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Plant These Hard-to-Kill Flowers in Window Boxes

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Photo: MARGRIT HIRSCH (Shutterstock)

Gardens come in all shapes, sizes, and locations—including growing out of boxes attached to windows. And while window boxes may not seem like gardens in the traditional sense, think of them as mini versions, where you can grow everything from herbs and small vegetables, to flowers.

Beyond that, window boxes containing flowers also become part of a home’s outdoor design and landscape architecture. And when you’re inside looking out, these flowers automatically become part of your view (even if the rest of your view is a parking lot or dumpster-filled alley).

But because of their position (attached to houses or buildings), you can’t plant just any flower in a window box and assume it’ll grow and flourish: You have to base that decision on which plants fare best in different combinations of sunlight and shade. Here are a few examples of some of the hardest-to-kill flowers to plant in window boxes.

The best flowers for window boxes with full sun

For south- or west-facing windows, the Farmers’ Almanac recommends planting these flowers:

Upright

  • Artemisia
  • Dusty miller
  • Lavender
  • Marigold
  • Miniature rose
  • Opal and bush basil
  • Ornamental pepper
  • Periwinkle
  • Rosemary
  • Rose-scented geranium
  • Salvia

Trailing

  • Sweet potato vine
  • Dwarf soapwort
  • ‘Homestead Purple’ verbena
  • Nasturtium
  • Peppermint-scented geranium
  • Petunia
  • Pink
  • Prostrate rosemary
  • Setcreasea
  • Strawberry
  • Sweet marjoram
  • Thyme

Climbing

  • Carolina jessamine
  • Golden hop
  • Honeysuckle
  • Jasmine
  • Miniature climbing rose
  • Moon vine

The best flowers for window boxes in the shade

For shady north-facing windows, the Farmers’ Almanac recommends planting these flowers:

Upright

  • Astilbe
  • Cardinal flower
  • Coleus
  • English daisy
  • Fern (maidenhair, tassel, Boston, asparagus)
  • Garden heliotrope
  • Hosta
  • Impatiens
  • Johnny-jump-up
  • Lamb’s ears
  • Lemon balm
  • Lenten rose
  • Mophead hydrangea
  • Pansy
  • Parsley
  • Snapdragon
  • Tropical houseplant
  • Wax begonia

Trailing

  • Creeping myrtle
  • Fuchsia
  • Peppermint
  • Sweet autumn clematis
  • Variegated English or Algerian ivy
  • Inch plant (tradescantia)

Climbing

  • Sweet autumn clematis
  • Trumpet vine

Not sure how to get started planting a window box garden? This previous Lifehacker post will walk you through the steps.


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