19 Colorful Window Box Ideas to Brighten Up Your Exterior

window box with grass croton and sweet potato vine
Photo: Brie Williams

These lush window box ideas, from resting on sills to hanging from railings, are easy ways to add color and style to a house. All you need is the right combination of plants to create a beautiful, long-lasting display. Use our plans to create maximum curb appeal.

01 of 19

Bold and Beautiful Foliage

variety of plants on wooden window sill letters
Mike Jensen

You can't beat coleus for brightly colored foliage. This mix of super-saturated leaf colors will provide a great view and give your home some eye-catching curb appeal all summer. If you can't find the exact varieties in this example, any mix of coleus with contrasting light and dark hues will do, as long as they're varieties that tolerate full sun.

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

02 of 19

Unbeatable Flower Power

variety of flowers and plants in window box letters
Janet Mesic Mackie

One of the best window box flowers for sun is the petunia. These vigorous annuals only need a little space and will happily bloom all season. Here, soft pink double petunias look stunning spilling out of a window box, along with a darker pink verbena and chartreuse sweet potato vine.

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

03 of 19

Go Big for a Large Window

Large window box Bacopa Torenia Calibrachoa Shrimp plant heliotrope strawflower daisy bacopa
Tom McWilliam

A big window needs a bold window box; here's a great example. This container has it all: tons of texture, depth, and dimension. A mix of easy-care annuals provides colorful flowers and foliage all season long.

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

04 of 19

Cascades of Color

variety of plants in white window planter letters
Tom McWilliam

The sweet potato vine is a no-fail trailing plant that's a great window box idea for sunny spots. It's a fast grower that adds a lush, cascading look to any window box. There are several varieties, but a sure standout is this golden selection, which combines effortlessly 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

05 of 19

Design Tip: Repeat Groups of Plants

ivy topiary coleus and caladium in window box
Brie Williams

Repetition is a foolproof way to create a cohesive look in a window box. For a sense of flow and order, this 15-foot-long box is planted with repeating groups of ivy ball topiary, chartreuse coleus, sweet potato vine, and white caladium. As a bonus, pale flowers and foliage seem to glow in the moonlight, so you can enjoy this combination longer into the evening.

06 of 19

Design Tip: Rocking a Railing

window box with grass croton and sweet potato vine
Brie Williams

For a brilliant burst of color, this window box idea hangs planters from your porch or deck railings. Mixing wispy purple fountain grass, bold croton, and trailing sweet potato vine provides masses of texture. Even though the box is tightly packed, each plant stands out, thanks to the varying shapes, sizes, and colors.

07 of 19

Railing Window Box Combination, Take Two

variety of flowers in planter on fence letters
D. Randolph Foulds

Here's another enchanting window box idea to decorate your deck. Because the 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 replace the pansies with a heat-loving plant, such as blue angelonia, to keep the color show 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

08 of 19

Design Tip: Use Your Home for Inspiration

yellow exterior with herbs and flowers in window box
Brie Williams

Set your window boxes apart by tying in elements of your home's facade. Here, yellow blooms match the home's exterior and white caladium foliage coordinates with the window frames. Herbs such as thyme, oregano, and mint fill in this window box, which hangs near an outdoor dining table.

09 of 19

Simple Is Beautiful

Window Box with letters
Kritsada Panichgul

This small container garden is overflowing with color and texture. Dark purple foliage from a sweet potato vine is the perfect partner for bright pink petunias and calibrachoas, while also accenting this home's dark blue shutters.

A: Superbells Trailing Rose Calibrachoa—2

B: Supertunia Vista Bubblegum Petunia—1

C: Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Blackie')—1

10 of 19

Cottage Garden in a Box

Pink flowers container garden with letters
Richard Felber

An all-white wall might seem as though it needs an explosion of color to dress it up, but you can create an equally impressive display by going with soft, subtle shades. Pink flowers are the perfect choice for adding cottage garden charm.

