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Decorating with Window Boxes: Window Dressings

There are many ways one can decorate windows and one such way is with window boxes. But you may wonder: "What are the rules for decorating with window boxes and does it matter which way the window faces?" Obviously if you're working with plants and flowers, you do need to pay attention to which direction your window faces. So hopefully these window decorating tips will be helpful to you.

There are four general directions your window could face: north, south, east, west. But to break it down more easily, let's just discuss it from the stand point of whether the window is sunny most of the time or shady most of the time. From there I'll give some tips for you if time is short to devote to maintenance and a brief planting primer. Window dressings can really add a lot to the perceived value of your home, especially when viewed from the curb.

For Sunny Windows
  • A sunny window is great for bright showy flowers, which need six hours of direct sunlight between 10 AM and 6 PM.
  • Your choice should be reliable bloomers.
  • Use green foliage as a back drop. Choose a variety to add textue.
  • Water when the soil feels dry down to 1" from the top.
  • Daily watering is usually needed but it depends on rainfall and the season of the year.
  • Fertilize with a balanced water soluble fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.
  • Pinch off spent blooms so you'll get more flowers.
For Shady Windows
  • Choose plants with foliage (not flowers) that can survive in partial sun or shade.
  • Choose colorful leaves. Coleus comes in a variety of colorful leaves.
  • Water daily during hot summer days.
  • The rest of the time, check it daily and water when the soil is dry down to the top 1" of soil.
  • To keep plants looking lush and full, pinch off new flower spikes and stem tips every two weeks.
When Maintenance Time is short
  •  Go for succulents instead of regular plants. These desert loving plants can survive with very little care. They love sun and won't dry out because their leaves are full of water.
  • Choose plants with a similar moisture need.
  • Choose plants for color, size and texture varieties.
  • Rosettes make great focal points for your design.
  • You can even add a trailing succulent that looks much like a variegated ivy.
  • You'll create interest by color variations and size variations.
  • Water them infrequently.
  • Check the soil every two weeks.
  • Water only when all of the soil is completely dry.
  • Be sure to use a fast-draining, soilless potting mix just for succulents an cacti.
Brief Planting Primer
  • Prepare the soil properly.
  • Pour potting mix into a bucket and add water until soil feels like a damp sponge.
  • Stir in a time-release organic fertilizer (Dynamite).
  • Add moisture-retaining polymer (Soil Moist).
  • Cover drainage holes with coffee filters.
  • Fill 2/3rds of box with soil.
  • Arrange plants still in their pots on top of soil to work out the design.
  • Tip them out of their containers.
  • Plant from the center outward.
  • Add more soil around the roots as you go.
  • When finished the final soil level should be 1" below the top of the box.
  • Water lightly at the base of the plants to settle them and eliminate air pockets.
  • Place box on window sil or hang below it.
  • Water thoroughly until the drainage holes start to drip.
  • Enjoy your creation.
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Barbara Jennings is author of 10 decorating books: Decor Secrets Revealed, Rearrange It, Home Staging for Profit, Home Staging for Yourself, Arrange Your Stuff, Advanced Redesign, Pro Art Consulting, Wall Groupings: The Art of Arranging Art and Photos, The Art of Hanging Art, Great Parties! Great Homes!

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