Embrace Summertime With the 29 Best Flowers for Window Boxes

updated Mar 5, 2022
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Credit: Jen Masucci

Few things add an instant pop of beauty to your home’s exterior like a window box. No matter what type of window box flowers or greenery you choose, the colors are sure to elevate your home and make people smile when they pass by. Of course, the perfect window box will take some planning and maintenance. Consider this your complete guide to adding a beautiful window box to the windows of your home: it’s a relatively simple but hugely impactful upgrade that can be done no matter the season. 

What Should a Window Box Be Made Of? 

Naomi Robinson, founder of Houseplant Authority, an online plant care website, outlines some pros and cons of common window box materials: 

  • Wood. “Wood is the most traditional material used to make a window box and, in my opinion, it’s also the best. You should be careful about choosing a more resistant wood, like cedar or teak, as a softer wood like pine can rot due to moisture when kept outside,” Robinson says. “Wood tends to be a cost effective, attractive and durable option.”
  • Terra cotta. “Terra cotta is beautiful, but it can be prone to cracking in freezing temperatures. It’s also much heavier than wood, which can make it difficult to place it back on the window after setting up the box on the ground.”
  • Metal. “Metal window boxes are also a durable, if not more expensive, option,” Robinson says. “Just look out for rust and dents, which are common.”

What to Know Before Setting Up a Window Box

First, the hardiness zone you live in helps determine what plants will thrive in your environment, so check to see where your area falls. And think about the amount of sun your boxes will get: “Consider where your window box will be facing and the direction of sun it receives,” Robinson says. “A plant that prefers full sun will become overly leggy in a north-facing window box, while a different plant that thrives in lower light will get burned if your window box is south-facing.”

Petunias, geraniums, and begonias are classic window box flowers, but you may be surprised to find options like roses, tulips, and hydrangeas being used in these set-ups now too. Maintenance, soil, and watering certainly depend on the plants you choose, but there are a few good general rules of thumb. Soil should offer good drainage, and be careful about exposing too much water to the walls your window boxes are attached to. When it comes to watering, setting up self-watering planters or writing down a schedule is smart, as hoses and sprinklers don’t always reach these types of planters.

So below, all the window box inspiration you need.

1. Box of Boxwoods

Create a stately look with tiny, well-trimmed boxwoods in your window box. This lovely London home chose tight ball-shaped pruning for an elegant look that matches with the home’s aesthetic. 

2. Black Beauty

And for a different yet equally attractive way to display boxwoods, opt for a slightly shaggier look with a dramatic black window box like this New York City residence

3. Mighty Monochromatic

Dainty white petunias blend effortlessly with the white home in this pretty window box. Tone on tone is one of our favorite design ideas for window box flowers.

Credit: @vgboston

4. Bright and Cheery

After a long Boston winter, this bright and beautiful window box is just the dose of cheer you’ll need. An expert mix of bold colors and pretty greenery, set in an elegant black box makes the perfect choice for window box flowers. 

5. Plants on Display

This stunning window box arrangement leaves the actual window box completely out of view. Purple petunias spill over the sides of the box, anchoring dramatic greens in a variety of hues. The effect is magical.

(Image credit: @closedbyansley)

6. Cyclamens, sweet alyssum, and more

This beautiful Charleston, South Carolina home features stunning window boxes filled with cyclamens, sweet alyssum, boxwoods, and licorice fern.

(Image credit: @charlestonqueen)

7. No sun? No problem

This north-facing window of a Charleston home gets hardly any direct sunlight, which can be challenging when choosing window box flowers. Luckily, hydrangeas still thrive. 

“A common method to follow is to incorporate a thriller, filler, and spiller into your window boxes,” homeowner Nicole tells Apartment Therapy. “So, the hydrangeas are my thriller. I have two fillers…asparagus ferns and dusty Miller, and for my spiller I chose lamium and creeping Jenny.”

8. Go green

Window box flowers aren’t the only thing you can display: greenery can look just as great. This Charleston window box has lemon cypress, a tractor seat plant, and dusty Miller. Have you noticed yet that Charleston is known for its window boxes?

9. Embrace color

This window box is so cheerful with daffodils, pansies, tulips, primrose and alyssum. When it comes to adorning the outside of your home with flowers, don’t be afraid to embrace color.

Credit: Jen Masucci

10. Bright and Vibrant Floral Mix

A mixture of tulips, pansies, and small daffodils make the window box photographed by Jen Masucci for Philly Doorways‘ Instagram extra colorful and eye-catching. The different levels of flowers and bold mix of shades create a quintessential springtime look.

Credit: Laura Harley

11. Monochrome Color Palette Window Box

Choosing a single color and building a window box from there can make a dramatic impression in much the same way as matching your florals to the building behind them.  This picture, courtesy of Laura Harley, shows different textures of flowers between the hydrangeas, and spiller flowers prevent anything from feeling too dull.

