Vegetables, herbs, vines and perennials are all finding their way into pots and boxes (Google / The Free Press)

Read at : Google Alert – container gardening

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Home & Garden: Window Box Gardening

by Georgeanne Davis

Once upon a time, a window box was filled with red geraniums, blue lobelia and white petunias, with perhaps a vinca vine or ivy for trailers. Pretty, patriotic, traditional, but a bit boring year after year. Today there are a dizzying number of choices for window box and container gardening, the field no longer limited to flowering annuals. Vegetables, herbs, vines and perennials are all finding their way into pots and boxes. The rule of thumb is, if it has roots, it can go in a container.

This year I received in the mail a dozen trial container plants from a nursery. Some of them – petunias, sweet potato vine, euphorbia “Diamond Frost,” and assorted coleus – were familiar to me, while others were unknown. It became a challenge to use these grab-bag plants, dividing them among three window boxes, especially when my daughter, who was assisting me, lobbied for some wild deep-purple-and-white pinwheel petunias to toss into the mix, so I threw caution to the winds and decided this would be the year that anything goes. Because I’ve moved and brought with me many transplanted perennials, the centerpiece of each box is a heuchera, one wine-colored, one caramel, and one deep maroon. There were a few oreganos that looked like they might be willing to act as trailers, so they went in as well. Even without a color scheme in mind, things seem to have sorted themselves out into a basic purple, green and white mosaic, and as long as the boxes fill out nicely all will be well.

Whatever you choose for your window box, remember that the plants will be growing in a taxing environment. They need room to grow and soil that doesn’t dry out too fast, so boxes should be at least eight inches to accommodate roots. A window box looks best if its length is within a couple of inches of the size of the window, and it should be mounted several inches below the window to allow for foliage growth. Don’t skimp on your boxes’ support: window boxes are heavy, especially when watered, and could become deadly missiles if they plunge a couple of stories to the ground.

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.