In Flower Garden

Long-Blooming Flowers for Window Boxes

flowers for window boxes petunias

I thought today I’d share with you some tips for long-blooming flowers for window boxes. These are flowers that bloom from spring through late fall and look better over time. My choice? Petunias.

flowers for window boxes petunias

Long-Blooming Flowers for Window Boxes

I know some people who change their window boxes with each season, but I can’t be bothered. I prefer to plant them in the spring and then watch them grow more beautiful over time. My favorite flowers for this are petunias.

Petunias can be fussy in the south. They love cool, moist, some might say cold weather. The biggest and most glorious petunias I’ve ever seen grew in hanging baskets dangling from lamp posts in a town in upstate New York. These giant balls of purple petunias grew in a mountainous climate and each morning bright and early the town sent a truck around with a big water tank and hose to water them.

Few of us here in Virginia have the luxury of long-season cool weather. Instead, we have spring, which starts off cool and moist in the piedmont and then turns hot to hell’s front porch until August, sometimes September.

By October, cool weather arrives, and if we are lucky, it continues through November with a flurry of snow in December signaling, finally, the end of the gardening season.

Keeping Petunias Blooming in Virginia’s Heat

To keep petunias blooming in Virginia’s heat, my window boxes face west and are partially shaded by the screened porch. I lost the plants growing on the southern side of the house; they dried out one day and that was that.

Keeping the window boxes well-watered is essential. I keep clean, empty milk containers on the porch filled with water so that anytime I run outside – say, to get the mail or feed the cats – I can check the soil and water them. At a minimum, they are watered in the hot weather at least once a day, sometimes twice a day.

I deadhead or clip the spent flowers off in August. I also sprinkle a light 10-10-10 fertilizer in the soil around this time too since the frequent watering washes nutrients from the window box soil.

petunias and geraniums in a window box

Start with Great Plants when Choosing Flowers for Window Boxes

Starting with vigorous, healthy plants is a must. The petunias in my window boxes came from Westway Garden Center in Pamplin, Virginia. It’s a new garden center that just opened this year. The lady who owns it grows all her own plants in a large greenhouse that also doubles as her sales space. The plants were large and healthy when I bought them and have just continued to grow stronger and stronger.

A little cold doesn’t hurt them and I believe these will survive even a light frost since the overhang from my front porch shields them just enough. We shall see, as we are finally expecting a cold snap in Virginia.

In the meantime, I plan to enjoy my petunias…and these lovely window boxes.

Each box features a geranium in the center flanked by petunias. The geranium colors are random, which made the boxes a lot more fun to plant and enjoy!


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