A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

Planting Beautiful Window Boxes: 10 Simple Tips to Follow

Updated: Jan. 06, 2023

Help your house look its best with these tricks for gorgeous window box planters.

1 / 10

Measure windows

Collect window measurements before you buy your window boxes. It’s easy to find boxes in a whole range of sizes, and boxes that match window size are more aesthetically pleasing. Install hanging hardware before filling or planting window boxes, as it will be easier to make any necessary adjustments if they’re empty.

2 / 10

Use liners

Fit your window boxes with removable plastic liners each time you plant. As the seasons change, you should change out the flowers to reflect changes in weather, and this is much easier to do if the boxes are lined. While springtime may call for primroses, they should be replaced with something like petunias or impatiens in summer months; you could try dwarf chrysanthemums or ornamental kale come fall. Any annuals, small vegetables, or herbs that thrive on decks or patios will also work great in a window box.

3 / 10

Keep them in easy reach

The beauty of window boxes is that they can be easily enjoyed both inside and outside the house. Make sure that your window boxes are easily accessible either from either side. These boxes may need frequent watering or tending, especially in the summer months, so it’s important they are easy to reach so you don’t neglect them.

4 / 10

Make a mini-greenhouse

Protect window boxes from damaging temperature changes and pests by bending three to four lengths of coat-hanger wire into U-shaped hoops and push the ends into the soil. Wrap a dry-cleaning bag around the hoops and then place it back on the window. Or, use bubble wrap and secure with clothespins.

5 / 10
iStock/Dusan Todorovic

Recycle fruit crates

Ask your local grocer for old fruit crates and fashion them into neat window boxes for a natural, rustic look. If you’re concerned they might be too heavy for your hanging hardware, add small support posts to each edge of the crate. These can also be used for hanging plants if you insert screw eyes into each corner of the crate, then attach sturdy twine or rope.

6 / 10
iStock/Joseph C. Justice Jr.

Opt for wood

Wood boxes are better than plastic or metal alternatives because they provide better insulation from heat and cold. Paint them light colors to reflect heat and use a water-resistant paint or finish. Be sure to use a liner to keep wood from rotting or warping after prolonged contact with wet soil.

7 / 10
iStock/Atthapol Saita

Insulate sun-soaked boxes

Window boxes that are exposed to afternoon heat and rays should be insulated to promote vigorous root growth. Line boxes with Styrofoam or thick corrugated cardboard before filling with soil, or place a smaller box inside of a larger box, lining the space between with peat moss.

8 / 10
iStock/Alexandru Magurean

Let them spill

Boxes that seem to be overflowing with flowers provide a more beautiful and natural look. Opt for cascading plants to soften edges, and plant flowers close together so that they appear to be bursting with foliage.

9 / 10

Grow veggies and herbs

If your kitchen window box is in the sun, plant it with veggies like dwarf tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers, as well as herbs like thyme, chives, parsley, and sage. These are the best herbs to grow in a home garden.

10 / 10

Start fresh each year

Window box soil is exhausted quickly and should be replaced annually with fresh soil. Scatter the old soil in an outdoor flowerbed or over your lawn.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest