Flower Boxes: Transform Any Space with These Decorative Planters

Flowers in a black window planter box

Flower boxes are the perfect solution to enliven any space indoors or out. Just think about it.

Today’s design style focuses on natural things. So what better way to bring the outdoors indoors than with a flower box? Plant one with herbs for ready access to homegrown greenery that can boost any meal’s flavor. Or create an ensemble of your favorite plants or flowers.

Want to make your patio or deck lush to create an oasis where you can escape it all? Adding a railing planter with trailing plants like sweet potato vines or creep jenny generates a bit of privacy. Want to create a wooded ambiance? Use ferns and miniature conifers in a patio planter for some added greenery.

Envious of your neighbor’s property curb appeal? Add a couple of planters to your front porch, accompanied by flower window boxes. You’ll be amazed at what living art can do to enhance your home’s look.

Types of Flower Boxes

When someone says flower box to you, what do you think? For many, a window flower box jumps to mind. For others, it could be a flower container on their front porch or a pot on their patio. And that’s precisely the point – there isn’t one type of flower box, though typically, they are rectangular.

Let’s take a look at some flower box types.

Windowsill Planters

Windowsill planter with white flowersThe name says it all. You use these decorative planters on a windowsill. And they have any number of uses.

If you love cooking, consider using a windowsill planter in a kitchen window. You can fill it with the herbs you commonly use when cooking. So rather than rushing out to a store to get them or walking outside to your garden, they’ll be at arm’s length.

Use one as a windowsill flower box if you aren't a chef. Fill one with some of your favorite flowers to bring cheer to your living room or den. Plant hyacinths to signal spring’s beginning and enjoy their sweet fragrance.

Or create a mini-landscape. If you like vacationing in Arizona, add succulents or cacti to a windowsill planter to evoke memories of your last family vacation. A sunny windowsill will keep them thriving.

Railing Planters

White railing planter with pink and purple flowersLike most homeowners, you have railings somewhere around your house, indoors and outdoors. So why not give them some excitement?

If you have a railing overlooking your living room, plant it with greenery and trailing plants like ivy, inch plant, or fuchsia. So rather than looking at a boring wood railing, you can feast your eyes on living art.

Railing planters are great for adding curb appeal to your front porch. If the location is sunny, add some geraniums, marigolds, petunias, and other sun-loving varieties for a color burst. Begonias and impatiens will brighten a shady area.

And finally, spruce up your wooden deck with these decorative planters. A deck railing planter can house everything from garden herbs and other edible plants to flowers and dwarf shrubs.

Some manufacturers like Root & Vessel make installing railing planters a breeze. Their planters use a straddle design that fits securely over standard 2” x 4” or 2” x 6” railings. No tools are required!

Patio Flower Boxes

Black Ella Flower box planter with purple flowersLandscape your patio with decorative flower boxes. You can use them with other planters to create contrasting shapes and sizes that add visual interest to a space.

For example, place a flower box before some square and round planters. The lower planter and the other taller planters will add depth and texture to an otherwise empty patio space.

Patio flower boxes can incorporate colorful flowers to brighten an area of your deck or patio. For a more wooded, natural effect, you can also use cooler greenery like ferns, coral bells, hostas, or liriope.

Flower Window Boxes

Sage green flower box with colorful flowers

Flower window boxes give depth and character to your home’s décor by drawing attention to its façade. They also create a more inviting space while adding a bit of privacy.

Aside from their curb appeal value, flower window boxes give you something natural to look at from inside your house. After all, why look outside your window only to see a series of row homes when you can glimpse nature with greenery? And if you plant varieties like lavender, you’ll also enjoy the pleasant smell as a breeze enters the room.

Unlike the other flower boxes mentioned, flower window boxes have size considerations. They look best when they are the same size as your window or slightly larger. It’s generally best to have the window box protrude up to one-third of your shutters for homes with shutters.

The good news is that flower window boxes come in a wide range of lengths, with 30- and 36-inch sizes readily available to match the length of most traditional style windows.

Window Planters with Brackets

Black window box planter with bracketsWith a lot of flower boxes, you have to come up with a solution for mounting them. That means buying a bracket of some type or creating a homemade solution.

You can eliminate that extra effort by getting a window planter with brackets. You get a flower box plus the bracket system in one handy package. Mount the bracket to the box, attach it to the window, and you’re ready.

