Tutorial & Tips from a Master Gardener on How to Plant a SUCCESSFUL Window Box Garden


Do you open up magazines, or scroll through Pinterest and dream of having beautiful window boxes or container gardens?

Last week I teased you with some inspiring container garden possibilities.

My goal today is to show you how you too, can create a magazine-worthy window box.


This is a full-blown tutorial filled with planting tips, hang on!!


Terrific Tips to Teach You How to Plant a Fabulous and Healthy Window Box Garden from a Master Gardener


How to Plant a Window Box Garden


To make it easy I’ll be sharing lots of photos and easy instructions, and “how to” tips for creating a successful, gorgeous, window box.  We’ll talk about plant selection, container preparation, potting mix, fertilizer, watering, and more. If you are a seasoned container gardener, I hope you’ll find a tip or two.  If you’re a novice you’ll want to pin this for future reference.

For those new to container gardening, I will be using the window box I planted up last year as an illustration.  Keep in mind that these same tips may be transferred to other types of containers as well.

And one more little thing.  Last year my laptop crashed and a lot of photos were lost.  Most of the photos of the hundreds I took of the window box in all its glory vanished.  I wish I had better pictures as it was really fabulous in the end.


One – Carefully select flowers and plants for your window box.


There’s so much to consider when it comes to plant selection.

  • Select plants for your sun/shade requirements… Sun or part sun?  Part shade or shade?
  • Note the plant’s bloom time.  Do they only bloom when the sun is shining?  Or if you choose a perennial, will it bloom all season?
  • Select plants that will trail over the front of the container, some of medium height, and some that are taller.
  • Be sure to mix up your plant selection with both flowers and foliage.
  • Choose broad leaves as well as small finely textured leaves for interest.
  • Perennials are a good choice for some containers.   They can share the glory with the annuals.

The hunt for the perfect mix is the most fun for me.  There’s nothing better than a day spent greenhouse hopping!


A sea of Impatiens - a favorite shade loving annual - at the local garden center.


When I spotted these peachy Impatiens with the rusty eye at the greenhouse, I knew they would be perfect for my north facing window box on my rusty-red house.    Then, when I discovered they will grow to be 18-24″ tall my decision was confirmed.   For a small investment, I’ll get a massive splash of color.  Can you see me doing the happy dance?


Envoy (TM) Peach Butterfly Impatiens love the shade and morning sun


If you’ve fallen in love with these lovely blossoms and are fairly new to gardening, you need to know that Impatiens prefer more shade than sun.  Don’t plant them in a container that will spend most of the day… particularly the heat of the day from 11 AM to 4 PM in direct sun.  They will not do well and will wilt.   Early morning sunshine is fine.  They will thrive where there is some direct morning sun.

Here’s another caveat.  My Impatiens did not perform well last summer.  This was the first time I have ever had that experience.  Evidently, there is a fungus in some parts of the country.  I don’t think that mine had a fungus because they didn’t die, they simply struggled all season.  After a few weeks, when I had a little bit more money, I added some other plants to the window box with tremendous success.  Check with your garden center regarding Impatiens and “Downy Mildew” fungus.


It's time to switch out the spring pansies! Don't miss the tips for planting a window box container garden


This is my window box of Pansies, nearing the end of its spring dress.  They were transferred to another container to finish their growing season.

Now…let’s get down to the nitty-gritty details of how to plant a window box garden!


Two – line your box with plastic.


Let’s assume you are beginning with a new or clean window box.  If not…clean it out of all previous soil.

Here I’ve used a black plastic trash bag as a liner for the box.


How to plant a window box :: Plastic trash bags make great liners for window boxes


Cut the bag down each side, open it up, and you’ll have a long sheet of plastic just right for most window boxes.

Lay it in your window box.  Keep in mind that it serves two purposes.  One – to protect the box and give it a longer life.  Two – to make it easier to change out the soil from year to year.

I don’t use plastic liners in most pots, it isn’t necessary.  However, I do use them to line woven baskets and hanging containers with fiber or moss sides.  Why?  It keeps the soil in and helps hold moisture better.


