Going beyond the traditional window-box garden | Home & Garden


For a sunny spot, Green’s favorite thrillers are Kimberly queen fern, dwarf Alberta spruce, and sago palm; for fillers, boxwood, dusty miller, pentas, sunPatiens and dipladenia; and for spillers, sweet potato vine, mezoo, dichondra silver falls, dwarf morning glory, fan flower and petunias.

For shade, she likes the Kimberly queen fern and Dracaena lemon lime as thrillers; boxwood, coral bells, fancy leaf caladium and impatiens as fillers; and creeping Jenny, dead nettle, English ivy and variegated Swedish ivy for spillers.

Not your grandparents’ window box

You’ll find 16 different window-box concepts in “How to Window Box,” by Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit, who also run the Horticult website. Their woodlands theme box uses bleeding heart, hosta and columbine; an indoor “jungle box” includes monstera and elephant’s ear; and a “Southern belle” box mixes foxglove, snapdragon, sweet potato vines and dusty miller.

This undated image provided by Contained Creations shows a window box in Richmond, Va. (Contained Creations via AP)

A “tiny island” design is “full of bromeliads, really colorful, like a little trip to Hawaii,” Gordon said. “We even built a tiny trellis for air plants. It’s definitely not your grandparents’ window box.”

The ‘wow’ factor

What gives some window boxes their “wow” factor while others are just so-so? Maintenance is part of the difference, says Benoit. “People who have really nice window boxes are cutting off dead, spent leaves and blooms,” Benoit said. They’re also watering a lot and “changing things up a lot. Some plants are only going to look good for one season.”

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