Easy Recipes for Window Boxes in Shade

Don't let shade get you down. Create window boxes that beautify your landscape with our easy plant-by-number ideas.

By Kelly Roberson


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Impatiens, dichondra
1/17
Maximize the Power of Pink

    Alternate colors -- hot pink and pale pink, then more of the same -- for heightened visual interest in a long, narrow space.

    A. Impatiens 'Accent Pink' -- 4
    B. Impatiens 'Pink Swirl' -- 4
    C. Dichondra 'Silver Falls' -- 6

2/17
Go Bold with Foliage

    A mix of four types of coleus, each tall and in a unique color combination, make the foliage center stage in this window box.

    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

3/17
Create a Bold Mix

    More is often better in containers, particularly in arrangements such as this, where a variety of foliage, blooms, and plant sizes come into play.

    A. Impatiens 'Accent Pink Picotee' -- 2
    B. Hosta 'Golden Tiara' -- 1
    C. Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium 'Brise d'Anjou') -- 1
    D. Fuchsia 'Thalia' -- 2
    E. Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea 'Variegata') -- 3
    F. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Sweet Caroline Bronze') -- 1
    G. Plectranthus 'Zulu Wonder' -- 2
    H. Vinca major 'Variegata' -- 2

4/17
Transition Through the Seasons

    Impatiens are a container garden favorite, and for good reason: They're long bloomers, they have plenty of color variety, and the foliage stays a deep green. They're a great pick to provide summer color after springtime violas fade.

    A. Impatiens 'Dazzler Pink' -- 3
    B. Viola 'Sorbet Blue Babyface' -- 3

5/17
Add Drama to a Big Window

    Texture, depth, dimension: This container has it all. A riot of color and form fills this container, from the mini blooms of bacopa to the standout strawflowers.

    A. Bacopa (Sutera 'Bridal Bouquet') -- 2
    B. Torenia 'Catalina Blue' -- 1
    C. Calibrachoa 'Cabaret Purple' -- 2
    D. Shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana) -- 1
    E. Heliotrope (Heliotropium 'Marine') -- 2
    F. Strawflower (Bracteantha 'Moonlight') -- 1
    G. Daisy (Felicia 'Read's White') -- 2
    H. Bacopa (Sutera 'Snowstorm Giant Snowflake') -- 2

6/17
Add Color All the Way Up

    More delicate in bloom size than their close cousin the petunia, million bells still shine, particularly when mixed for complementary color.

    A. Impatiens 'Dazzler Red' -- 3
    B. Impatiens 'Dazzler Pink' -- 2

7/17
Use White to Add Elegance

    A single color -- here, white -- accented with variegated foliage is graceful and beautiful in a simple window box.

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

8/17
Dress Up a Dormer

    Try unusual mixes such as foliage-based kale, sedge, and the dark-colored stalks of coral flower in container plantings.

    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

9/17
Add Lots of Bold Color

    A swath of impatiens cuts a pretty picture; just a few accent plants -- in orange and white -- add a visual break to a simple window box.

    A. Impatiens (Impatiens 'Midnight Rose') -- 4
    B. Vinca (Catharanthus 'Cora White') -- 2
    C. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum 'Bells White') -- 1
    D. Tuberous begonia (Begonia 'Nonstop Orange') -- 1

10/17
Keep It Simple

    Looking for an easy way to arrange plants in a window box? Select three different varieties -- here, coleus for height, begonias for color, and ivy for length -- and place one along the back, the second in the middle, and the third on the edge.

    A. Wax begonia (Begonia 'Prelude Pink') -- 3
    B. Coleus (Solenstromum 'Dappled Apple') -- 2
    C. Ivy (Hedera helix 'Eva') -- 2

11/17
Soften the Box with Trailers

    Create an intriguing look by mixing a couple of different flowers that look alike. Here, geraniums and impatiens fill out the window box with pale pink blooms.

    A. Vinca major 'Variegata' -- 4
    B. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Bullseye Light Pink') -- 2
    C. Impatiens 'Accent Pink Picotee' -- 5

12/17
Create a Sense of Luxury

    Beauty sometimes equals simplicity, as with this container, filled with the blooms of double impatiens with their lush, roselike blooms

    A. Impatiens Fiesta Salsa Red -- 4

13/17
Fill It with Color

    The dainty petals of impatiens gather in this overflowing window box. For a full planting, add a few more plants to fill in any gaps.

    A. Impatiens 'Super Elfin Blush' -- 4
    B. Impatiens 'Pink Swirl' -- 4

14/17
Select Old-Fashioned Favorites

    Fringy foliage of deep green asparagus fern cascades below the lush blooms of begonias. The arrangement softens the exterior shake siding.

    A. Asparagus fern (Asparagus sprengeri) -- 2
    B. Tuberous begonia (Begonia 'Go-Go White') -- 3

15/17
Brighten a View

    Instead of three different plants, choose three different colors of the same plants. Here, red, white, and hot pink impatiens fill a window box and provide a more cheerful view than the wall of dogwood foliage.

    A. Impatiens 'Accent Watermelon' -- 3
    B. Impatiens 'Accent White' - 3
    C. Impatiens 'Accent Violet' - 3

16/17
Don't Forget the Small Spaces

    Top off a heady growth of coleus with smaller, trailing plants such as verbena and scaevola for a container that grows mostly down instead of up.

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

17/17
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