What to plant in year round window boxes? lavender ?

(21 Posts)
mrsmeerkat Wed 06-May-15 09:10:51

Hello

Our new house has two built in (brick ) window boxes. I was thinking red geraniums or lavender or what would be good.

It is quite shady there as under a porch.

Thank You

Also can lavender be easily cared for. I was visiting a country hour the day and they had lots of it around. Gorgeous.

Allthelittlefoxes Wed 06-May-15 09:17:57

The problem with lavender is it looks a bit crap for most of the autumn / winter. I'd be going for some dwarf shrubs (hebe or skimmia) under planted with bulbs (snowdrops for winter, tete a tete and muscari for spring, autumn crocus etc)

CuttedUpPear Wed 06-May-15 09:18:50

Lavender is easy to care for and will look good almost all year round.
But it won't grow well in shady conditions I'm afraid.

CuttedUpPear Wed 06-May-15 09:20:10

If you prune your lavender correctly, that is in late August, and back to a domed shape, it will keep a lovely shape all year round.

mrsmeerkat Wed 06-May-15 09:52:48

Oh thank you so much thanks for tip on when to prune. Love the shrub and bulb idea too. Maybe that might be easier for me for now and have a few pots of lavender to practise.

What is the best way to prune. Going to write those plants and bulbs down. Thanks so much

StaceyAndTracey Wed 06-May-15 10:13:07

You need two planting to have your boxes look good all year round

Winter - small evergreen shurbs like nandina , skimmia , euonymous, evergreen grasses like Carex , small bulbs, primula

Summer - anything pretty that catches your eye in the garden centre , As long as it copes with shade , so not pelargoniums . They will need fed and watered

Lavender likes lots of sun , poor soil , good draining and little water . It will be very unhappy in your shady window box and will look terrible for 8 months of the year . Sorry

StaceyAndTracey Wed 06-May-15 10:14:12

Also if your wall is bright red brick , you want to think about what colours look good against it .

var123 Wed 06-May-15 10:15:12

We had geraniums flowering year round in a window box (but it was in a very sheltered spot).

SomewhereIBelong Wed 06-May-15 10:16:44

Herbs in ours - then you have them for free all year round.

PrimroseEverdeen Wed 06-May-15 10:18:45

I would try box for year round colour And then fill in the gaps with annuals like pelargonium ( geranium) in summer and cyclamen in winter.

OwlBeeBack Wed 06-May-15 11:10:58

Pelargoniums (geraniums), lavender, most herbs need full sun

I'd go for box or ivy (much as I loathe ivy!) or skimmia or some small fern type things. Impatiens can cope with some shade. Cyclamen will look nice for a brief time in autumn or spring (depending on type) provided they don't get too wet.

SomewhereIBelong Wed 06-May-15 11:20:29

I grow herbs in mine - on a shady wall - but they do get heat and shelter from the wall - warmth rather than sun seems to be what they need - thyme, mint, chives, oregano,sage and melissa(lemon balm) grow just fine in mine - with a big pot of rosemary underneath.

CuttedUpPear Wed 06-May-15 22:47:32

I'm guessing your lavender is in the ground somewhere?

Correct pruning is while the plant is still in full flower, and just about to go over.
It is hard to think of doing it in late August while there are lots of insects still buzzing about it, but if you do it at the right time it will look good all year round and last for many years.

You should go over the plant with secateurs harvesting all the flower spikes to use indoors (displays or cooking).
Go over the plant again trimming back that years' growth to a neat dome shape, but don't cut back into the woody frame.

Within a few weeks new leaves will have grown to clothe the dome and it will be looking good again.

If you leave it too late to prune, into September or later, frost will attack the new leaves before they get a chance to harden up and may kill the whole plant.
If you don't prune at all or not enough, the plant will start getting leggy at the base and may lie down or just look straggly.

I learnt this from a tutor at horticultural college who owned a lavender nursery and it has stood me in good stead - I maintain several gardens with large lavender borders. flowers

applecatchers36 Thu 07-May-15 20:49:20

Also have geraniums flowering year round in our window boxes seem pretty hardy & lots of flowers

TinklyLittleLaugh Thu 07-May-15 20:55:23

I think it's a bit of a myth that pelargoniums need sun. I grow mine in pots either side of my north facing front door. They are in shade almost all day and do fine. They are also pretty tough and flower all through Autumn.

TinklyLittleLaugh Thu 07-May-15 20:58:34

I do my lavender like you CuttedpUpPear, it is almost like topiary through the winter.

var123 Thu 07-May-15 21:28:51

My year-round geraniums were on a basement windowsill. I think it was south facing, but even so, it could hardly be called "sunny"!

I was useless at watering regularly too, so they must be very hardy indeed.

Allthelittlefoxes Sat 09-May-15 17:52:25

I'll have to try that with the lavender, think I've been leaving it too late so it just looks like twigs all winter and early spring hmm

CruCru Sun 10-May-15 00:13:13

For shade I would try Heucheras and tiarellas. They are happy in window boxes and come in lots of different colours. I buy mine from plantagogo but most garden centres seem to sell heucheras. Make sure you get ones that like shade though.

funnyperson Sun 10-May-15 06:24:04

Here are some lovely window box ideas mostly for summer though
www.bhg.com/gardening/container/plans-ideas/window-box-plants-for-shady-spots/#page=16

SueGeneris Sun 10-May-15 06:51:26

One of the great things about lavender is that it attracts bees. Ours is covered in them when in flower - however if it was under your windows I'd think bees would always be getting into your house by accident.

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