Three – it’s time to add potting mix.


You’ll notice I used the term potting mix.  Do NOT use potting SOIL or dirt.  Potting soil/dirt is heavy and not appropriate for container gardening.  If you’ve used soil/dirt in the past and change over to a good quality potting mix you will be amazed at how the plants thrive in comparison.


Do not choose a bag of garden soil. Select a high quality organic potting mix for your container garden.


I look for a good light weight organic potting mix with moisture retentive ingredients.  Why?  Weight is a factor.  Once the soil is damp, it’s much heavier.  Just think of how much your watering can weighs when it is full of water and how much of that goes into your container.  I like to  find moisture retentive  ingredients in the soil mix so that I don’t have to worry if I’m away for a few days, or if it’s hot and windy.  It really does make a big difference.  I was really pleased with this Espoma potting mix.  The garden center where I purchased the mix was closed when I needed more for another project, so I purchased some Miracle Gro potting mix.  The Espoma potting mix outperformed Miracle Gro.

Here are a few free tips!!  😀  Fold over the sides of the potting mix bag (I use the large 2 cubic feet size bag), it helps to make the sides stay in place and upright, especially for watering the soil and for scooping.  As I use the soil, I continue to roll down the sides of the bag.  No more floppy sides!


Be sure to dampen your potting mix before filling your window box.


Yes, I’m watering my mix in the bag.  Usually the mix is fairly dry.   Lightly water it so that you are planting in damp potting mix.  Not a dripping wet soil mix.  Scoop the potting mix with a container like my up-cycled cottage cheese container, pictured.  You will need to water the potting mix as you dig deeper into the bag.

Fill the window box with the potting mix to about an inch from the top of the container.


Four – carefully cut away the excess plastic.


Photo 1 – use the rim of the container as a guide and cut off the excess plastic just below the rim.


Choose a high-quality slow release fertilizer and feed only once a season.

Five – Fertilize!


You’ll see that I am using Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food  (Photo 2).  This has been my go-to fertilizer choice for many years for my floral and ornamental container gardens and around my perennials, too.  I like easy methods.  I like efficiency.   I like good results.  And I get all of that with Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food .  (And no they didn’t pay me to write this….I just like the product…and for your convenience I’ve provided a link to my Amazon shop.)   However, I do NOT use it for vegetable gardening of any kind even if the label says you may….there I’m an organic gardening girl.

Photo 3 – Follow the instructions on the bag for the proper amount for your container.

Photo 4 – This is what it looks like when you’ve applied the little plant food pellets to the soil.  There’s no need to mix it in, as you plant that will happen.  Also, watering and warm temperaturesf help release the nutrients into the soil.


Six – We’re now ready to plant our flowers!


Carefully remove the plant from the plastic cell pack.

Usually, I squeeze the container which helps to release the plant and then, gently pull it from its home, lightly, but firmly holding on to the base of the plant.


Remove the plant from its cell pack and space out in the window box


Lay out the plants in your window box for spacing.  

Look at the tag and see what the spacing is supposed to be for the plants.  In this case, it was 10″.  Generally I plant much closer than suggested as I want a full container.   I’ve been known to plant plants right next to each other if the plants are any larger than a 4 or 6 pack size.

By laying out the plants, you won’t end up with a container that is extra full on one end or the other.


Rough up the root ball so your new plants take root and thrive in your windowbox.


And now it’s time to put on our meany garden gloves.  

If you aren’t wearing gloves for container gardening…I suggest you do.  Nothing dries out fingertips faster than working in the “dirt.”  I have several pair of Latex gloves that serve well for me after I cut them down to wrist length and fold over the tops.  That free tip is priceless if you have manicured nails.

