Sallymander's blog: Window boxes

Posted on Jul 19, 2019 1:20 PM

I've been window gardening for a while now, and here are a few observations.

Metal frames with coir liners are cheap to buy, but expensive to maintain. That said, they are not without their purpose. I like to stack planters one above another on the wall, to get more soil depth. Stacking doesn't work as well with other planters. Birds like to nest in my stacked planters. I like birds. But a nesting bird means you can't water the planter until the bird is done nesting, which, in my yard, is mid July. Your best options here is, use a self watering planter at the base and stack up with coir planters; then you can water the side of the planter the bird is not nesting in, and all the plants get watered equally. Replacing coirs can be a pain. If you use a single coir, the coir shrinks and buckles, loses its shape and doesn't fit the frame. If you double up the coirs one inside another, the liner is firmer, lasts long, and the top lip of the coir sits above the frame, reducing soil spillage.

Copper planters are best on the cool side of the house, unless you are planting something that really likes the heat. Copper planters hold moisture better than coir planters. They require less maintenance. You can split some pvc pipe length wise, duct tape it to the bottom of the planter so it can catch the drainage water and divert it to the side. Then, you can wedge slender branches through the angled support arm, creating a front "wall." You can do similar things to the sides and build a place birds want to nest under the planter. Pretty cool, huh?

Self watering window boxes are expensive, but hold a reasonable water reserve. I am not found of plastics of any kind, so I don't find them attractive, but they are useful for hard to reach places, and as a base for stacking coir lined metal frames.

Self made planters are fun, but rarely work as well as I had hoped. The "bargains" on Craigslist rarely are. Most of the time, by the time you replace the missing parts, you could have bought new.

Location, location, location. I got into window boxes as a way to reduce the heat on our southern bedroom window. But like all gardening, once you start, there is no place to stop. I will put a window box almost anywhere: below a window, above a window, to the side of a window and even where there is no window at all. The two places I would never put a window box is over a door (though I'm fixing to put one over the fixed side of a sliding glass door, but that's not the same thing,) and the other is directly over the dryer vent. I have a copper planter about three to six feet from a dryer vent and that's really still too close. It confuses the plants. They can't tell what season it is.

You can plant anything you are willing to maintain inside a window box: annuals, perennials, bonsai trees. Your effort is the only limitation.

I love my window boxes, and I hope you love yours, too.

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