9 Creative Window Box Ideas for Your Home

A rustic window box filled with bright pink and blue annual flowers makes a beautiful option for window box ideas.
My Garden Life
March 18, 2024
Table of Contents

Window boxes are a perfect way to transition from the plants in your garden to your house. They add another layer of garden color and enjoyment by taking advantage of vertical space. For urban dwellers window boxes create growing space where it might otherwise not exist. Make the most of this “bonus” garden space with these creative window box ideas to dress up your window boxes year-round.

Ideas for Window Box Themes

Window boxes can contain a wide variety of plants and because of their small size, they’re easy to maintain or update your plantings from season to season. A variety of foliage, flowers and edibles can be combined to create a captivating window box displays throughout the year.   

Let’s explore nine creative ideas for adding beauty and interest to any space with unique window box designs.

1. Cascading Flowers or Foliage

Cascading plants are a natural for window box gardens. Choose foliage plants such as creeping Jenny, ivy, sweet potato vine, vinca vine, or dichondra or trailing flowers such as petunia, calibrachoa, and trailing lobelia. Combine them with upright plants to create layers of color and texture.

Old windows repurposed with flower window boxes and attached to a vertical wooden fence filled with trailing plants.

2. Bold Colors in a Window Box Increase Curb Appeal

Selecting bold colors makes your window box plantings more visible from a distance and gives your house additional curb appeal. There are plenty of varieties to choose from if you want bold colored flowers! Popular choices for a sunny window box are petunias, geraniums, calibrachoa, salvia, and dwarf marigolds. If your window box gets more shade, consider New Guinea impatiens, begonias, or fuchsias

A wide array of annual flowering plants in bright red, yellow, and orange colors.

3. Foliage Filled Window Boxes

For the lowest maintenance possible, consider using just foliage plants in your window boxes. There are many colorful foliage plants that are every bit as showy as flowers. Consider annual plants such as coleus, dusty miller, sweet potato vine, caladium, purple heart tradescantia, or alocasia. Mix different plants to create contrast and take advantage of complementary foliage shapes.

A window box filled with colorful coleus plants on an outdoor ledge with lace curtains in the background.

You can also use tropical plants that are typically grown as houseplants. In this case you would simply treat them as you would any annual plant. Colorful croton, spider plants, wandering Jew, Rex begonias, and polka-dot plants are all popular choices for growing in window boxes.

You don’t need to limit yourself to annual plants for colorful foliage. There are also attractive ornamental perennial plants that would grow happily in a window box for years to come. Small hostas, heuchera, ornamental grasses, and trailing sedum would all be great choices!

Window box ideas include using perennial foliage plants - grasses, heuchera, and sedum fill a blue window box.

4. Window Box for Butterflies

Creating a window box that attracts butterflies is easy to do and will reward you with an up-close view of these lovely creatures from your window. Look for dwarf versions of flowers that are popular for pollinator gardens and carry those over into your window box ideas. These might include flowering plants such as dwarf forms of zinnia, delphinium, lavender, daisies, coreopsis, and pentas.

Salvia, dwarf zinnia, and pentas plants are good choices for a butterfly window box.

5. Jungle Window Boxes

If you live in a frost-free region and love a tropical theme, you can create a long-lasting window box planting using plants that others can only grow in the summer or as houseplants. Zebra plant, spider plant, oyster plant, Brazilian fireworks, and crossandra are all colorful options for a “jungle” theme. Include some bright gerbera daisies or wax begonias if you want to add some additional color to your jungle window box ideas.

When making your plant selections keep in mind that many tropical plants grow in the understory of trees in their native habitats. While many can handle heat, some may not be able to survive hot, direct, afternoon sun.

Window box ideas-a window box planter is filled with tropical plants to create a lush jungle effect.

6. Create Colorful Window Boxes for Every Season

Spring Themed Window Box Ideas

To achieve a beautiful display of blooms during the spring months, try combining different varieties of traditional spring flowers such as tulips, pansies, daffodils, grape hyacinths, and primroses. Many bulb plants are now sold in the spring as potted flowering plants, so you can find a nice variety for your window box without having to plant bulbs in the fall.  Pansies prefer cooler weather, making them suitable for spring and fall seasons.

A rustic cottage window box filled with red tulips and bright pansies in spring.

Summer Window Box Combinations

Summer is a great time to mix things up! With the huge range of plants available at this time of year, the possibilities for window box ideas are endless. Consider using petunias, geraniums, zinnias, nasturtiums, and begonias as the primary flowers for a summer theme. For a trailing effect, incorporate plants such as inch plant, ivy, euphorbia, or vinca to spill over the edge of your window box. In shady areas impatiens, begonias, fuchsia, Boston fern, and coleus are all good choices.

A summer window box filled with colorful impatiens, calibrachoa, nemesia, heuchera, and dichondra plants.

Fall Foliage and Flowers in your Window Box

Transition your window box to fall by replacing summer flowers that may be looking tired with fresh plants that can handle falling temperatures. Choose plants such as chrysanthemums, pansies, small ornamental pepper plants, and dwarf ornamental grasses that will provide color and interest right up to the first frosts. Go beyond plants with your window box ideas and try tucking in a few orange mini pumpkins to celebrate the harvest season and add a bright pop of color!

A fall theme window box filled with mums, dusty miller, ornamental cabbage, grass and dried branches.

Use Greenery to Brighten a Winter Window Box

Branches snipped from evergreens such as pine, spruce, holly, or junipers are long-lasting in a winter window box arrangement. Fresh or dried branches can also be used in their natural state or spray painted to add some color. Artificial flowers and berries also add color and can endure the cold winter weather.

A lush winter window box arrangement made from branches cut from evergreen trees.

7. Succulent Window Box

Succulents are excellent choices for a low-maintenance window box in regions that experience hot summers or seasonal drought. Succulents require very little water and they come in various shapes, sizes, and colors so you have lots of options for whatever window box ideas you dream up. Some popular succulent choices for a window box include echeverias, sedums, and crassula plants. Mix in some portulaca plants to add brilliant flower color all through the season.

A window box overflowing with succulent plants and New Guinea impatiens.

8. Herb Window Box

Under the right circumstance, growing herbs in a window box may allow you to harvest right from your window if you can access it from indoors. Many herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, and mint are low-maintenance and can be grown in window boxes. Be sure that your window box receives sufficient sunlight since most herbs prefer full sun for optimum growth and flavor.

Thyme and oregano plants are growing in a window box.

9. Grow Vegetables in Your Window Box

Window boxes can be an excellent way to grow vegetables even when you’re working with limited gardening space. For the best results, choose small varieties that have been bred specifically for container vegetable gardening. That would include dwarf varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and carrots. All varieties of leaf lettuce grow well in window boxes. Strawberries are a good choice to combine with other plants because they can trail over the sides of the window box to optimize your growing space.

Patio pots containing dwarf varieties of tomatoes and peppers loaded with fruits.

Caring for Your Window Boxes

Caring for a window box is much like caring for plants growing in pots. You’ll want to use quality, organic-rich soil, water your plants regularly, prune any trailing plants that get too long, and dead-head flowers when needed to keep plants looking tidy and encourage new flower development. To learn more about maintaining plants in containers and creative planting ideas see our collection of articles, All About Container Gardening

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