10 Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Gardening

You might not believe it, but you were born with a green thumb. It may have gone untended for a while, but it's there waiting for you to nudge it awake. Put away your theory of being a plant killer, that anything dies under your care. Forget those nagging thoughts of where your garden will live or when you'll find the time, it's there somewhere. It doesn't have to cost a fortune and you'll get more than you give. So, here are 10 tips for conquering your fear of gardening:

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Popular in Gardening

Easy, Beautiful Window Boxes for Sun

Create window boxes that add beauty to your home, garage, or shed with these easy plant-by-number ideas.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Dress Up a Dormer

      Window boxes are the perfect way to make dormers look extra special. Create lots of season-long interest with a mix of profuse bloomers, such as this verbena, and unusual foliage, such as flowering kale and sedge. That way you can enjoy the beautiful leaves and their distinct textures if the flowers take a break.

      A. Sedge (Carex siderosticha 'Variegata') -- 2
      B. Kale (Brassica oleracea 'Osaka') -- 2
      C. Verbena 'Tuscany Violet with Eye' -- 2
      D. Coral bells (Heuchera 'Pewter Moon') -- 2

    • Go Bold with Foliage

      You can't beat coleus for gorgeously colored foliage. This mix of super-saturated leaf colors will give you a great view out -- and give your home wonderful curb appeal -- all summer long. Tip: Coleus also grows well indoors; take cuttings of your favorite varieties before the end of the season and treat them like houseplants so you can enjoy them all year long.

      A. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Stained Glassworks Copper') -- 1
      B. Lantana 'Dallas Red' -- 1
      C. Bear grass (Xerophyllum tenax) -- 2
      D. Coleus (Solenostemon 'True Red') -- 1
      E. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Stained Glassworks Big Blond') -- 1
      F. Licorice vine (Helichrysum petiolare) -- 1

    • Pick Easy-Growing Plants

      Create a "wow" look in your window boxes with double petunias. Their ruffled flowers create a lot more interest than their more traditional cousins. Enjoy their elegant blooms on the plant or snip a couple and float them in a glass of water for a wonderful little accent or summer centerpiece.

      A. Petunia 'Ruffle Pink' -- 2
      B. Verbena 'Aztec Raspberry' -- 3
      C. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Frilly Milly') -- 1
      D. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Marguerite') -- 2
      E. Angelonia 'Angelface White' -- 1

    • Add Drama to a Big Window

      A big window needs a bold window box -- and here's a great example. This container has it all: tons of texture, depth, and dimension. It's a riot of color that'll help your home feel like it's worth a million bucks. And it's bold enough that it doesn't get overshadowed by the size of the window.

      A. Bacopa (Sutera 'Bridal Bouquet') -- 4
      B. Torenia 'Catalina Blue' -- 1
      C. Calibrachoa 'Cabaret Purple' -- 2
      D. Shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana) -- 1
      E. Heliotrope (Heliotropium 'Marine') -- 2
      F. Daisy (Felicia 'Read's White') -- 2
      G. Licorice vine (Helichrysum petiolare) -- 1

    • Keep It Full

      Sweet potato vine is a no-fail trailer that's perfect for sun or shade. It's a quick grower that adds a lush, cascading look and softens the window box it grows from. There are a number of varieties, but the standout is this golden selection that looks great combined with practically everything.

      A. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Margarita') -- 2
      B. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum 'Floral Showers Rose Pink') -- 2
      C. Browallia 'Blue Bell' -- 1
      D. Pentas 'Graffiti Pink' -- 1
      E. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum 'Floral Showers Apricot') -- 1

    • Use White to Add Elegance

      All-white window boxes are among the most elegant you can create. They're also some of the easiest -- since you don't need to worry about your color choices working with each other. After all, white looks good with everything -- especially itself.

      A. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Orbit White') -- 1
      B. Ivy (Hedera helix 'Glacier') -- 4
      C. Bacopa (Sutera 'Snowstorm') -- 3
      D. Impatiens 'Xtreme White' -- 2

    • Another Take on White

      Take an all-white theme to the next level with silvery foliage. From silvery licorice vine to the artemisia shown here, silver foliage adds something special to your planting. Bonus: Light colors such as silver and white show up best at night, and seem to glow at dusk so you can enjoy them longer into the night.

