Sunday, June 14, 2015

create overflowing window boxes and planters inexpensively

I love the personality and charm beautifully potted flowers and window boxes add to
 our home in the summer. BUT, I hate spending a chunk of money on flowers that aren't
 mature - you know the look - a sparse planter filled with short annuals. After dishing out
 for a cart full of plants I want pretty overflowing planters and window boxes today. :) 
 I'm also not a fan of paying big $ for pots that someone else has put together, they
 usually aren't my favorite color or style. 

My trick is to divide mature plants... 

Last summer with Ferns, Impatients, Sweet Potato Vine

Here is my collection of plants that will have three large 3' window boxes
overflowing at the beginning of summer for about $60. 

2 Large - Kimberly Ferns @ $13.00 ea. = $26.00 
2 Large Hanging Baskets @ $13.00 ea. = $26.00
6 pack of Sweet Potato Vine @ $10.00 ea.

I purchased the ferns and hanging baskets at Walmart and the vine at a local garden
center. (O'Tooles)  

 After removing the fern from the plastic pot use a serrated kitchen knife and divide them
 into thirds, just cut straight through the roots. They'll be just fine, trust me!    


I put two 1/3 sections side by side in the center of my window boxes.

For the hanging baskets of flowers I'm more careful to divide them without disturbing 
the roots. Looking down from the top separate the plants into fairly equal 1/3 sections
using the serrated knife.   


Plant 1/3 on each end of the window boxes. 

Each window box gets two sweet potato vines, planted between the fern and flowers.
I lay mine on its side with the base of the plant as close to the front of the window box as
 possible - it's my quirky idea that it gives it a little head start flowing over the side. 

Unfortunately, we had 6" of snow on Mother's Day and crummy weather right through
Memorial weekend so my plants got a super late start.
 I usually plant the beginning of May and by Memorial Day things are looking good.   

 May 26th - Planted

 June 14th - 19 days later
Anyone that's planted Sweet Potato Vine knows it will be no time and they'll need 
trimmed to keep them in check.

Sorry, I just noticed I took a photo of a different window box, they're all basically the same
except if you look back the hanging baskets were a tad different.   

That's it - I've done it for years with great luck.
 Do you have any tricks or tips for creating great looking planters?


CreativaCale said...

Lovely !Good idea to cut flowers on free part and combine ! Hugs from Serbia,

Dana Frieling said...

Great post! Planting tips are always needed/appreciated on my end.

Julia@Cuckoo4Design said...

So pretty! In Germany almost everyone has them and they are so thick and full. My parents unfortunately always failed with theirs LOL.

Kristen @ Pursuing Vintage said...

I love the addition of the ferns! I hadn't thought of that. I've already done my boxes this year, but will keep this in mind for next year!

My Little Bungalow said...

Gorgeous! My favorite thing to do each spring is create a planter for our porch. It sits on a column at the top of the front steps. I love selecting a variety of plants, and always include an asparagus fern and some sort of coleus, plus flowering plants. This year I chose fuschia and two beautiful double impatiens.

I like your idea of dividing the plants. Very smart! Nice combination of tall and trailing plants too.

Kathy Olson said...

That is a great idea that I will be using this week!

Unknown said...

These are so beautiful Pam! I love the colors. Are your boxes in shade or partial sun? Full sun doesn't work for me for ferns- just curious. Have a great week. Xo Nancy

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Great post Pam...your window boxes look beautiful!! I like to buy hanging baskets for my larger planters too and just re-pot them for that full look in an instant!

pam {simple details} said...

Thanks Nancy! The window boxes are mostly shade but I do have a couple large urns at the edges of our property with ferns that are south facing, partial sun. I've found the Kimberly ferns can take a little more sun.

Preppy Empty Nester said...

Wish I had read this before I did my very costly window boxes! Yours look gorgeous!!

Patty Day @Pattys Epiphanies said...

A wonderful idea to use mature plants! They look gorgeous!

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Gorgeous. I love the ferns, I don't usually see them in the window boxes. Fabulous.

Cassie Bustamante said...

these are gorgeous! well done!

Unknown said...

One trick I learned is to plant containers using a potting soil with a slow release fertilizer and for the first 2 weeks after planting, water every day with a liquid fertilizer mixed into the water, then 2/week with the liquid fertilizer/water. My mother calls it steroids for plants. It really gives it a boost to grow large, healthy flowers.

tina said...

Spring comes early here, so my planters were all planted in April. I only buy from a local nursery that has very healthy, good size plants. Although I did find my Kimberly fern at Lowes! Most of these plants are pretty mature and very healthy. I use a good potting soil mix and I water probably weekly with Miracle Grow. Mine are looking great except one mixed pot and I'm thinking it is because of our strange weather this year. We are already in the 90s - very unusual for June. Your boxes are beautiful.

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

Beautiful window boxes.I love that you add the ferns instead of just flowers...I love using the hanging baskets to place in containers for instant gratification...thanks for all of the tips and inspiration.

OneEnglishLady said...

What a great idea to use mature plants and break them up. I live in a suburb of Brisbane called Ferny Hills and those particular ferns pop up everywhere like weeds so I might choose some more exotic ferns (at least exotic to a Brisbanite).

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

I love how you divide with a serrated knife, you smart cookie! Great ideas, I love them all!! My pots look ridiculously under filled and I need to add to them - thanks for the wonderful tips!!!!!

Julie said...

Pam, your window boxes look gorgeous. Thanks for the great tips (from someone who has always had the pots with scrawny, sad annuals in them!) I will be happily adopting your techniques :)

Cindy @ a curious gardener said...

You are so clever, this will be one of your most pinned posts one day! This really helps gardeners. I love the sawing through technique. I have used the little Felco folding saw to divide garden hostas for our shade window boxes in our Ohio house and it worked also. Great post!

cindy hattersley design said...

What pretty combinations! I love that icy green potatoe of my favorites!!

cindy hattersley design said...

Whoops just call me Dan as in Quayle..I misspelled potato!!

Unknown said...

Genius - love this!

Vel Criste said...

Great tip Pam!

Linda said...

I have also bought a perennial fern for my area and then in late Oct. when the summer flowers are done , I take the fern out of planter box and plant in the ground.. I feel like I really get my money's worth !

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