Issue 51 Window Dressings — Focus on Foliage

Window Box DesignWindow boxes don’t have to be large to make an impact. This one is only 22 inches long by 9 inches wide. But it’s packed with lots of different foliage textures!

One way to squeeze lots of impact into a window box is to choose plants that cascade down the front and sides. The bold-foliaged ‘Nico’ plectranthus cascading over the edge makes the box seem larger than it really is. And the colorful foliage provides interest when flowering plants are at rest.

The variegated hebe in the center is actually a shrub. If you live in USDA zone 9 or warmer, it’ll be hardy. Small shrubs like this are a way to get double duty from container plants. Buy them small and use them for a couple of years in containers. You’ll need to remove them from the box and plant them in the ground each winter for protection. Then in the spring, dig the small plants and put them back in the window box for the summer. When the shrubs get too big to use in the box, you can plant them permanently into the garden.

Feed a window box like this every other time you water. Use a 1/2-strength, water-soluble, 15-30-15 fertilizer. Most of these plants will grow too large for this box without pruning. Keep a pair of scissors handy and snip a few stems now and then to keep the plants under control.


22 x 9-in. box

Window box plan

Plant List

Code Plant Name Cold / Heat
Zones
No. to Buy
A Variegated hebe
Hebe xfranciscana ‘Variegata’
9 to 10 / 10 to 3 1
B Tuberous begonia
Begonia ‘Nonstop Red’
11 to 12 / 12 to 1 2
C Coleus
Solenostemon ‘Life Lime’
11 to 12 / 12 to 1 2
D Plectranthus
Plectranthus forsteri ‘Marginatus’
11 to 12/12 to 1
1
E Plectranthus
Plectranthus ‘Nico’
11 to 12/12 to 1 1
F Coleus
Solenostemon ‘Othello’
11 to 12/12 to 1 2