      A. Artemisia 'Silver Broacade' -- 2
      B. Baby's breath (Gypsophila elegans) -- 1
      C. Daisy (Argyranthemum 'Madeira White') -- 2
      D. Stock (Matthiola 'Harmony White') -- 3
      E. Nicotiana (Nicotiana 'Saratoga White') -- 4
      F. Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum) -- 2

    • Enjoy a Pastel Color Theme

      Like a soft rain, delicate blue lobelia flows over the side of this window box. Many types of lobelia have a tendency to fade out during the hottest summer days, so pair them with another heat-loving blooming trailer such as cascading petunia or million bells (also called calibrachoa) to keep your display looking good all season long.

      A. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Bullseye Light Pink') -- 2
      B. Petunia 'Supertunia Bermuda Beach' -- 1
      C. Lobelia 'Riviera Blue Eyes' -- 2

    • Dress Up Your Deck

      Take the idea of a window box and put it on your deck rails for a brilliant burst of color. For an outstanding all-put-together look, use the same plantings on your deck as you do beneath your windows. Your friends will love your creativity.

      A. Petunia 'Surfinia Patio Hot Pink' -- 1
      B. Salvia 'Victoria Blue' -- 1
      C. Geranium (Pelargonium 'StarStruck Lavender Pink') -- 1
      D. Mum (Chrysanthemum 'Brunswick') -- 2
      E. Dracaena marginata -- 1
      F. Vinca major 'Variegata' -- 1

    • 10 of 22

      Deck Planting, Take Two

      Here's another enchanting planting to decorate your deck or your home. Because pansy is a cool-season plant, you have the opportunity to give your window box a new look as the seasons change. Don't be afraid to swap it out and replace it with a heat-loving plant such as blue angelonia to keep the drama going into summer.

      A. Pansy (Viola 'Delta Beaconsfield') -- 3
      B. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum 'Fordhook Favorites') -- 1
      C. Lobelia 'Riviera Midnight Blue' -- 1
      D. Dracaena marginata -- 1

    • 11 of 22

      Select Fun Foliage

      We've always thought grasses have a fun, festive look -- and love to use them to create extra-special plantings. Here, grassy-looking flax lily's shape and zinnia's starry white flowers create the look of fireworks to give you a top-of-the-class container combo.

      A. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Margarita') -- 2
      B. Flax lily (Dianella tasmanica 'Variegata') -- 3
      C. Zinnia haageana 'Star White' -- 3
      D. Salvia guarantica 'Black and Blue' -- 2
      E. New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens 'Sonic Sweet Purple') -- 3

    • 12 of 22

      Look to Your Home for Inspiration

      Set your window boxes apart by tying in elements of your home's architectural details. Here, for example, the window box blends seamlessly with shutters, while the salmon-shaded geranium blooms play in with the buff colors of the flagstone wall.

      A. Asparagus fern (Asparagus sprengeri) -- 2
      B. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Fantasia Pink Shell') -- 3
      C. Fuchsia 'Angel Earrings Cascading' -- 3
      D. Torenia 'Catalina Blue' -- 2
      E. Salvia 'Salsa Burgundy' -- 1

    • 13 of 22

      Try It on a Trellis

      Trellises are a great way to give your deck, patio, or yard a little privacy. If you're not able to grow vines on your trellising, try creating a colorful display with a light window box. This moss-lined basket is filled with colorful plants that, when placed strategically, give you a double dose of screening.

      A. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Margarita') -- 1
      B. Impatiens 'Fiesta Rose' -- 2
      C. Marigold (Tagetes 'Durango Yellow') -- 1
      D. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Designer Cherry') -- 1
      E. New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens 'Sonic Cherry') -- 1
      F. Wax begonia (Begonia 'Prelude Scarlet') -- 1
      G. Viola 'Sorbet Plum Velvet' -- 1

    • 14 of 22

      Enjoy a Harvest

      What could be better than reaching out to your window box and grabbing a handful of edible flowers, herbs, or vegetables for supper? Try edibles with ornamental appeal for two times the pleasure. Tip: Look for dwarf varieties, such as determinate tomatoes, so your plantings don't grow out of control.

