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Window boxes and hanging baskets, tips on choosing the right container and plants to grow in them

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lady looking out of window over window boxes

Hanging Baskets


Window Boxes

Only have a small space available but would still like
to grow some plants, then watch this space!

Choice of container is very important:-


Plastic pots These are cheap, light and durable and they keep the
soil moist, however, they can turn brittle and crack and they are not the most attractive.

Terracotta pots These are made from baked clay and are very attractive
however, they are heavy, break easily and are subject to frost damage.

Glass fibre containersThese can be moulded and coloured in many ways. 
They can look like stone but, of course, are much lighter and they are strong, durable and
repairable.  They are, however, more expensive than some other material.

These are crushed stone moulded into shape. Imitation
classical urns and vases are very attractive but extremely heavy.   In view of this
weight they should be used with caution in roof gardens or balconies.

Window boxesThese are available in a variety of materials including
wood, plastic, metal, terracotta. Wooden flower boxes provide better insulation than
plastic or metal, with Cedar being the best (if you can find it) as this is the most
resistant to rot.  Pine is much less expensive but this should be treated.  It
is  best to avoid commercial wood preservatives, especially creosote.


The box should be at least 200mm (8ins) deep to allow
for root growth and to prevent the soil drying out too quickly. 

If you prefer you can put pots inside the window box
instead of filling the box with soil.  This allows you to lift them out and change
them around without disturbing the roots.  It also reduces the weight of the window

Make sure the pots you put into the box and the box
itself  have drainage holes, otherwise the plants will become  waterlogged.

In Summer the box will need watering every day, aim to
keep the soil moist but never waterlogged.

Choose low growing plants if you want maximum light
from your window.  Climbers are another option as they can be trained against the
wall around the window.

If the box is sited in an exposed position, i.e. on a
wall or balcony, ensure it is fixed with brackets or strong wire.  Strong winds can
not only damage unsecured boxes but they  can also become very dangerous.

Check out these other pages for tips:-

how to plant window boxes,

planting vegetables in containers

suitable plants for
growing in containers

The following tips have been received
from Jan Robinson

Use ladies pantie liners to line the
bottom of hanging baskets – the gel absorbs water and works like the
expensive gel crystals at a fraction of the cost.  Babies
disposable nappies also work (clean ones mind you!!!)

When repotting plants put a teabag
over the drainage hole and this allows water out but also keep the
insects out.

Ask your greengrocer for the
compressed paper separators used in apple boxes to stop them
bruising.  Soak for an hour in warm water, they can then be moulded
to fit hanging baskets as a liner.  These last a season and are
easy to plant through.  Free and environmentally friendly.






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