I absolutely love window boxes, they make such a lovely impact on even the plainest of houses. Window boxes, and climbers….EVERY house looks so much better with these. But now that summer is over (well, it comes back on some days or afternoons, but that’s England for you!) what can you put in a window box that won’t just turn into a straggly brown husk really fast, and look worse than nothing?
Well, there are a couple of plants which you can rely on to help you out.
Chrysanthemums (“Mums” for short)
What a stunning window box this is! I’m not normally a fan of orange or yellow flowers, but would certainly use them from September/October in a window box or pot outside the house. The colours just shout “Autumn’s coming”! Makes you feel all cosy and excited for Bonfire Night to arrive (maybe that’s just me…I love fireworks).
My only problem is, I’m not at all ruthless about throwing out plants. If it’s got even a smidgen of life left in it, I’ll keep trying to nurse it back to health until it’s totally out of my hands. I like an underdog, you see. So I’d probably end up with a bunch of elderly, straggly mums in my window box well past the time when I should’ve changed them to something Christmassy or wintery.
It doesn’t have to be as complicated and green-fingered as the image above though. The following photo shows that mums look great with just ivy.
Nice and simple and easy to keep up with, because ivy is so low maintenance. There’s also a good chance you can get it free from your own, or a friend’s garden. Another low maintenance option is grasses (choose hardy, perennial/all-year round ones):
or maybe some outdoor fairy lights woven through. Beautiful.
Or you could just keep them by themselves but in an array of pretty colours:
Another good plant for this time of year, and one which lends itself really well to a window box on a modern house, is ornamental cabbage. Here they are all by themselves in a trough/window box:
They come in lots of different shapes and colours, and I think they are stunning. I can attest to them being nice and low maintenance, because I did a little window box using them in my old house. This picture shows them when they first when in (excuse the phone pic):
As you can see, I naively missed out the 3rd element in the formula for a good window box. There’s meant to be Thrill (the show stopper plant, or something with height), Fill (something which compliments the show stopper, and fills in the display) and Spill (something which tumbles over the edge of the window box). My window box was seriously missing spillage. I’ll do the box again one day, but this time will add ivy. I’ll also take greater care to get their faces all facing the same way!
I put the ornamental cabbages with some little fir trees, and the white plants are Cineraria. The cabbages and Cineraria grew up nicely to fill the space more, and the whole lot were very easy to care for (I basically did nothing after planting!)
Here’s another lovely Deborah Silver example:
As you can see, ornamental cabbages look great with dark leaved plants (above), but they also look fresh and lovely with chartreuse leaved plants:
Soooo, there you have it…a couple of good plants for an autumn window box. Chrysanthemums and Ornamental Cabbages. Stick ’em with some ivy, grasses, Cineria or mini firs, or just keep them in varied colours/types by themselves en masse, and you’ll have a nice low-maintenance display. Ps. the cabbages also look lovely with heather, but somehow I always kill heather so can’t personally call it low maintenance.