Late Summer Window Box Ideas

August 22, 2012

Well it’s been the weirdest summer, weather-wise, that I can remember in a long time. It started out absolutely GORGEOUS, with lower temps and humidity – it was fantastic. 

And then Mother Nature went into fits and mid-summer was full of intense drought and wicked hot temps. I know many of you had the same. 

The past couple weeks it’s been lovely again – almost like September instead of August but I’ll take it! But the nice weather came too late for a few of my plants. 

We were under a water ban here for most of the summer, and although I could still water some plants, some of them I just could not keep up with. I almost lost a few bigger bushes, so I focused on those instead of the annuals, like those in our window boxes:

Sad, just sad. We were the envy of the neighborhood with those, we were. 

When there’s not a drought, they usually look like this:
So I decided to do something about them, but the thing was, this was early August – I didn’t really want to do petunias again (and doubt I could have found them?) but I love the way they spill over when they grow out. 

I knew I wanted something fluffy and spilly and low maintenance. 

So I took a trip to one of my favorite nurseries, which is actually the one at the True Value I visit:

I love that they use lattice across the top – it’s like a little oasis out there. I don’t know why, but I always find different options here than I do at the bigger hardware stores I frequent. I’ve purchased quite a few plants here I don’t see many other stores. 

One thing I couldn’t find anywhere else was asparagus fern:
asparagus fern
I knew I wanted to try it and they had a plenty of it – at least until I got there. ;) I’ve never used this stuff before but I loved it’s delicate, spilly (yes I made up that word, go with it) look. Keep in mind how small those were – you won’t believe how fast they grow!

I picked up some coleus as well, which I’m gathering is a good option for late summer because I see them out more starting late July. I’ve used this stuff in the past and love the variety of colors and how full and hardy it is. 

I hear planters need some “thriller,” as well (I had the filler and spiller) so I grabbed a few red geraniums for the back of the window boxes. A few weeks later and I cannot even believe how well these plants are doing in this spot:
asparagus fern coleus window boxes
I have always wanted to try mixing a few different plants in these boxes and never have for some reason – I just don’t feel like I’m good at figuring out what works when it comes to this stuff.

But I’m quite pleased with how they’ve turned out!:
late summer window boxes
Ack! I love all the spillage!! Looking at them now, I don’t even know if I needed the geraniums – but I did want a little punch of color. 

Here’s the thing – I love the idea of using the green flowy plants and want to do it again, but they don’t offer much contrast against the azalea bushes that we have out front:
window boxes curved shutters
I guess it’s that I’m so used to having a huge pop of color there with the petunias. Maybe I’ll continue to do both every summer, who knows. I’m pretty much obsessed with how these have filled out and spilled over though. Love it!

I installed these window boxes about six years ago, maybe seven, and they’ve served us well. But this is the last summer for them, for sure:

They are barely hanging on. ;) Luckily you can only see that from the side, since the spillage hides so much. 

Next year I want to go bigger with the window boxes – definitely longer and maybe deeper too so I can keep stuffing them full of lovelies like this. Our current ones are actually very small and it’s hard to put much in them. 

I’m hoping the fern and coleus will do OK into the fall, because I’d love to just keep these through till the winter. I will fallify them a bit, maybe with some pumpkins and kale if I can cram those in. ;)

By the way – we have finally gotten some rain around here but I have not watered these much otherwise – just a couple times right after I planted them. They get partial sun and do GREAT in this spot – the maintenance is pretty much nonexistent! 

I did a quick search to find some other examples of window boxes using these three plants 

This one I loved because of the boxes, but mostly because of the windows:
window box with coleus
Can you blame me?

And finally, one more that truly incorporates the “thriller, spiller, filler” combo, WOW:
window box spiller

Those geraniums are HUGE! I’m gonna need MUCH bigger window boxes next year. ;)

So do you have window boxes? I think they add SO much character to the front of a home – for very little money (I’m pretty sure mine were under $20). 

I’m determined to get a little more creative with mine in the future. And in no time at all we’ll be dreaming of fall-themed planters – like, maybe…yesterday? ;)

Email subscription form header
Your email:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide


  1. My sister has incredible flower boxes and her secret is that they are "self" watering. They have a reservoir that you fill once or twice a week and the boxes stay moist. Her sweet potato vines look like those pictured. I think the boxes might have been a little pricey but they are made from plastic so they will last a long time. The only thing she does is put them into the potting shed to spend the winter so the plastic won't crack.

