Now is the perfect time to transition your window box for the change in season. You can make this change easier by trading in your bright, sunny plant colors with fall/winter colors which can include green, orange, red, white, and yellow. There is a need to look for plants that can withstand the cooler temperatures even frost. With less sun they also need to do well with the shorter amount of daylight.
Here are six plants that will work for this time of year:
Chrysanthemum - The Chrysanthemum is considered to be the quintessential fall flower. They start showing up in garden centers in late August and September and are often grown as an annual flower although they really are a perennial. There are more than 100 varieties of Chrysanthemum and they come in a wide array of colors. They do best in garden zones 5 through 9, although some varieties can survive in zones as low as 3. Chrysanthemums grow in soil that is consistently moist, but that drains well. They prefer full sun but can tolerate some shade in warmer garden zones found in the Southern United States.
Cyclamen - Cyclamen is typically cultivated as a house plant but in warmer garden zones (Zone 9 or warmer) it can be grown as a perennial. There are also varieties that have been developed that will survive in garden zones 6 through 8. The flowers are typically white or pink and appear in the fall. Cyclamen are grown from corms which are similar to bulbs. They do best when planted about 1 inch deep and when left undisturbed can form large clumps. They do best in well-drained soil and even can be grown in tough conditions such as dry shade.
Kale – Kale, a member of the cabbage family, is a cold-hardy plant. Kale does best in locations where the winter does not dip below the teens. The leaves are sweeter when they mature in cooler weather. Kale performs best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. There are many different varieties of kale with the most common a deep green variety but there are also kales available in purple, red, white, and yellow-green, and white. There are also varieties with flat or ruffled leaves. If you add kale to your window box, you will be able to eat it!
Ornamental Cabbage And Kale – These plants are popular in fall gardens. The plants form pretty rosettes that look like large flowers. Ornamental cabbage leaves are wide and flat with smooth edges and the ornamental kale leaves are frilly with serrated edges. These plants come in cream, white, purple, and rose. They like full sun, and the soil needs to be kept moist. These plants are also edible.
Pansy - Pansies are biennial flowers that are commonly planted in the fall. As a biennial, the plant will overwinter and bloom again in the spring. They come in a wide array of colors and are equally beautiful in pots and hanging containers as they are as a bedding plant. They do best in nutrient-rich soils that stay evenly moist and in locations that are sunny or partly sunny. Removing the spent flowers will encourage additional blooming. Once planted they require a minimal amount of care.
Snapdragon – Snapdragons are popular flowers that are often used in containers. Bright snapdragons come in every color but blue. These cool weather-loving flowers are large and very showy. Snapdragons are popular because of their vertical form and diversity of colors, shapes, and sizes. They do best when planted in a sunny location in well-drained soil but will tolerate some shade. Deadheading the flowers will extend the blooming season. They will even last into the first frost of late fall or early winter.
The first step in planting your window box is to clean out the plants from the summer. If you decide to try to overwinter some of the plants such as geraniums or begonias, take them out slowly and put them to the side to replant them. Next, you will want to wipe down the window box to clean it up. You are now ready to put your plants in the window box.
In the spring, when you are planting containers, you use a few plants in each container to leave them room to grow. In the fall it is different, the temperatures are cooler and plant growth slows down or even stops. This allows you to pack your plants in the window box since there will be little growth. You want your container to look full. You can even consider adding some seasonal elements to your window box.
Share any photos of your fall/winter window boxes or containers on our Facebook page!