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Grow This 4-Season Windowbox

By: Kristin Beane SullivanKristin Beane Sullivan
This 4-season windowbox will dress up your garden all year long. Linda Vater shares tips and plant recommendations to ensure color in spring, summer, fall and winter.

Create a windowbox with multiseason appeal

Isn’t this spring windowbox pretty? With a little upkeep and a few plant swaps, it looks fantastic in all 4 seasons. See how to plant up the spring look below and watch the video, where I ask Oklahoma’s Linda Vater to share her secrets for fantastic 4-season windowboxes.

Pretty view year-round

A windowbox can provide a lovely view no matter what the season, even in zones where it gets cold in winter. Start with evergreens as the bones of the arrangement—and don’t forget broadleaf evergreens, such as ivy or wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei) for a different texture. Evergreens that have bright new growth or change color in fall are a bonus. Next, tuck in spring bulbs to pop up early in the season, and replace them with summer annuals. Fall-blooming perennials, such as garden mum (Chrysanthemum hybrids), round out the year.

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How to create 4-season windowboxes

This windowbox is in Linda’s Oklahoma garden. Here are three rules she follows to make sure her windowboxes look great, no matter the season:

1. Go big

Think of your windowbox as a miniature garden and leave room for lots of plants and variety. She thinks they look best if they’re at least as wide as the windows.

2. Follow the thriller-filler-spiller formula

  • Use evergreen shrubs and perennials as thrillers (tall plants that stand above the rest, often with striking foliage for interest)
  • Use seasonal annuals as the fillers (plants with full, rounded growth habits that bridge the gap; these might have bold foliage color or lots of flowers)
  • Use traditional ground covers as the spillers (low-growing or trailing plants that cascade over the edge of the container)

3. Make it last

Use a liner of heavy plastic or metal to extend the life of a wooden windowbox.

spring-window-box-linda-vater-lead: This large windowbox can hold a considerable amount of plants, but the plan below can be adjusted for smaller windowboxes. windowbox-circle-plan

Spring windowbox plant list (number to plant)

A) Boxwood (Buxus ‘Green Mountain’) (2)
B) Coral bells (Heuchera Key Lime Pie) (2)
C) Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis ‘City of Haarlem’) (15)
D) Yellow archangel (Lamium galeobdolon) (4)
E) Variegated English ivy (Hedera helix ‘Variegata’) (4)
F) Pansy (Viola Delta™ Premium True Blue) (15)

Windowbox is 90 in. long × 18 in. wide

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.


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