Look for a window planter with plenty of depth; 12 inches is the preference. Many annuals and perennials have deep root systems – coneflowers, salvia, zinnias, and petunias can throw extensive roots.

That added space gives them room to spread out and access moisture. Speaking of moisture, you might also want to get a self-watering flower box. It reduces the time you spend watering. Equally important, plants have access to a ready water supply when needed. That helps them grow bigger and stronger.

Root & Vessel, for example, has a window planter with brackets that fits the bill. The planter is 12 inches deep, self-watering, and UV-protected. The planter’s reservoir holds nearly four gallons of water. So you can enjoy your plants and not the tedious task of watering.

What to Plant in Flower Boxes

As they say, the world is your oyster. Your main governing factor when choosing plants for your flower box is sunlight.

You must select sun-loving plants for areas receiving at least six hours of sunlight. Conversely, you’ll need to plant shade-loving varieties for plants requiring four hours or less of sunlight.

Sun-loving plants include:

  • Geraniums
  • Petunias
  • Zinnias
  • Dahlias
  • Lavender
  • Miniature Roses
  • Rosemary
  • Salvia
  • Marigolds
  • Basil

Shade-loving plants include:

  • Astilbe
  • Ferns
  • Hosta
  • Impatiens
  • Pansy
  • Begonia
  • Fuchsia

You can use a monochromatic approach using flowers of one color. Or you can plant your flower box using contrasting or complementary colors for a high impact.

So, let’s touch on how to plant a flower box.

How to Plant a Flower Box

Let’s start with your planter’s size. Length isn’t much of a concern unless you’re trying to match a flower window box with your window. But width and depth are.

White flower box liner with pink flowers on railing post

At a minimum, use a flower box at least 8” deep and wide. Better still, 10 inches gives your plants’ roots more space to grow. And that means healthier plants that will flower more and produce more greenery, which is especially important for an herb planter.

Because you’ll be planting in a contained space, choose plants with similar water and light needs. Otherwise, some of your plants will flourish while others will wilt away.

Next, layer your plants. You’ll want varying plant heights. Otherwise, you’ll have a wall of plants with no distinguishing features. You’ll also want to consider plant heights so they stay in perspective with your flower box.

For example, you don’t want to use plants that will grow four or five feet high. They’ll dwarf the planter and likely wind up bending over and breaking.

So, choose some taller plants to serve as the backdrop for the flower box. Then, fill in between those plants with shorter, more compact plants. Finally, in front, you can add trailing plants.

This layered approach creates dimension and depth in the planter. It also allows each plant to stand on its merits without being overwhelmed by others.

Plant Spacing in Flower Boxes

It’s common for gardeners to space container plants more tightly than when planted in the ground. The upside is that it fills the flower box more rapidly, so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor more quickly.

Brown Countryside flower box on top of a tray

Just remember that plants will grow three to four times larger by the time they mature.

The trick is to avoid cramping things too much to get the full impact of each plant. So what’s a good rule of thumb?

Proven Winners is recognized as one of the top plant brands. Here’s what they advise:

  • Plant three or four plants in 10 to 12-inch planters.
  • Plant four to six plants in 14 to 16-inch planters.
  • Plant six to eight plants in 16 to 20-inch planters.

This approach effectively allows between three and four inches of space between plants in your flower box.

Plant spacing aside, you’ll also want to use a quality potting mix. And equally important, make sure your flower box has adequate drainage.

If you’re planting an indoor flower box, you’ll want to consider using a flower box tray to collect that drainage water. Otherwise, make sure your planter has one built in. After all, you don’t want water damage on your windowsills or other wood surfaces.

Count on Root & Vessel for All Your Decorative Planters

Black Root & Vessel decorative planters

Our decorative planters fit any gardening style. Plus, you can count on them to last for years.

Our Ella flower boxes are made from Artstone, featuring a high-grade blend of resin and stone. Best of all, they’re self-watering, using a sub-irrigated reservoir to keep your plants hydrated.

Like these flower boxes, our resin planters are waterproof and UV-resistant, so they won’t flinch at anything mother nature throws them. They also have an attractive, one-of-a-kind marbled look that works with any home décor.

You can select from flower boxes, round planters, square planters, wall planters, and other styles.