  2. These flower boxes look great. But be careful with Asparagus fern. Keep it contained. We had some in our yard, and it grows so out of control. AND they have spikes!!! So if you want to trim them, they get angry and bite back ;-)

    Jocelyn @

  3. Your window boxes are lovely, Sarah. The geraniums are a nice pop of color! Love that your garden center at True Value is so homey! I haven't filled mine in awhile b/c I have trouble keeping things alive in them. :s

  4. Your window boxes are LOVELY! I'm so jealous. We're on Day 81 of an exceptional drought, so although I've been able to keep our vegetable garden going (and have to water the lawn to prevent the house foundation from cracking), the front garden I'd planted has shriveled up. Mind if I just drool over yours instead?

  5. Lovely window boxes.. I have one window box below my south facing kitchen window but have never planted anything in it... I'm sorta skeered that a snake will be hiding in the bushes so I don't go near it. Yep, just a skeerdie cat! LOL

  6. I finally learned to put diapers in mine- plastic side down so it keeps more water in and the Stuff in the diapers, holds water for awhile, versus just wetting the dirt and the rest running out... only have to water every 3 days and they stay reasonably moist even in 100 degrees.

  7. I just saw an episode of Ask this Old House where Roger helped a homeowner build window boxes with those brackets that you like. He had lots of tips of what to plant and how to keep everything alive.

  8. Beautiful window boxes Sarah.The colors are gorgeous.

  9. Sarah, one of the ways my cousin & I keep our pots watered and moist is to (a) freeze large "ice cube" in a tupperware type container and set in pot in early morning - as sun melts, it keep soil moist or (b) fill empty 12 or 16 oounce plastic bottle with water and freeze and the invert into plant. It's worked wonders this year so over the winter I plan to "decorate" some plastic bottles for next year!

  10. OOhhh.. luvly late summer window boxes. I have an asparagus fern under the big window outside the dining room. I just luv the delicate spilling. They get little white flowers and then berries in the fall and winter. When I tried growing it in the window box at our last house, it did not do so well, hence the planting in the garden this time.
    I have had mo good luck with window boxes ... I am tempted to try again after seeing the ones you did and the ones you posted.
    Cheers, Gee

  11. Looks great! I have had good success with potato vine and coleus in our hot Georgia sun. They perk back up with little water.

  12. I normally can only keep one plant alive a year unless its a cactus or a aloe vera plant : (. I don't have a green thumb. I love your updated flower box. Following your GFC and your facebook, I hope you will follow me back @

  13. Hey your window boxes look amazing! I will send you this little warning though--asparagus fern can be a real bully! I live in So. Cal so our growing season is pretty much all year long, you may not have a problem with the stuff out there, but here--look out! It propagates by dropping little berries (birds "deliver" them for us too) and the stuff will start sprouting up all over the place and it can get huge. After a little time it starts to get thorny too so it is painful to pull out. You can't kill it either with herbicides--everything around it dies but it just keeps on going. So, if you see it sprouting in your planting beds below the window boxes and you don't want it all over the place pull it up--quickly!!

  14. I love window boxes! They are on my to-do list for the outside of our house. Your's are gorgeous!

  15. I'm like you...I like to change them for fall, but this past summer I used the Bermuda Skies combo (yellow chiffon Superbells, Bermuda Beach Supertunias, and Sky Blue Laguna), PW brand. They have been in full sun and are gorgeous still. The first frost will be bittersweet...I'll hate to lose them, but I also love the look of winter kale.

  16. I love window boxes soooo much! I'm swooning over your inspiration photos too. Those sweet potato vines really provide great spillage (which I find thrilling). I want to add a big window box to our front dining room window, but have yet to do so. Had window boxes at our old house and the new owners don't even fill them - shameful!!!

  17. I'm in NWI and although no water ban, it's just been too hot for me to keep up with my window boxes...those pics have me semi-inspired now to try sprucing them up considering it will probably be decent until November at the rate this weather is going.

  18. Our house came with window boxes and I loved filling them every year. Since our front windows are in shade 90% of the time I would just put impatiens in them. They always did awesome and would provide a little privacy in our windows as they grew taller. Sadly, we had to take the window boxes down a few years ago. They were wooden and wood attracts carpenter ants. We had to take the boxes down before our house became dinner for the ants. I get my flower fix from potted annuals now, but like you, this year has been a bad year for mine.

  19. The earlier comment about the ferns and their spikes is true, they can be nasty but look so great. Just in case you aren't aware, you can winter over your asparagas ferns as a house plant and use them outside again next year. Saves a little money and look great on a fern stand or bookcase, etc inside.