Credit: Sally Evans

12. Larger Than Life Blooms

These gorgeous window boxes from Sally Evans of the Little Paddock Cottage, feature a mix of larger-sized geraniums. Because the blooms are bigger, not as many window box flowers are needed to create a statement. These in particular add a bit of fairytale whimsy to this cozy home.

Credit: Camilla

13. Trailing and Upright Flowers

The varied colors and sizes of the pink geraniums and trailing white petunias in this image from Camilla give a nice layered effect. Switching up the heights and widths of your window box flowers is a surefire way to spice things up. 

14. Sharp and Sleek Black Window Box

A mix of different textures, colors, and shapes make this box from Rouvalis Flowers a feast for the senses. Pink azaleas, pink heather, pansies, blue hydrangea, and pussy willows are just a few of the flowers that make up this fantastic arrangement. Trying mixing a random variety of window box flowers—they might blend together better than you think.

Credit: Laura Harley

15. Shape Mixing Window Boxes

The petunias mix beautifully with the sharper foliage that’s layered behind them in this picture from Laura Harley. Playing with different shapes makes for a window box that’ll always be fun to look at.

16. Keeping It Minimal

Emma of White Orchard Interiors curated this delicately chic window box. For fans of neutrals and minimalist design styles, sticking with a natural box and sprinkling in a few simple plants like ivy is a great way to continue your style outdoors.

17. Greenery Filled Window Box

This gem found in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn by Annie Diamond proves that flowers aren’t the only showstoppers in the window box world. Variegated ivy, variegated grass, and cedar are a few of the green fronds that make this arrangement so stunning.

18. Choose a Color Based on the Season

Cole Williams’ pretty planter contains orange and white petunias, marigolds, and summer snapdragons among some pretty dark green trailing vines. The colors featured in these window box flowers make this a perfect assortment of blooms for spring and summer. When fall rolls around, you can replace flowers with foliage and even gourds and pumpkins.

19. Rainbow Assortment Window Box

Tiny to mid-sized blooms in all different colors make up this pretty box captured by The Charleston Lens. A wide selection of hues will easily add a punch of color to your home’s exterior.

20. Contrasting Light and Dark

Alex Thornton shot these gorgeous window boxes that contain a variety of flowers including lobelias and petunias. The darker colors of the plants are the perfect complement to the light blue shutters.

21. Faux Flower Window Boxes

Totally understandable if you just did a double take. These stunning window boxes from Shannon Morscheck from Living with Lady’s photo contain faux flowers, which make maintenance so much easier—no green thumb required.

22. Bold and Bright

You can never go wrong with vibrant colors for window box flowers. The geraniums in this picture from Adorn Planters are a perfect example of how to use bright hues in a window box—these really pop against the dark window frames and light yellow walls.

23. Overflowing Trailing Plants

An abundance of lush and bushy flowers can solve for a bare-looking window box. Tracy from Plaids and Poppies shows how wildly flowing blooms can boost the springtime and summer vibes of an outdoor area.

24. Choose One Type of Bloom

This Old Cape Barn shows how even one type of flower can still look visually stunning. This scattering of plum purple Blue Moon tulips are dramatic, but far from moody thanks to the white window boxes and different blue shades on the house.

25. Lively Colors and Extra Greenery

Vivid green sweet potato vines, Supertunias, and cleomes are what make this punchy window box so stunning. Mary Ann of Grace in This Space selected a gorgeous combination of colors that harmonize super well with the light gray stones.

Credit: Kathryn Lott

26. Unexpected Window Box Flowers

Roses aren’t the first plant you’d consider for a window box, but this image from Kathryn Lott shows how taller perennial plants can work in this type of space. Consider bold planters beneath larger windows on a ground level the perfect homes for these flowers.

Credit: Carla Taylor

27. Hedges and Trailing Vines

A mixture of clean cut and free-flowing plants, like those seen in this photo from Carla Taylor, can make for a beautifully balanced window box. Try arranging your plants with more structured, trimmed plants up top and cascading vines beneath them.

Credit: Aly Greer

28. Overabundance of Trailing Flowers

You can never have too many flowers, and these bright pink petunias from Aly Greer of Wild Cotton Photo prove that the more blooms the better. Allow your plants to truly crawl and trail out of your window boxes for an intentional “overgrown” look that feels straight from a storybook.

Credit: Pam Greer

29. Selective Color Palette Box

The aqua walls of this home are only boosted by the pretty green plants featured in this window box. Keeping in mind the color of your home and what plants you choose can really pay off stylistically, like seen in this image from Pam Greer.

Additional reporting by Carolin Lehmann