I always start my window boxes with pansies and a few violas (Johnny Jump Up Violets) on each side to drape a bit over. Why? Because pansies and violets have cute little pansy faces. Yes?! They become the very bones of the box. They add character, depth and dimension and no box or pot seems quite complete without them. Each plant has numerous blooms which also gives the pot fullness and texture.
You have your favorite color/colors. Without a doubt my favorite colors are pink, yellow and purple in groupings. Of course, the more color the better but this trio of colors is always stunning and vibrant. It just speaks to me. Especially yellow! You might also want to try red, white and blue for those patriotic pots or orange, purple and yellow for a dramatic pot. The key is not to be too bland. Lots of eye-popping color please!
With all this color, just make sure there is enough balance. Potting a few white and greens like your “white Nancy” lamium, alyssum, and potato vine are going to make everything else in the pot absolutely pop. You need a backdrop for all the color to be seen and be distinguished.
Pot or planter box, groupings of 1, 3, 5, and 7 look better than even ones of 2 or 4. Somehow, 2 of each type of flower or plant just doesn’t satisfy and comes off looking awkward and weird. Even numbers are too ridged and sad. Odd groupings always give off that artistic and flexible flair. Space them out though and remember that even in odd groupings, repetition is key.
I love a good window box with lots of plants dangling over the side. Traditionally, the potato vine looks nice and the green adds a bit of contrast. But the potato vine can get a little greedy for space and take over. In the front of the box, you must have lobelia for that popping blue and alyssum for texture (looks like lace). And white alyssum is always a welcome backdrop against all the color.
Other suggestions for draping……
- bidens (yellow ones please!)
- “white Nancy” lamium
- vinca vine
There’s no going back after you’ve tried double stuffed Oreo cookies, is there? It’s the same concept with a window box or pot. I like full and vibrant pots loaded in plants. Sparse and empty pots just look sad and a bit pathetic. Fullness means you’re probably incorporating lots of texture and color. Why wait all summer for the pot to finally fill out? Enjoy it now. Stuff it with plants. A great way to add a sense of fullness is to incorporate plants jammed-packed with color. Think about including….
- calibrachoa (million bells) These resemble a miniature petunia and always look just right.
- double impatients
- New Guinea impatients
- wave petunias
Just like you’re taking your family photograph…tall people in the back…short people (me) closer to the front. Or the short people won’t even be seen and why bother including them at all? This means those lovely snapdragons which we all love will head to the back in a window box or in the center of a pot. See and be seen is your planting motto here. Lobelia and alyssum draping towards the front. Pansies and marigolds in the middle. You get the drift. Make sure you do include some tall plants as they draw the eye upward and outward.
The ones that need to be in the back of the pack?
- gerbera daisies
- marguerite daisies
Pot color makes a big difference. Just about any plant is going to look stunning in a black pot, pink in particular followed closely by yellow. But my teal window boxes? Those always challenge me. I have to work extra hard to find just the right color combinations for those teal boxes. Also consider the color of your house. If your house is already an eye popping color then you might want to back off on color in the box itself. It’s all about finding the right balance.
A filler or a thriller, you must incorporate some coleus into your window box, truly, this finely cut foliage anchors the pot. And there’s three new varieties you’ll want to pick up soon.
- Marquee Red Carpet
- Golden Dreams
A last note….
I never worry about planting shade plants or full sun plants in my window boxes or pots. Why? Because I find I always love combining sun and shade plants in the same pot. You can always “shade” your plants by planting something a little more leafy, ok beefy over top your more shade loving plants and everyone gets what they want.
What works for you when you plant your window box or pot?