What plants would be good for screening a window?
May 8, 2011 2:19 PM   Subscribe

What plants would be good for screening a window? Requirements within.

My bedroom window looks out on the parking/dumpster area.
Lots of people walk through there.
Plus the window gets a lot of afternoon sun in the summer, which makes it really hot inside.

So I would like to have some plants (outside) that both screen and shade the window.


--They are able to be grown in pots (it's a concrete driveway below the window, so I can't plant them in the ground, and also soft-ish plastic pots would provide a bumper so people don't drive into the house)
--They are perennial
--They won't ruin the house or people's cars
--They don't need a lot of water
--They shouldn't be too messy
--I live in San Diego, so they have to like a warm climate
--They produce edible fruit (optional but preferable)

So. Trees? A vine on a lattice? I don't really know about plants.
posted by exceptinsects to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How about jasmine? It doesn't make edible fruit, but edible fruit bring bugs. Jasmine smells fantastic when it blooms.
posted by pickypicky at 2:29 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

A snake plant might do you well. My living room and kitchen windows look out into another person's living room and kitchen windows, and they've lined the sills with tall plants, including a couple snake plants. I've never owned one, but I've read they're pretty easy to take care of.
posted by wondermouse at 2:31 PM on May 8, 2011

I grow prickly pear cacti (opuntias) in my window boxes and they work suprisingly well as a screen (they're about 2 feet high) and look pretty cool. This is in London, so they'd probably grow about five times quicker in San Diego.
posted by rhymer at 2:50 PM on May 8, 2011

Response by poster: Also, I forgot to mention it's about 5 feet from the ground to the bottom of the window.
posted by exceptinsects at 3:04 PM on May 8, 2011

My two go-to plants for screening are ivy and bamboo. Both grow quickly, but bamboo can really shoot up if you want fast results. Consult your local garden center on which variety would best suit re situation (sun/wind), climate, container life, upkeep - for there are many!
posted by likeso at 4:00 PM on May 8, 2011

Norfolk Island pine makes a great container plant.

Their eventual habit is humongous (150+ feet in the south Pacific, never so big here due to climate), but they are fairly slow growing and I think your annual winter low should be just tolerable for them, so they won't grow too fast. Full sun is great for them.

I have a tree that I bought about 7-8 years ago that has been repotted once. It was about 2.5-3 feet tall when I bought it and now is approaching 9-10 feet, so maybe 12 inches/year. It has three main stems (not a split leader, just three different mains) and nice, wide, ferny fronds, so it's pretty dense looking.

I live in the North Florida scrub, which gets very dry during part of the year. In the summer I water it 1-2x/week. In winter, every 1-2 weeks. It is too cold here for me to plant my pine outside, so it lives in a sun porch in a southern window (actually glass door).
posted by toodleydoodley at 5:23 PM on May 8, 2011

Best answer: I've grown bower vine jasmine in San Diego, it shot up very fast. You might find this gardenweb thread useful (has better pictures of the jasmine, and suggests other vines as well).
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:43 PM on May 8, 2011

How about kumquats? They don't grow tall, they grow bushy, and the fruits are delicious.
posted by hariya at 11:34 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Podocarpus? Can be trimmed to grow bushier. You'd have to buy older trees because they can be slow growers.

Otherwise, I like the bamboo suggestion.
posted by jbenben at 1:24 AM on May 9, 2011

Best answer: 2nding the jasmine recommendation. Jasmine will wind it's way up a trellis nicely, can do okay in large plastic pots (see this extremely crappy photo of star jasmine on a trellis, in a pot), and it smells so, so sexy and wonderful, especially outside a bedroom window on a hot summer night. Plus it's pretty. And I know it grows in San Diego, because my parents had it at the house I grew up in screening their bedroom window.
posted by booknerd at 1:04 PM on May 9, 2011

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