Why the ‘meany’ gloves?  You see, in order for this little plant to take root quickly and grow strong, we must pull apart its little roots.   The plants I used here didn’t have really tight root balls, they loosened easily.  Sometimes you’ll need to tear their roots or cut them to give them freedom (but don’t rip them off!).  If you don’t do this, the plant will continue to grow its roots as they did in their little cell packs, round and round,  and will not be well rooted in the window box and will not take up nourishment nor flourish.   Let’s just call this “tough love” for plants.


Plant and water you baby plants


Using your nice, meany-gloved fingers dig a hole for each of your plants.  Be careful to completely bury their little root balls.  This very important.  At the same time, don’t send them to the grave by burying them too deeply.  Just bury them deep enough to cover the top of the root ball.  By covering the tops of their root balls, you help insure that they won’t dry out.  This is one reason many containers fail and it’s so easy to do it right and achieve success.


Seven – Fill the watering can and water the transplants.


If you like, you can use a much diluted liquid plant food in place of water.  Don’t drown the little transplants, but water them well.  Plan to water them lightly for the next few days if it is especially hot or windy.


Eight – Create drainage holes.


We are assuming that the window box was originally made with pre-drilled drainage holes.  Since you are hopefully reading this before starting on the project, be sure they are in place.  We lined our window box with plastic which retains water.   That is great, but we don’t want our little roots to rot in excess moisture.  So, I get out my handy-dandy Ice Pick and poke holes in the plastic.  You can do the same with any basket or container that is plastic lined.  I always have poked my holes at this point in the project.


Plastic liners hold water, stab a few holes in the bottom for drainage.

Admire the newly planted window box/container garden!


Filled window box. In a few weeks it will be overflowing with blooms.


Here’s my window box simply planted with Envoy™   Butterfly Peach Impatiens.

For those of you who know of my usual fanciful window boxes, you may be wondering, “Is this all?”

This time, I believe less is more.  My budget was limited last year and I realized that anything hanging down will not be seen from the street because of the bushes in front of the porch.  When mature, these flowers will be 18-24 inches tall and will make a huge splash of color.   A dramatic color statement.

To finish the task, I need to clean the box and the window sills from my little episode of “dirt flinging.”  The little bit of black plastic that you see is really not that visible, except to the camera, and will completely disappear as the plants grow.

For more container gardening inspiration, check out this post.

I’ve noticed that there are some pretty photos and container gardening suggestions floating around the web with just three words…thriller, filler, spiller.   I hope you find this to be your go-to primer on how to plant a window box garden.


Plant selection for planting a window box


The plants you see above were the result of my greenhouse hopping.  Several of the plants I added to the window box a few weeks later.  You’ll notice the Dragon Begonia on the left.  My supermarket had those for just $5 a hanging basket, and it contained 3 plants!  That was the deal of the summer.  Usually one of those plants would be nearly $5 alone.  Never again will I thumb my nose at supermarket flowers.  They were good quality and healthy and I was able to purchase 2 more when I made the changes to my window box.  I am in love with that Begonia!  It really makes a dramatic splash.  Some of the Coleus, the Creeping Jenny, and the Variegated Vinca had been planted in some other containers and I ‘borrowed’ them back for the window box.  I think I would have been happy with the Impatiens alone, if they had performed well.  Since they didn’t, I’m pleased that I was able to make it work with a $10 splurge.


Window Box Garden a few weeks after planting in the early morning sun


Above is a photo of the window box two weeks after it had been replanted.


How to plant a window box garden. Dragon Wing Begonias are stunning in a window box


I wish I could leave you with a few better shots…but here’s an end view glimpse of how the container looked midsummer in the morning sunlight.  And you can see how the Impatiens never seemed to grow.


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Tips and Tutorial for planting a window box garden from a master gardener.

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  1. Kim says

    Beautiful!! I had problems with my impatiens last year too. They didn’t die, but lost most of their leaves. They had buds all summer, but the buds never opened. It’s very frustrating! There really aren’t any other shade lovers that offer so much color variety. I’m hesitant to plant any this year, but my porch just isn’t the same without them! Thanks for the great tips!

