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Introduction to Fall Window Boxes
Every fall I love to switch my summer flower boxes over to fall window boxes. In this post I will show you the steps I follow to successfully create lush, colorful boxes of flowers each autumn.
Step One (to create fall window boxes): Select the plants
The first step to making fall window boxes is to select the plants you want. I typically already have ivy growing in my boxes from summer. (If you’re starting your fall window boxes from scratch, just mount a flower box with brackets and then add potting soil. Next add several ivy plants as they add a trailing quality to your box. All these items can be found at your local garden center.)
I typically select odd numbers of new plants as that tends to look better in the containers. I start with five small mum plants of different fall colors such as yellow, bronzes, reds and purples. Here’s a key point: don’t be tempted to buy mums already in bloom. If you do, you will be sad at the short lifespan of your selection. The way to have a lengthy “showy” period, is to mix in the colorful pansies as well as the accents that I outline below. Trust me on this…
Some stores promote a “hardy mum”. That means IF you planted the mum plants in a DEEP container or in your garden beds, (instead of your shallow flower boxes), AND IF you planted these mums 4-6 weeks before the first frost in your area, the mums would likely return the next spring to bloom again. But as you can imagine, that’s a lot of variables, so I just plant the mums in the boxes for one fall show and then I toss them out in late November.
Besides the mums, I purchase three pansies in purple, yellow and burgundy. Pansies are such bright, happy plants that love cool and sunny weather which is why you also see them in the spring at the garden centers. They actually can survive several frosts.
Step Two (to create fall window boxes): Prepare the containers
Once I’ve purchased the plants, I get to work preparing the containers. This is the hardest job as it involves removing the summer annuals that are no longer blooming due to the cooler nights. So I pull out all those plants and then I dig through the soil attempting to break up the roots from the previous plants. To make this MUCH EASIER, take the time to thoroughly water the container as well as the plants you’re planning to plant as the water will soften the soil and will give the new plants a nice head start when they’re planted in the fall window boxes.
Above you can see the flower box with remaining ivy plants as well as a leftover marigold and one of the herbs I had in the summer boxes. I kept the marigold to have some immediate color as the mums are not yet in bloom. (I enjoy planting herbs in my flower boxes so that I can just walk out onto my deck and snip some when I’m cooking without having to go out into my yard.)
Step Three (to create fall window boxes): Plant the plants
This is a fun step. Using either your hands or a garden trowel, make five small holes, about the size of the root ball of the mums in the back row of the flower box. Then pop in the mums, firmly pressing the plants into the holes. You want the mums to be planted at the same depth they were in their original pots.
In the above photo, you can see the planted mums as well as the previously discussed ivy, marigold and herb plants.
Next, plant the pansies in the front row in the same manner as you did with the mums.
In the above image, you can see the box is coming to life. Because the mums are not yet in bloom, the pansies (and lone marigold) offer several bright spots of color. Are you getting excited yet??
Step Four (to create fall window boxes): Add some accents
You could certainly stop right now. The boxes look great with the colorful pansies and the promise of the soon-to-bloom mums. BUT, I thought it might be fun to elevate these fall window boxes just a little bit more… But, I have many squirrels and chipmunks that look to eat my fall cabbages, pumpkins and gourds.
So I decided to order on-line these great and real looking ornamental cabbages and silk leaves. The cabbages came in a pack of six and I made three boxes with them. For the silk leaves, I cut up a silk leave garland into multiple sprigs (keeping the stem part long enough to bury in the boxes). Then I just placed these two accents into each box and LOVED the result!
Well folks, there you have it. Fall window boxes from start to finish. Now the only step you need to remember to do is to water these boxes initially DAILY for the first week then every other day or so to keep everything looking lush and beautiful. And now, you’re ready for fall!!!
PS Here are a few other posts you might enjoy.