Hanging baskets of flowers and window boxes are easy ways to layer a little extra cheer into your patio and porch spaces or increase curb appeal.
Many small and medium size annuals or perennials can be combined for showy eye-popping color or a cozy cottage feel. All you need is a container, soil, and plants.
Window boxes can easily be built in a couple hours using just a circular saw and a cordless drill with a Phillips head bit and a bit to drill drainage holes in the bottom. Alternatives include purchasing a window box completely constructed with brackets for hanging, creating a bracket and shelf system with holes for your flower pots to rest in, or a vinyl-coated steel "hay rack" frame with coir fiber baskets. Just make sure that brackets are screwed securely into joists because the freshly watered box loaded with plants will be heavy.
Hanging baskets are even easier. All you need is a wire or plastic basket with a hanger.
Window boxes and hanging planters need especially rich soil that retains moisture otherwise they tend to get leggy and stressed from drying out too much. The alternative is watering in the morning and evening and that can be just too much work when it's hot and dry outside. You can buy a good quality potting soil designed for container gardening or make your own using a combination of soilless planting mix, a little compost, time release fertilizer, and a water holding soil amendment like Quench™.
Plan on watering your window boxes and planters regularly every day. You can also incorporate your baskets and window boxes into a drip irrigation system if you have one, or simply create a mini system. Either way, it ensures that your containers will get the watered regularly, especially if the system is timed. This is particularly important if your boxes or baskets are in full sun.
Choosing plants is fun. Pick what you like, but look for plants that share similar requirements for sun and water.
Young plants work best for baskets and window boxes, cost less, and fill in quite nicely as the season progresses.
Choose a combination of plants such as a couple trailing vines, a bushy type, and something with a bit of height for a nicely balanced basket. A few combinations include:
Consider location, sunlight, and container when choosing plants. If the location tends to get windy, avoid long trailing plants that might suffer in breezy conditions.
Instead of planting in a straight row, stagger plants according to height. In window boxes plant in a zigzag pattern with the tallest plants in back and trailers in the front. With hanging baskets, plant the taller plants in the center with trailers on the outside edge.
Every few days, take a few minutes to deadhead spent blooms and trim back leaves. Don't hesitate to pinch back growth, especially if it begins to look leggy. It will encourage tighter more compact growth.
At least once a month, feed with a water-soluble fertilizer, which will supplement the timed release fertilizer in the soil mix.
In the fall, you can pot herbs for overwintering on your kitchen window sill.
Want window boxes for all your streetside windows? A carpenter can quickly build them to match your home's architecture. Find a carpenter in your area through UpdateRenovate .