    • Diane says

      I’m thinking you had the fungus Kim…losing their leaves is a pretty big indicator.
      Please try the angel or dragon wing begonia. They don’t deliver the same amount of color but they are beautiful. Also…don’t forget about coleus. Especially the lighter versions. Keep them pinched back and they will give you lots of color. Really it is amazing how wonderful they are. They can get leggy…but like I said…pinch.
      Wishing you extraordinary plantings!

  2. Wow, Diane! These are gorgeous! I wish I could do impatiens, but I have far too much sun all day long. Thanks for the step by step planting tutorial. You had some really helpful tips. I wouldn’t have thought to line with plastic.

    • Diane says

      Isn’t it funny how we always wish we could do something other than what we have? I don’t have enough sun to do much. Haha!! And yup….you know exactly what I’m thinking. “Oh, I wish I could grow the Lantana.”

  3. Thanks for sharing a great tutorial! I love planting window boxes too and enjoy ours every year! Yours looks great!

    • Diane says

      Thank you Nancy!! You are blessed to have window boxes to plant. They are sooo fun!
      Hope your week is extraordinary!

  4. Can’t go wrong with pretty blooms gracing the windows. Sweet!

  5. Diane says

    Thanks for sharing all your planting tips. I love impatiens as well, but wasn’t aware of this fungus, so maybe I’ll try something else because I don’t want to be disappointed. . We have a fairly small yard so window boxes would be a perfect addition. Your tutorial was really helpful!

    • Diane says

      Oh…that just might be wise. You could check with your county extension first, though.
      I’m blessed that you found the tutorial helpful. Thanks Diane!
      Hope your day is Extraordinary!

  6. Mel says

    Ahhhhh….the ol’ trashliner inside the flowerbox deal! *laughing* Glad to know I’m not the only one. What I don’t do–is water the potting mix as I’m filling. There’s a helpful, simple tip–geeze….why didn’t I come up with that one. LOL

    I’ve potted a few pots and I’m calling it ‘good enough’. I’m thinking that’s a good call, given the current limitations. That–and the garden hose is just pure EVIL, trying to trip me every time I use it. :-/ (nope–can’t quite handle a water can…*sigh*)
    But I DID try the ‘coffee filter in the bottom of the pot’ tip. Wow–did that work slicker than slick. And it’ll just rot quietly away. Only…..now I need to buy more coffee filters. LOL
    Lovely colours on the impatiens. I put white in the white boxes out back–with splashes of yellow. White and yellow–everything’s white and yellow. LOL That’s UNTIL the jungle like buddleia’s bloom their pinks and purples. All I have left is the hanging basket! And I’ve put that off, waiting for the winds to calm down and the shops to have a deal. I’m a bargain shopper for flowers! Somehow they always grown out side for me. Notsomuch inside…

    • Diane says

      And your last statement…”Notsomuch inside…” I know that too well. LOL!
      The trash liner is super helpful when it’s time to change out the soil. I can’t imagine having to ‘dig’ it all up one scoop at a time! That is not me…I’m into efficiency. 😉
      I love your colors! White softens the harshness of yellow. Yellow is actually one of my favorite colors…but a lot of yellow flowers are to harsh for me. Butter yellow is my preference…so the addition of white is a fabulous idea! And the buddleia will be a wonderful complement.
      Yeah…you’d need a third arm for the watering can. Bummer.
      And the coffee filter thing is great! I’m so glad I happened on that one. I think I have some photos for another container gardening post….okay…it makes my heart sing….and this year…since I can’t plant, I can write about it…the next best thing.
      Still windy? Phooey. It seems to be settling down here. [fingers crossed]
      Hope you have An Extraordinary Day…though I have little doubt. 😉

  7. bj says

    I am so thrilled to find this great post. I have a north facing window box on the home we are about to sell.
    I have wanted to fill my box (for curb appeal, at this point) with fast growing beauty.
    Thanks for all the wonderful tips.
    Over from Lavender Garden

    • Diane says

      Thanks BJ!! You just validated all my efforts to create this. 🙂
      Best wishes for extraordinary window boxes!!