  20. Your window boxes turned out so pretty!
    An option for more contrast against the shrubs below, use the black or purple potato vine. They do amazing and grow fast, plus the colours are fabulous! I use them a lot, and often mixed with coleus and pretty tuberous begonias.
    Can't wait to see the new ones you build!
    Debbie :)

  21. So pretty. I love the coleus - one of my fav things! Here in NY the potted plants look like its mid-october. Everything is half dead and sad looking. Your post makes me want to re-plant too!

  22. You did an amazing job! The plants are actually way easier to take care of!

  23. Hey Sarah! I've been a fan of your blog for about a year now and love that you live in central Indiana, too. After reading your post today about your window boxes though, I had to let you know that I live in Pendleton. I too love the garden section of our True Value store. I wasn't impressed the first year they were open (7 or 8 years ago), but every year after that, I have loved going there to shop for plants. I think they have gotten better with each year they have been open. By the way, I love how your window boxes turned out. I have wanted to put window boxes on a few of my windows, but other projects have come first. Thanks for all you DIY ideas. I just love that most of the places you shop are places that I can shop too. It's not like reading a blog by someone that lives in the South or near the West Coast who have all different stores than we do in Indiana. Hope your Bub is enjoying Kindergarten! Take care.

  24. Hi, Sarah! I am very fond of asparagus ferns. Several years ago, I had about 10 of them in hanging pots. I lived in an apartment but had a great covered balcony and it was like an asparagus forest! LOL A friend and co-worker offered to take care of them in his greenhouse over the winter and I had those same ferns for many years to come. I found that if you take the red berries off, you can stick them down in little pots of potting soil and grow more asparagus ferns! I did this for several years too.

  25. I don't have window boxes but do a lot of potted annuals. I too love coleus! They have so much color even without flowers and they stand up well to our windy area :-)

    I love the idea of using them with asparagus ferns! May have to try that next year. This year my coleus got paired with wave looks lovely!

    Thanks for all the eye candy for planting ideas!

  26. Your flower boxes look amazing! Thanks for reminding me about the filler, spiller, and thriller tip. I love asparagus ferns; they are so hardy and it's nice to be able to snip sprigs to add to indoor arrangements.

    Here's a great replacement for your window boxes (these will last a long time for you!):

    Hope that helps!

  27. I do not have window boxes . . . yet! After your post, and seeing all of the beautiful pictures, I think they are in my future! You definitely have an eye for this!

  28. I don't have any window boxes, but I think I'm gonna freshen up my porch pots with some fern and coleus for fall. The heat hasn't been nice to my others much either. Your boxes look beautiful!
    :) Kelly

  29. My window boxes have had a tough time with the drought - we watered but the petunias wilted from the heat. I cut them back and some revived. My coleus and sweet potato vine have done well. Your boxes look great for late summer. I have small pumpkins (fake from Hoblob) that I put in for fall!

  30. I love the flower box pictures and your home is beautiful.

  31. You have wonderful ideas for creating a beautiful home.

  32. I feel the same way about my pots...I just went back to fill a maternity leave and now I have no time to water...I think I need pumpkins now. It's time. Too bad you're not my neighbor. Besides the fact that you could help me give my decor a spiff...I'd hire you to replenish my flower pots. One can only dream! Your window boxes look great! I'm a sucker for window boxes too!!!

  33. Just a shout-out for your first picture in this post. I recognized it RIGHT AWAY as it is our hometown guy Keith Phelps who runs Country Farm and Home in Mifflinburg, PA. You should check out his creations!! He even hosts "Make and Take" classes which are incredible. You did an amazing job on the flower boxes--BEAUTIFUL!!

  34. Just a shout-out for your first picture in this post. I recognized it RIGHT AWAY as it is our hometown guy Keith Phelps who runs Country Farm and Home in Mifflinburg, PA. You should check out his creations!! He even hosts "Make and Take" classes which are incredible. You did an amazing job on the flower boxes--BEAUTIFUL!!

  35. I have the iron window boxes shown , I got them on ebay there was a man who made them , I love them ! Tammy

  36. wow those window boxes are fantastic. sorry about your plants. It's been hard everywhere with the water shortages.
    I"ve never had window boxes but have thought about having hubs make some, would add something nice to front of our old joint. Hard to grow things here so think maybe I'll stick with the hens and chicks. IT's very dry and hot here.Can't grow plants in ground well as we have so much alcali. Some window boxes will be something to look forward to for next year.

  37. Just takes my breath away! I have always loved window boxes and now have some great ideas for next year!

  38. I would love a window box , but the two windows on each side of the large window crank out and would hit the plants. Any suggestions. Would it look silly to just have the box under the large middle window??


If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here!

You can find our paint colors and links to items at the "Our Home" tab at the top of my site.

THANKS so much for reading!