Friday, December 28, 2007

Window Boxes

On this cold rainy day I got out a book that I checked-out at the library to do some of that winter dreamin'. I guess you might say I am obsessing over my window box since not too long ago I wrote about it. I am glad I didn't purchase this book. It is interesting but there isn't one mention as to what to do with your window box during winter. This is what I have done to mine this winter. I used some varigated privet and some grasses since I can't reach the pine limbs very easily now. Last winter I had a few more greens to add. This year the pine trees have been limbed up so high I can't reach the greens. Plus I lost another pine and the blue spruce was taken down this summer. So my greens are limited. I didn't use the glass balls this winter either. ha.. I am sure the wrens appreciate that.
The book shows many boxes for full sun. Which is great if you have full sun. In my case this window box is in such dense shade that even impatients don't bloom here. Coleus gets very leggy and the leaves don't form properly. So I have found that tropical plants, things that you use inside during winter are better for this box. I was surprised to find that caladiums did so well in our box this year. I was out watering more than usual because of the drought we had this summer. I think this helped a lot. I have used various hostas in this box too. They seem to do ok here.
I was just wondering if anyone else has any ideas for window boxes in deep shade? I am trying to think of something interesting to do with this window box next summer. It is situated right in the middle of my patio. It is mounted on a kitchen window so I am looking at it often. Maybe this is why I am slightly obsessed with it.


  1. The Caladiums look really cool in your window box. It seems to like the deep shade...I don't have any great ideas for good windowbox plants in shade. The only ones I've ever had in full shade were ivy plants. They did fine even if they didn't grow much.

    I haven't had much luck with windowboxes ... they don't seem to like me. (Well, truth be told, I tend to under-water them at crucial times so no wonder I'm not their favourite person!)

    It's great having a chance to look through a book from the library before deciding to purchase it.

  2. Your window box must be a spot your eye is drawn to as you work in the kitchen, any time of year. I have a very shady planter on the front porch that never sees the sun. There is variegated ivy year round and japanese painted fern during the growing season. I have tried coleus with some success, especially the creeping types. But the ferns and ivy always bring a smile.

  3. I don't have any window boxes, but I do have a lot of shade. In addition to the ivy & painted fern Frances suggests, how about adding a small long-blooming Dicentra, such as 'Candy Hearts' & a Heuchera with purple foliage.

  4. How about a miniature garden made out of moss and rocks? A few clumps of mondo grass and perhaps a tiny lantern - the kind you can buy at an aquarium store for your fish tank.

  5. Hi Kate, It is good to be able to look at a book before purchasing.

    Window boxes do seem to need more water than other containers. At least the one I have does. Probably due to the liner being so pourous.

    Yes Frances I see that box from the inside all the time I am in the kitchen. Then when we are on the patio it is right in the middle of it so I like for it to look nice.

    MrMcD, Ihaven't had much luck with ferns in the box. I will keep Dicentra in mind. Thank you for the suggestion.

    WS I think I could get into that kind of thinking. I have some minature garden items I could use there. I could make a "scene". Thank you for the suggestion.

  6. Wonderful window box! Looks like fun making!

  7. Lisa, I like how you decorated your window box for winter. I left mine with pansies planted in it. They are "sort of" growing though I think I'm kidding myself! They look pretty bad.

    I have the opposite problem, my window box is on the south side of my house and gets full, hot sun all day. Some days I have to water it twice.

    I like what you did with the caladiums, I'd keep using those in that window box.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  8. Caladiums, impatiens, and begonias. I don't have great luck with window boxes, all that watering. But yours look good!

  9. Your window box looks great. I too do not have any window boxes.The Caladiums look happy in there.

  10. I love your creativity Lisa! I would never have thought about doing something for the winter! Bravo!

  11. Merry Christmas, Lisa! I LOVE that window box with the dried grasses in it--it's even more interesting than the one with the ornament balls, to me. I would never have thought of that.

    I vote for elephant ears next year--there's a great one called 'Lime Zinger' that stayed fairly small for me (more caladium-sized than big-elephant-ear-sized) and is a great chartreuse. Mix in some rex begonias, a fern, some creeping jenny or silvery lotus vine...

    I love shady plants. And foliage--can you tell?! :)

  12. I think you've done a terrific job with your window box, because that caladium is exquisite and doesn't need anything else. But if you're looking for a flowering plant that takes shade well, try monkey flower (Mimulus) I had a planter full of them sitting in a very shaded spot and they bloomed their little faces off until frost, when they turned to mush. You could also use astilbes provided you keep the windowbox well watered; they'll take shade but not dry shade. a popbotttle waterer hidden in behind the caladium would help dispense a regular amount of water for you.

  13. Dear Lisa,
    I also have window boxes. One is in very deep shade. I have planted it with all sorts of plants over the years. It is under a kitchen window, North side of the house, and has part of the porch roof over it. I too must water often!
    It is small and rather shallow. My favorite sort of planting has been impatience. I do red and add small hummingbird feeders. I can sit at the kitchen table and watch the Hummers.
    In the winter I have all three filled with pine boughs, pine cones and suet cakes. The Woodpeckers love the suet! Wonderful idea of using grasses when the greens are not available.
    I also will put out nesting materials in the window boxes this spring. I like to watch the birds come and go for spanish moss.
    It will be fun seeing what you do come spring.

  14. Thanks Mon@rch.

    Thanks Carol. I have tried pansies too but they just look pitaful to soon for fall planting for me. I succumb to those sweet little faces each spring though.

    Thank you Vonlafin.

    Thanks Curtis. Caladiums will probably be used again next year.

    I am glad you like the winter decor Jayne.

    Kim, I will look for the 'Lime Zinger' this year. That name sounds like a drink. No that is a "lime rickey". :) I have had an elephant ear in there and it did good but it was one of the larger varities. It looked like stained glass with the sun shining through it too.

    Jodi, the pop bottle is a good idea if I could hide it. I see the back side of the window box from the kitchen. Hmmmm.... I hadn't thought of Astilbe. That might be a good one to try. I don't have much luck with them in the ground and I just love the fern=like foliage.

    Hi Sherry. I would like to see your window boxes. Maybe you can post a picture or two sometime specially your shaded window box.

  15. I think you've done very well with your window boxes! I love the first one from this year (without the balls). It's such a nice blending of muted colors.

    Several years ago, I purchased window boxes from Gardeners Supply that have a water reserve in them with an indicator that shows when you need to add water to it. I can't tell you how wonderful these are! That solved my watering problems.

  16. Dear Lisa,
    I will do that!
    I did post a photo of a Downy Woodpecker on a suet cake that was in one of the window boxes a couple of weeks ago. I will take a photo or two of the boxes when I plant them up this spring.

  17. Wow, what spectacular window boxes -- so unique. For Christmas I really like the evergreens with the bulbs. Where I live window boxes are not too successful. In the summer the heat is so high so unless I can water them twice a day, they dry out. And outside of summer, it's far too cold. Though I could put some pine boughs and twigs in an empty window box for Christmas (not growing of course) and toss it when they dry out. (It was minus 27 when we got up this morning and has 'warmed up' now to minus 20 ... just to give you an idea of the type of winter weather we have :-)).

    Lovely window boxes!

    Diane Sand to Glass


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