  8. Thank you so much for your step-by-step instructions — I love the look of beautifully planted window boxes and containers, but I haven’t really known all the ins and outs before now. I love me some supermarket plants, too! I found you via WFMW — come visit me sometime!

    • Diane says

      I am so blessed that you found the tutorial helpful Melody! It makes all the work, so worthwhile.
      Thanks for taking the time to leave your encouraging remarks. 🙂
      May your holiday weekend be Extraordinary!
      p.s. if you have further questions, feel free to contact me.

  9. Sandi says

    Wonderful photos and tips, Diane. Thanks for sharing at my HOME. I know many will find your post very helpful; including me. Have a wonderful weekend.


    • Diane says

      I’m blessed that you found the post helpful Sandi! That just puts a huge smile on my face! 😀
      Wishing you and yours an Extraordinary Memorial Day & weekend!

  10. Very pretty! I love this classic look.
    We would love it if you would link up at our linky party:
    Two Girls and a Party
    Live every Wednesday to Sunday. Hosted by:
    Dana @ This Silly Girl’s Life
    Parrish @ Life with the Crust Cut Off
    We hope to see you there!

    • Diane says

      Thank you Dana for your kind words and for you lovely invitation.

  11. Hello Dianne:
    Yes – the linky has A MIND OF IT’S OWN today. I see 7 when I go there (I even did one as a test) but only the 1st 3 are showing. I love it when things work and hate it when they don’t.

    I think you have a wonderful .net (blog) here and what great ideas and I thank you for linking…..hopefully it will show up sooooon.

  12. This was so helpful! I pinned it to my ‘rehabbing a black thumb” pinterest board. Thanks for sharing….came over from Common Ground 🙂

    • Diane says

      Yay!!! It makes my day to hear you found this post to be helpful. 😀
      Wishing you An Extraordinary Memorial holiday!

  13. Wow that is beautiful. I wish I could make that this year.

    Mary, MI

  14. I love container gardening and enjoyed reading your step by step instructions! Great advice and gorgeous window box! Thanks for joining Diann and I at TTF this week.


    • Diane says

      Thank you so much Linda! I do hope that it helps everyone who thinks they don’t have a green thumb. 🙂

  15. Linda says

    Very wonderful tutorial. Love it. I see that you are not having problems with impatiens. Here in Connecticut we can’t plant impatiens because of some fungal disease. Darn. They are my favorites!! I don’t know what I’m going to plant…. I’m looking at Million Bells for this year. Hoping they can come up with disease resistant impatiens soon. Best wishes to you. Linda

    • Diane says

      Oh my…I’m sorry to hear that you are having the fungal disease. I did see it some places along my walking path last summer. I love Million Bells and they have done very well for me in the past…but they need a lot of sunshine. They were a bit spindly in a partly sunny basket…just an FYI. I’m not sure if I’m spelling it right but Torenia — clown face plant — enjoys shade…it isn’t quite the WOW as impatiens though.

  16. wanted to let you know that this weeks garden party is ready for you to share this post – great info.! xoox, tracie

    • Diane says

      I am thrilled to be included in your lovely garden party!! Thank you so much for the lovely blessing!

  17. Jenn says

    It looks beautiful! I am hoping to be able to get around to some planting this weekend. Thanks so much for coming out to the party at Clean and Scentsible. I’ll be featuring this on Sunday. Have a wonderful weekend!
    Jenn 🙂

    • Diane says

      Awww…thanks Jenn! Have you been able to get out and plant? It’s been freezing cold here…maybe I’ll go ‘play’ in the yard later. LOL
      Hope your weekend & Memorial Day are Extraordinary!

  18. Window boxes always look so charming. Definitely going to have them at the cottage some day. Thanks for the tips!

    • Diane says

      Thank you Shauna! I do hope you are able to get your window boxes soon! Mine always put a smile on my face.