A: Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Blackie')—1

B: Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare)—1

C: Petunia 'Carpet Lilac'—2

D: Verbena 'Aztec Pink Magic'—1

E: Wishbone flower (Torenia 'Summer Wave Blue')—1

F: Salvia 'Lady in Red'—1

G: Petunia 'Ramblin White'—1

H: Petunia 'Pink Daddy'—1

11 of 19

Miniature Edible Garden

variety of plants in yellow wooden window box letters
Eric Roth

Imagine reaching out your kitchen window and grabbing a handful of edible flowers, herbs, or even vegetables. Edibles with ornamental appeal can do double duty in a window box. Select compact varieties, such as patio tomatoes bred for containers, 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

12 of 19

A Feast for the Senses

Window Box with numbers
Eric Roth

This lush arrangement also offers plenty of edible foliage and flowers to use in the kitchen. An assortment of herbs offers delicious flavors and aromas, while edible Johnny-jump-up flowers provide a splash of color among the greenery.

A: Spearmint (Mentha spicata)—3

B: Flat-leaf parsley (Petroselinum crispum)—2

C: Lavender cotton (Santolina chaemacyparissus)—2

D: Variegated lemon thyme (Thymus x citriodorus 'Variegata')—1

E: Johnny-jump-up (Viola tricolor)—3

F: Marjoram (Origanum majorana)—1

13 of 19

A Butterfly Buffet

butterfly garden window box plan
Peter Krumhardt

Butterflies love easy-growing, sun-loving flowers. This colorful window box full of bold purple and yellow blooms contains a variety of textures that will keep pollinators coming back all summer long. And parsley is a host plant for swallowtail butterfly larvae.

A: Verbena 'Aztec Purple'—1

B: Parsley (Petroselenium crispum)—4

C: Zinnia 'Profusion White'—2

D: Pentas 'New Look White' —1

E: Lantana 'Landmark Gold'—3

F: Calibrachoa 'Cabaret Purple'—2

14 of 19

Design Tip: Create Contrasts

gate window box with hibiscus ivy and moss
Brie Williams

Garden designers know the power of contrast. Whether you're contrasting colors, shapes, or sizes, plant an eye-catching combo of opposites to give your plantings more visual impact. In this garden gate container, the large, colorful leaves of red-orange copperleaf and variegated sea hibiscus reach upward, creating a pleasing contrast with more finely textured Spanish moss and trailing English ivy.

15 of 19

Mix and Match Flowers and Foliage

variety of plants in planter in garden letters
Richard Felber

Playing with different shapes and colors of flowers and foliage adds excitement. Here, grassy-looking flax lily leaves appear to burst out of clouds of starry white zinnia flowers. The paler stripes of green on each flax lily leaf are echoed by trailing sweet potato vine, with the perfect lime green hue to contrast with the hot pink blooms of impatiens.

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

16 of 19

A Synergy of Textures and Colors

variety of plants in wooden window box letters
Ann VanderWiel Wilde

The silvery leaves of plectranthus gives this window box some chunky yet graceful texture, creating a dynamic contrast with the delicate-looking blooms of the begonia and lantana. Tiny leaves of trailing creeping Jenny spill over the side to further enhance the effect.

A. Plectranthus argentatus 'Silver Shield'—2

B. Dragon Wing pink begonia—2

C. Lantana 'Landmark Gold'—2

D. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)—3

17 of 19

Design Tip: Think Outside the (Window) Box

rustic window flower box with succulents
Greg Scheidemann

No one's ever said a window box has to be an actual box, nor that it must involve a window. Get creative and express your style and vision. For example, this rustic window box is comprised of a hen nester and vintage farm containers that are filled with shasta daisies, annual vinca, and dwarf gerbera daisies. Succulents, such as hens-and-chicks, echeveria, and sedum, along with trailing bacopa, round out the look.

18 of 19

Try It on a Trellis

variety of plants on wooden trellis letters
Bill Stites

Trellises are a great window box idea to give your deck, patio, or yard a little privacy. If you can't grow vines on your trellis, try creating a colorful display with a lightweight window box. This moss-lined trough 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

19 of 19

Make a Mock Window

variety of flowers in wooden planter letters
Elvin Mcdonald

Try this playful window box idea when 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 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

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