What are good plants to put in a window box?
October 29, 2005 10:54 AM   Subscribe

Help me pick some plants to go in a window box.

My new flat has several window boxes. At the moment they just have soil in them, but I'm looking to buy some plants for them. Can anyone recommend some interesting plants to put in them that will look nice, but require a low level of maintenance? Bonus points for any hardy herbs that I can put in the kitchen window box.
posted by greycap to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Just to clarify--your location is London? The big one in the UK (as opposed to London, Ontario, Canada or some other one)?
posted by gimonca at 10:57 AM on October 29, 2005

Response by poster: Sorry, should have specified - yes it's the UK one, so plants that will survive/are available there would be good!
posted by greycap at 11:10 AM on October 29, 2005

Are these indoor or outdoor boxes? Because, wouldn't this be the wong time of year for planting outside?
posted by rhapsodie at 11:30 AM on October 29, 2005

Best answer: Here's a useful link about what to plant in a winter window box.

Make sure you put some dwarf daffodils and tulips in too so they will flower in the spring.
posted by essexjan at 12:00 PM on October 29, 2005

How about various herbs? - Upside; fresh herbs for cooking.

Mint, thyme, and rosemary are extraordinarily hardy. Basil is susceptible to slugs/snails but they should be safe in a windowbox.

Miniature chili peppers and miniature tomatoes are also pretty easy to care for, and as a bonus, are decorative.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 12:26 PM on October 29, 2005

What direction do the window boxes face? How much sunlight reaches them? Some plants need full sun, other plants do well in shade, so without knowing about exposure it's hard to make good recommendations.
posted by ambrosia at 1:06 PM on October 29, 2005

Response by poster: Further details - some face south, some face north. They all get quite a lot of light, though, and they're all outdoor boxes. I am pretty clueless when it comes to anything plant-related, so any tips (no matter how obvious) are welcome. Thanks for the suggestions so far.
posted by greycap at 3:50 PM on October 29, 2005

Best answer: As ambrosia says, some plants like sunlight ... and that specifically means sunlight, not just "light". Most plants are sold with labels "part sun", "full sun", "shade tolerant", etc. Make sure you pick the right description for each location of windowbox. Trying to grow something that wants full sun in a place where it will get less, or putting a plant than wants shade in a full-sun spot, will be disappointing for you.

Window boxes can be tricky because the extra exposure makes for a more extreme climate: colder, hotter, drier or wetter.

Not trying to cop out from the question, but your best bet is to go to a local garden shop and ask their advice -- they'll know what will work for your location. Most garden shp people love to talk about plants. As you realise, this isn't a great time to be planting much except bulbs in England.

Tomatoes can produce nicely in a large sunny window box, in the summer. Rosemary, sage and thyme are hardy and likes plenty of sun. Geraniums are colorful, but won't winter outside happily in London. Some ferns will be happy in a north-facing box.
posted by anadem at 4:38 PM on October 29, 2005

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