Planter ideas are a beautiful way to increase the appeal of your home and breathe new life into any property all year round without breaking the bank. Flower boxes are also an ideal solution for urban gardening, where your home may not have a green space to experiment with, but you still want to use plants to spice up your exterior.
Steph Green, garden designer and founder of Contained Creations, explains that creating a stunning planter is all about the right composition and suggests that you should approach your planter design as a mini garden idea. “Incorporate different heights, textures, and colors of plants to create visual interest and contrast,” she says. ‘Set broadleaf plants alongside needy or lacy varieties.’
If you want a low-maintenance garden that you can enjoy both inside and outside your home, read on for simple planter ideas that are guaranteed to catch the attention of every passer-by.
Flower box ideas to increase the attractiveness of your home
1. Choose the right plants for your arrangement
Knowing how to choose the most suitable plants can be difficult when there are so many options. It’s a good idea to plan this out depending on where the window box will be located and what the overall look you want it to look like.
“The choice of planting a planter depends on your preferences, amount of light, and maintenance requirements,” says Quinn Roe, Indianapolis-based container garden designer and founder of Prim Planters. “I prefer to include a lot of colour, texture and height differences when choosing plants for window boxes. The variation highlights the flower boxes in relation to that creativity.”
2. Add height to your planter for a dramatic look
Get creative with your window box plants and incorporate the latest garden trends. The best and most eye-catching boxes use dimensions to make an impact. By using plants of different sizes, you can achieve a dynamic and eye-catching creation that not only your neighbors but you too can enjoy through your own window.
Steph Green of Contained Creations says, “To achieve proper sizing, a good rule of thumb is to have the tallest plant in your arrangement reach at least 100 percent of the height of your container. For a more dramatic look, go to 200 percent. This approach is particularly effective when planting in window boxes, which tend to be wide and short. The extra plant height breaks up the long, low silhouette of the box and makes the arrangement more visible from a distance.’
To achieve balance, it’s best to place the tallest plant in the middle as a centerpiece, making sure the height flows well through the box. When Steph creates her own flower boxes, she puts the tallest plant at the back to make room for more plants in front of it. “In larger, longer flower boxes, I can spread out three or even five ‘center pieces’ to bring that height to the left and right sides and create a sense of rhythm and flow,” she says.
Alongside your focal plants, it is important to use shorter but very full plants to achieve balance throughout the arrangement. “I add more layers of shorter plants as I work my way to the edges of the flower box. To create a real showpiece, fill it in with compatible plants in a variety of heights, colors, shapes, and textures,” says Steph, who recommends using variegated foliage like Coleus or Heuchera to break up the greenery in the box.
3. Make sure your flower boxes last all year round
Flower boxes don’t have to be just for spring. You can mix and match your design with the latest floral trends all year round to ensure it’s always in season and thriving.
In order to make your planter as versatile and adaptable as possible, it is important to use evergreens. These are plants that keep their leaves and stay green all year round, and they provide your planter with a consistent base that you can always go around without having to replace regularly.
Contained Creations’ Steph Green says: “A few of my favorites [evergreen] Options include boxwood, dwarf Alberta spruce, blue point juniper, lemon cypress, and even tiny camellia. The spaces between these foundation plants can be filled with seasonal flowers and foliage, which can be carefully removed and replaced as needed.’
4. Get creative with ornamental kale
Ornamental kale and kale, sometimes known as brassicas, are another way to get your window boxes working and adding appeal during the colder months as they prefer a cooler growing season. Steph says, “An added benefit of most cabbages is that they intensify their color as the temperature drops. So since some elements of your container garden may wilt in early winter weather, the cabbages are at their peak.’
Brassicas can add the perfect look to any fall arrangement. “They also remind us of the fall harvest table full of glorious produce, squashes and gourds,” says Steph. “Their broad leathery leaves pair well with the thin feathers of fountain grasses and the colorful faces of pansies and violets.”
5. Try a flower box without flowers
It doesn’t always have to be bold colors and flowers to put together an eye-catching window box. There is a huge range of flowering plants that you can incorporate into your arrangement to create beautiful greenery that will enhance the exterior of any home and complement your porch decor.
Quinn Roe of Prim Planters says: “There are several options for plants in different shades of green that can be used creatively in a successful window box. The height and structure of the plants are a great alternative to colorful plants.’
6. Maximize your space with hanging plants
Adding height isn’t the only way to create an extravagant window box. You can utilize the space under your planter by incorporating a spiller plant that hangs over the sides of your container garden. “There’s nothing quite like a floor-to-ceiling blanket of Dichondra Silver Falls, or a lush mound of Sweet Potato Vine that looks like it’s floating in mid-air,” says Contained Creations’ Steph Green.
To brighten up your composition, Steph suggests using hanging plants with creamy white edges on their leaves, such as B. Variegated Plectranthus and Vinca Vine. “For smaller boxes or tighter spaces, I like to use something less vigorous like English Ivy or Creeping Jenny,” she says.
7. Optimize your planter for shady areas
Even if your window doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a window box. It just means you need to adjust your arrangement to ensure the plants you use thrive in shadier spots, using tried and tested shade gardening ideas.
Quinn Roe of Prim Planters says, “I use plants that thrive in low light in my clients’ flower boxes. Colorful, shadow-loving thrillers, fillers and spillers are always used to add dimension, height, texture and interest.’
8. Have a plan to maintain your planter
Caring for your window box plants is essential to ensure they thrive and last all year round. Make sure your planter has drainage holes so the roots don’t drown and start to rot. You can drill holes in it if necessary. It’s also important to water the plants regularly and either fertilize the soil regularly or use a slow-release fertilizer when planting that will provide the plants with nutrients throughout the season.
For some plants, Steph Green of Contained Creations recommends trimming them to ensure they stay the size you want and don’t overtake the rest of the arrangement. She says, “Don’t be discouraged if a plant doesn’t thrive or survive; Part of the fun of container gardening is the trial and error to find what works for you.’
What can you put in a balcony box besides flowers?
If you want to create a small vegetable garden, flower boxes are the answer. Strawberries are great for flower boxes because they can grow in small spaces. Chilies, tomatoes and lettuce also thrive in flower boxes, especially where they get a lot of sun. Not only can they provide food, but they can also provide color, making them great window displays.
Herbs like thyme, rosemary, mint, parsley, sage and basil are ideal for window boxes. Not only are they a staple in the kitchen, they also smell wonderful. Your window planters can also attract wildlife. Arthur Parkinson, author and flower expert, says: “For those of you who have flower boxes, the simplest group of plants that attract bees is a range of herbs – all mints, thyme, sage, rosemary and marjoram are revered and the scent.” will be wonderful too.’
What can you use for flower boxes?
There are different types of flower boxes that you can use. Wooden planters are versatile options that you can even DIY. You could even try painting them to add even more color to your display. Wide iron hanging baskets are simple but effective and can be lighter and easier to maneuver when it comes to installing your planter. If your ledge is particularly spacious, you can opt for a terracotta planter or perhaps a galvanized metal trough to sit on the ledge, depending on the look you’re going for. This is a simple, no-fuss way to incorporate a window box and add some appeal.