The best window box is the one you can't see. Whatever you planted in there should be so happy that it cascades down the wall to spill onto the sidewalk, threatening to trip passersby. Here's how to get the look:
Image via Stately.
Secret No. 1: Pick the right combination of plants. Coleus, sweet potato vine, and caladium: They like a little shade, which makes them the perfect combination to plant beneath a balcony or eave.
Secret No. 2: Water them every day.
Above: Just try to stop sweet potato vine after it gets going. The chartreuse shock of Ipomoea 'Bright Ideas Lime' complements purple and red shades; consider pairing it with Ipomoea 'Bright Ideas Rust' (both are $10.95 per plant, from White Flower Farm). Image via Katie's Flowers.
Above: Coleus is a tropical plant; its range of colors is exuberant.
Secret No. 3: For a compact variety, we prefer the deep burgundy of Coleus 'Garnet Robe' (Above), with leaves edged in chartreuse; it will thrive in a window box and is $8.95 per plant at White Flower Farm. But if you were leaning more toward magenta, we totally understand; Coleus 'Stained Glassworks' is a trailing variety to consider ($8.95 per plant at White Flower Farm).
Above: The intense pink and green shades of Caladium 'Carolyn Wharton' show best in shade; it's $11.95 apiece from White Flower Farm.
Secret No. 4: Fertilize your window box plants regularly to keep them growing.
Above: A simple Pine Window Box is unfinished; paint it to match your trim. Prices range from $36 to $54 at Jamali, depending on length.
Above: No need to paint these. Teak Windowboxes come in a variety of lengths and depths; prices range from $55.95 to $137 from Gardeners.
Secret No. 5: Mount your window box on sturdy brackets that can accommodate the weight of your plants as they grow.
Above: Teak Windowbox Brackets come in three sizes, to accommodate window boxes with depths of up to 12 inches; prices range from $14.95 to $19.95 per pair from Gardeners.
This is an update of a post published May 1, 2012.