      A. Pansy (Viola 'Matrix' series) -- 3
      B. Scented geranium (Pelargonium 'Rober's Lemon Rose') -- 1
      C. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum 'Alaska') -- 2
      D. Everbearing strawberry (Fragaria 'Ozark Beauty') -- 3
      E. Bell pepper (Capsicum 'Purple Belle') -- 1
      F. Johnny jump up (Viola tricolor) -- 3

    • 15 of 22

      Choose Classics

      Petunias and geraniums are no-fail choices for hot, sunny spots -- so fill your window boxes with their colorful blooms and know you can enjoy their display of nonstop flowers all summer long. Tip: Pay attention to the variety; many newer petunias and geraniums bloom more and with less care than older selections.

      A. Ivy (Hedera helix 'Eva') -- 2
      B. Petunia 'Surfinia Patio Hot Pink' -- 1
      C. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Orbit White') -- 2

    • 16 of 22

      Add Color to a White Wall

      An all-white wall may seem like it needs an explosion of color to dress it up, but you can create an equally impressive display by going with soft, subtle shades. Petunias and geraniums are the perfect choice for adding color either way -- let your personality be your guide.

      A. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Orbit Pink') -- 3
      B. Swan River daisy (Brachyscome iberidifolia 'Lemon Mist') -- 3
      C. Petunia Surfinia Patio White -- 2

    • 17 of 22

      Mix Foliage Tones

      Be bold: Experiment with fun new plants for a flashy display of color and interest. We love how this window box has mixed time-tested flowering favorites like verbena and calibrachoa with more unusual selections featuring beautiful foliage.

      A. Verbena 'Peaches and Cream' -- 4
      B. Calibrachoa 'Terra Cotta' -- 2
      C. Flowering maple (Abutilon thompsonii 'Pictum') -- 1
      D. Flowering maple (Abutilon 'Bella Deep Coral') -- 1
      E. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Occold Shield') -- 1
      F. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) -- 1

    • 18 of 22

      Grow Up and Down

      Garden designers know the power of contrast. Whether you're contrasting colors, shapes, or sizes, make an eye-catching combo of opposites. Here, plant habits create the contrast. As a golden coleus reaches for the sky, trailing osteospermum and verbena grow with gravity.

      A. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Between the Lines') -- 2
      B. Osteospermum 'Serenity White' -- 1
      C. Verbena 'Aztec Pearl' -- 2

    • 19 of 22

      Embrace Country Style

      If you love country style, you can't beat the simplicity of a rustic window box filled with a few lush plants. Here, for example, purple verbena and gold licorice plant make a striking contrast against the peeling red paint on the walls. Tip: Other ways to create the country look are to pick plants with a loose, open habit and use old-fashioned or recycled containers.

      A. Vinca major 'Wojo's Gem' -- 2
      B. Verbena 'Aztec Purple Magic' -- 3
      C. Calibrachoa 'Cabaret Rose' -- 1
      D. Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare 'Limelight') -- 2

    • 20 of 22

      Make a Mock Window

      Be playful with window boxes and enjoy them even if you don't have a window. This weathered box made of planking goes vertical with a vintage window frame attached to the back. The window frame is a perfect trellis for a tropical mandevilla. Bonus: Attach this to a fence and insert a mirror behind the window frame for even more appeal and the illusion of more space.

      A. Mandevilla 'Alice du Pont' -- 1
      B. Aster alpinus 'Beechwood' -- 3
      C. Aster alpinus 'Dunkle Schone' -- 3

    • 21 of 22

      Lighten a Dark Wall

      Make your home sing -- even if has dark or faded shutters and siding like this one -- with a colorful window box. This one does double duty thanks to a scented geranium; its soft scent is a great incentive to open the window and enjoy some fresh air. Tip: Other plants that offer great scents include heliotrope, lavender, rosemary, and sweet alyssum.

      A. Wax begonia (Begonia 'Bada Boom Pink') -- 2
      B. Verbena 'Tapien Plum Frost' -- 2
      C. Ivy (Hedera helix 'Eva') -- 2
      D. Scented geranium (Pelargonium 'Lady Plymouth') -- 1
      E: Thyme (Thymus 'Argenteus') -- 2

    • 22 of 22
      Next Slideshow Great Containers for Gardening

      Great Containers for Gardening

      If you love planting container gardens but don't know here to start, check out our slide show of 25 recipes you can follow for success. Find your perfect container for gardening in our collection of container garden recipes.
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