  19. Thanks so much for the tips. My goal is to plant build and plant a flower box this next week. So, I am definitely pinning your post. I’ve dropped by from Think Pink Sundays at Flamingo Toes and am now a follower! Would love to have you follow back! Thanks again for the lovely pics and advice! – Warm regards, Lorraine

    • Diane says

      You have an ambitious project ahead of you, Lorraine!!
      Thanks for your kind words and best wishes for extraordinary gardening success!!

  20. This is amazing. I love to garden but not that great at it yet. I love the way you showed us how to do this. THANK YOU! I will be following you! I am stopping by from I should Be Mopping The Floor Blog Hop Visit me soon at

    • Diane says

      Oh Susie…I’m so blessed that you are finding this helpful!
      This is the method I taught and have used for years with great success. If you have any questions…please don’t hesitate to contact me!
      Happy Memorial Day!

  21. Cathy says

    I would love for you to share and link up at my TGIF Link Party. The party is open every Thursday night and closes Wednesday’s at midnight.
    Have a wonderful week!
    Hugs, Cathy

    • Diane says

      Thanks for the lovely invitation Cathy!!

  22. Jelli says

    These are so pretty! Now I just need to find a DIY window box tutorial. I love having fresh flowers around the house. It just makes things so much more welcoming and cheery. Thanks for the how-to. Visiting from Marvelous Mondays.

    • Diane says

      Oh I hope you were able to find one. I’ve seen some…but at the moment I can’t remember where.
      Best wishes with your flowers and gardening!

  23. What a great tutorial! Your box looks so pretty! Thanks for sharing at TTF!

    • Diane says

      Thanks Diann! I was amazed at how much time it took to put together. Hopefully it will be helpful to the novice especially.
      Happy Memorial Day!

  24. This is such a great idea. We moved to a new home last year and now that spring is here I have been looking for ways to brighten up the front of our home. This might work very nicely. Take care!

    • Diane says

      Yay!! I hope it really does help!
      Congratulations on your new home! Isn’t it so fun to personalize and make it yours?
      Happy Memorial Day!

  25. Judy says

    Beautiful window box full of flowers and the tutorial.

  26. Kathy says

    I dearly love the built in boxes, I use the wire ones with the liners and they never, ever seem to hold the water during the summer. Great tips, this is the first time I have dropped by came over from a party and will check back, great instructions.

    • Diane says

      Kathy….using the plastic and the water retentive soil mix really does make a difference…especially for the wire ones. I have used those in the past. I hope these tips will help your containers.

  27. Hi I found you on the Adorned From Above Wednesday Blog Hop. My name is Ashley and I am a creative graphics and web designer. Please feel free to check out our blog at: http://www.ashleychapmandesigns.com/

    Thanks so much!

    • Diane says

      So nice to ‘meet’ your Ashley!
      Hope your holiday weekend has been extraordinary!

  28. Beautiful flowers. I need to get ours done. It has been so cold here (MA.) even over the holiday weekend 🙁 This week for sure, I will do some planting. Thank you for the inspiration! I was your neighbor at Titus 2sdays 🙂

    • Diane says

      How nice of you to visit and leave your thoughts Joanne!
      It was really cold here in PA too. It seems we’ve had it cold or hot…I’m ready for just plain ol’ warm! 😉
      May you week overflow with JOY!!

  29. Dawn says

    Beautiful flower box. I can’t believe how expensive it can be to plant window boxes. I have spend $100 on 2 before and decided not to do that again. Great tutorial. Thanks for Sharing at the Cabin’s BUDGET DECORATING PARTY.

    • Diane says

      I know what you mean Dawn…it’s really easy to do. That’s why I was excited to find the Angel Wing Begonias filled out so well. The really make a splash and help keep costs down immensely…especially with a long box like mine (5 ft I think).

  30. Oh your plants and window box are stunning. Great tutorial. Thanks tons for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  31. Carol says

    This is just gorgeous, and you did a wonderful tutorial!

    • Diane says

      How nice of you to stop and leave your kind words. Thank you Carol!
      Hope your day is Extraordinary!

