shade, although they do best in partial shade if the temperatures are extremely hot.
They’re one of the few plants with such unique and neutral-colored foliage, so if your home could use some white, gray, or silver curb appeal, spring for dusty miller.
There are many species of ornamental grasses, so without naming any specifics we’ll talk in general terms.
Many, many ornamental kinds of grass are extremely tolerant not only of drought but also of overwatering. Also, many are very tolerant of full sun and partial shade, which means that many ornamental kinds of grass are great for those who don’t have the luxury of time to tend to them. Some ornamental grasses are nearly indestructible, making them some of the hardiest of all cultivated plants.
Not only are most ornamental grasses really easy to care for, but some of them will also continue to produce foliage throughout the year, so the color won’t stop at the end of summer. Some die back in the winter, but depending on your climate, you might be able to enjoy color throughout the year.
What’s even more interesting is that some grasses can be split and propagated, so that you can start out with one plant and split it to create several others. With just one and some time and care, you can fill up several window boxes!
Herbs, Fruits, and Vegetables
The plants above, like flowers, are grown for their aesthetic value, but when you want to add a little function to your form, you can turn to some of these herbs, fruits, and vegetables! They’re all relatively easy to grow and care for, given the right conditions, and at the end of the day, you can add some fresh flavors to your home-cooked meals with the fruits of your labor.
You might not grow these herbs and other plants because they’re something to look at, but you can enjoy watching them grow strong and full and you can spruce up your cooking with them as well.
Basil hardly needs any introduction from us. Its sweet, bright green leaves, while they are not grown expressly for their ornamental value, are a welcome sight in summer gardens across the country.
Basil is not tolerant of cold, or even cool temperatures, and will thrive even when the daytime temperatures climb up near 90. It will also thrive in full sun, and while it will survive in shade, it will not flourish. If you grow basil in a window box planter, place the box in a place where it will get as many hours of sun as possible. The plant will flourish.
Also, remember to keep it well watered, as the plant will drink a lot throughout the day, but avoid waterlogging the soil. In addition, when the plant becomes particularly profuse, remember to prune off the young growth, even if you don’t plan to use it right away. If the plant bolts, or produces flowers, it will cease the production of foliage and the flavor will suffer.
Some breeds of tomatoes will grow very tall and so are not really well suited to growing in window planters, but other smaller breeds, like some smaller breeds like golden nugget and golden grape tomatoes will top out at about a foot or so and can be pruned back to be kept small. Plus, once they bloom, all they will want to do is bloom and their growth will slow.
Tomatoes will add not only flavor but color to your window garden as well, and their care is very similar to basil. They love full sun and will drink up a lot of water. They also hate the cold. Keep them in a bright place and give them lots to drink. Encourage blossoming and you will be rewarded with a crop, even from a small window planter!
Some peppers, like tomatoes, will grow very tall and so are not suitable for growing in window boxes, but there are others, especially some breeds of chilis and ornamental peppers that are small, short, and therefore, suitable for window boxes.
Whether you grow ornamental peppers for their colorful appeal to chilis for the flavor, they will add color and depth to your home, and the beautiful contrast between bright green, yellow, red, and orange peppers and their bright green foliage is striking.
The care of peppers is effectively the same as the care of tomatoes, as these plants are very close relatives. Keep them warm, well water and in the sun and you will be rewarded!
Even though mint is a close relative of basil (and even has a similar flavor) the plant is much, much hardier. In fact, growing it in a window planter is advisable if only because it will quickly overpower any garden in which it is planted. People may grow it because it smells and tastes delicious, but others consider it a weed.
Growing mint will add color to your window and the shoots grow tall and fast. They will furnish you with copious foliage that you can dry and turn into tea or potpourri, although it can also be used fresh. Mint loves sun, but it will also tolerate shade and cool temperatures as well. It won’t survive a hard frost, but it’s fairly tolerant of a wide range of conditions.
Also, mint has the added benefit of keeping a lot of pests away. That same smell and flavor that we love are abhorrent to a wide range of pests!
Chives will thrive in a window box and are tolerant of some interesting conditions that other plants on here will not accept. In addition, even if you don’t grow chives for their flavor, they will produce pretty pink and white blossoms if they are encouraged to grow and conditions are favorable.
Better yet, chives are perennial and will grow year-round. They can even survive a frost and in some zones will stay green through the winter. Even if they die back, they’ll be back the following year.
Also, chives love the sun but will tolerate shade, and they are one of the only plants in this list that will tolerate overwatering. In fact, chives are tolerant even of standing water. Not that you should leave your chives in a puddle, but wet conditions that would kill other plants will not even solicit a wink from chives (or garlic or onions, for that matter).
Our Window Flower Boxes
Many of our window flower boxes and window box planters are made from 100% pure copper and others are made from stainless steel, but they all are made to exacting standards of quality and all of them are noteworthy for their peerless aesthetics.
Check out our collection via the link above, and if you want to learn more about what you can grow in them or how to take care of them, we welcome you to reach out to us at 208-640-4206! Everything in our store is made from the highest quality materials and customer service is our top priority, so get in touch with us if you have any questions at all.