15 window box ideas – perfect planting tips for floral interest in all seasons

These window box ideas will inspire you to add flowers and more greenery to small spaces for a beautiful display in spring, summer, fall and even winter...

Coconut husk lined window box on white cladded panel house exterior with blue
(Image credit: B&Q)

Whether you're short on outdoor space or not, window box ideas will see you adding greenery and your favorite plants to any free small space you have in sight. Ideal for a lonely window sill, and perfectly beautiful on the ground too, whether you want a minimal pure-foliage look or a colorful number to brighten up the view, in and out of your home, window planters will do the trick.

When it comes to choosing the best garden plant ideas for your window boxes, that is down to your taste and also dependent on where you plan to locate your planters. 

With more and more of us keen to become savvy gardeners, even if we don't necessary have that much garden space to work with, window box planting is a brilliant way to use your vertical space in a practical and beautiful way. We spoke with Chris Bonnet, founder of Gardening Express who says 'Blossoming window boxes are a cost-effective way of increasing the kerb appeal of a home, especially if there isn’t much space to get planting. Using a variety of plants, with different textures and colours will add dimension and personality to any dreary outdoor spaces. They are easy to hang and remove without leaving any lasting marks behind.'

1. Choose a metal frame for a trad feel

For classic good looks opt for a window box that’s made with a traditional metal frame reminiscent of a hay trough. Pop in some peat-free compost and nestle your plants in for a summer display. Combining pink and red together will add a splash of color - geraniums will do the trick!

2. Use them to brighten up your outdoor living space

Trio of white window boxes in outdoor living area including BBQ grill, a neutral colored corner couch and bright turquoise garden chairs

(Image credit: Wayfair)

You’ve already adorned your windowsills, so place some more window boxes alongside your outdoor seating area as a decorative finishing touch. Groups of three always work best, choose designs that complement the rest of your scheme and plant them up with multiple colors that work with your chosen color palette.

3. Plant yours up for year round greenery

Ivy hanging from a cream colored window box on a rail balcony

(Image credit: IKEA)

Window boxes with hooks are a genius idea, it means you can hang them over your balcony or on a wall - both great choices if you don’t have a windowsill. If you’re not particularly green-fingered and bright colors don’t float your boat, but you want something that adds texture and interest all year round then consider planting trailing ivy. It will last well and is a great low-maintenance option.

4. Choose rustic wood for character

Wooden window box lit up with outdoor lighting surrounded by candles, a stool and hanging planter

(Image credit: Lights4Fun)

There are window boxes for every style whether your home is ultra modern or full of period property charm. Or, use them on your shed or outbuilding. Create a welcoming glow by adding in some fairy lights gently intermingled with the plants, you can use battery operated ones for safety. 

5.  Fill an ornate window box with one variety

Wooden grey planter

(Image credit: Wayfair)

The beauty of window boxes is that they can be used on the ground too. When planting up, remember that less is more - the same theory that we use with our interiors. An ornate design will look much better with one variety of garden plant because you don’t want to detract from the detailing. 

6. Create a spring feel

Wooden window box planters with white flowers and ivy on small balcony with matching wooden garden bistro set

(Image credit: Ikea)

These wooden crate style planters will work on deep window sills, and if you don’t have any because you live in an apartment then opt for designs that can stack on top of each other. The beauty of these is that you can simply place your chosen plants straight in their individual pots - no need to use compost. 

7. Plant out a wildlife-friendly display

Wildlife planting in galvanized metal window box

(Image credit: Sarah Raven)

For a beautiful flowering display throughout summer and fall choose varieties that will last. Dianthus, Sweet William and Erigeron daisies will create a meadow type feel that will trail down. This combination is ideal for pollinators like butterflies to create a wildlife and especially bee-friendly garden space, even if you don't have that much room!

8. Choose white wicker for a quaint look

White flowers in white wicker small window planter

(Image credit: Ikea)

Country style window boxes can be filled with beautiful blooms like geraniums, lavender, delphiniums and roses. If you choose a design like this white PET plastic flower box it will last for years and won’t weather during the winter months. 

9. Fill your window box to the brim with trailing flowers

Pink and purple overflowing flower display in cottage-style window box

(Image credit: Sarah Raven)

Do you love the cottage garden style? This window box is full of blooms that will fit this theme. Rich pinks and lilacs teamed with textural foliage will create an eye-catching display - look out for Osteospermum, Rhodochiton, Senecio and Verbena to recreate this fabulous arrangement in your window box.

10. Know that size doesn't matter

White flowers in small galvanized metal window box

(Image credit: Gardenesque)

If you’re a beginner gardener or haven't got a lot of room to play with, then it’s absolutely fine to start small. You don’t need to fill your entire window sill, you can simply plant up one window box and place it in the middle. This galvanized planter is full of pretty pansies - a great value choice for quick color during spring. 

11. Make life easier with handles

Small metal planter with handles, planted with purple flowers on a white round garden table

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Window boxes can get heavy once they’re filled with compost and plants, so make life easier for yourself and look for designs with handles. This curvy timeless planter is easy on the eye and you could fit two next to each other on your window sill. Use it for herbs or pretty plants. 

12. Go vintage

Grey window planter

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

This classic looking window box is made from zinc plated steel ensuring it will be weatherproof. The rectangular body means it will fit perfectly depth-wise on a standard sized window sill whether you want to place a small design in the middle or a long one to fill the sill completely. To add height, fill it with a plant that will grow upwards rather than one that trails down. 

13. Plant for fragrance

Embossed galvanised window trough

(Image credit: Waitrose Garden)

Lavender is one of the easiest flowers to grow in window boxes; its compact growing habit will add just enough height without going floppy. Try combining thyme, lavender, and salvias for an even more fragrant, herbaceous window box that's also perfect for bees.

14. Choose the best window box herbs

Embossed galvanised window trough

(Image credit: Waitrose Garden)

Growing a herb garden in window boxes is one of the most satisfying small space projects. You can easily combine several herbs in one window box: thyme, basil, parsley, and oregano will all happily grow together, although rosemary is probably best left as a border plant, since it can get leggy. Most herbs can be easily raised from seed: just give them two to three weeks to germinate. 

15. Make your window boxes more edible

Strawberry 'Mount Everest'

(Image credit: Waitrose Garden)

You can have a vegetable garden, even if it's a tiny one! And, growing strawberries and tomatoes in window boxes is another way to add edible color to your window garden. Tomatoes are easily raised from seed, but strawberries may be best bought as plug plants. Go for compact, trailing varieties – or, if you feel up for something a little different, consider a climbing strawberry variety, such as Mount Everest. Train it up with a plant support positioned against a wall. 

Do window boxes need drainage?

They sure do. Like with all container gardening methods, water logged plants aren't usually happy ones. To increase drainage in a window planter you can either drill holes into the bottom, or you an add gravel, rocks or wood chip to the base of yours, before adding soil as this will help excess water evaporate a little more quickly and efficiently.

See flowers everywhere!

Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor of indie magazine, 91, Sophie trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for the modern bride.