  32. I love the window box. I’ve never seen those peach impatients but they are gorgeous! I’ll be looking for those. Pinning this too 🙂 Thanks for sharing this with us at the Weekend Wonders party! Hope you have a great day!

    • Diane says

      I think the peach is my favorite, too! Thanks for stopping by and leaving your kind words. Blessings!!!

  33. Thanks so much for this! I featured it at this week’s Grace at Home, in fact! Thanks so much for linking up.

    • Diane says

      Oh Richella, thank you so much!! And thank you for letting me know. This weekend I’ve had a guest and haven’t had a chance to pop by, and I would have missed this lovely blessing. 😉

  34. mfashforward says

    Would love for you to share this at my link up where we pin all those you join to our party board

  35. These are fantastic tips! We’ve just moved to a new home with window boxes and I didn’t know where to begin! Thank you so much. Thanks for sharing at Silver Pennies Sundays. x

    • Diane says

      That absolutely makes my day, Danielle! I am thrilled to give you that little extra help. When I lived in Michigan I used to teach container gardening classes and realized that lots of people just needed a few important tips to achieve success. Best wishes for some extraordinary window boxes. I’ll look forward to seeing photos on the blog! 🙂

  36. Emily says

    Lovely! I’ve shared today on my blog: http://www.52mantels.com/2013/06/summer-food-crafts.html

    • Diane says

      You are so sweet to do that Emily! Thank you for this wonderful blessing!! [hugs]

  37. Jeff langdon says

    Dear Diane, my name is Jeff,I live in Danville NH,I’ve recently become disabled due to a surgery that went wrong,b4 that I was a trac trailer driver for Conway freight.I can still walk and stuff so my yard is my new hobby,loved ur info on window boxes,just ordered 5 foot box,will have many questions since this box will b in sun 80% of the day.I appreciate your article to get me started,but will have many more questions. Thank you Jeff

    • I’m sorry for your accident and botched surgery, Jeff. That’s a hard blow. But, I love that you’ve chosen to overcome the disability through a new hobby. Container gardening is my favorite… hands down. It’s so rewarding. Let me encourage you to go to the library and find books on plants, order a seed catalog, and to visit a top-notch garden shop near you with knowledgeable staff. Those are the ways that I learned plants and their culture. It’s a fun study. All the best for success!!

  38. maria mason says

    What a well written post!

  39. Susie says

    I am hoping you can help! I bought lovely black iron window boxes with heavy moss liners for my back patio-absolutely no sun!. Everything rots in these planters and I hardly watered at all because they always seemed damp. I planted strictly shade impatiens and greenery and absolutely everything rotted.

    Any suggestions for me?

    Thank you.


    • Susie… a couple of quick thoughts. I currently have a north facing balcony which, during the summer, gets maybe an hour of direct sunlight first thing in the morning, after that, it’s bright, but not direct and I have blooming plants that thrive including geraniums. If your planters are set back under an overhang you won’t get good results no matter what you do. I would need to know more about the light situation to speak directly regarding it and what you can plant successfully.
      Regarding the damp… are your moss liners lined with plastic? If they are… you need to cut some tiny slits so that water can escape/drain. I’m guessing that they are not lined with plastic and that there is no air circulation.
      If you reply with an email… maybe we could discuss this further. I’d like to help.


  40. Robert Terry says

    Hey dear, Thanks a lot for sharing such great stuff on planting tips. I have got some fantastic tips and ideas in your post. You have just noted an essential point, “Fertilize!: You’ll see that I am using Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food. This has been my go-to fertilizer choice for many years for my floral and ornamental container gardens and around my perennials, too. I like easy methods. I like efficiency. I like good results. And I get all of that with Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food . (And no they didn’t pay me to write this….I just like the product…and for your convenience I’ve provided a link to my Amazon shop.) However, I do NOT use it for vegetable gardening of any kind even if the label says you may….there I’m an organic gardening girl.” Most of the gardener does not know how to use the mulch to fertilize the plants properly. I do hope this post will be more useful for the new and old gardener.


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