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Past Articles Library | Indoor Plants | Indoor Garden Any Season



Any Season Gardening

Add COLOR and ZEST to indoor rooms - ANY time of the year - in under ONE hour!

If you like to garden, this is one project you don't want to miss out on. Why?

  • Because you can do it with no help
  • The variations are endless
  • Everything is very light weight
  • It takes zero skill with tools of any kind
  • It takes less than 1 hour to do

Plus, I have to admit, this is one story I really had a good time putting together.

It was fun, it was fast, the results have been spectacular, and I love waking up, especially in the winter, to my bright, cheerful plants.

Now I have been playing around with indoor window boxes, and indoor gardening for a while, but I wanted to do some good solid testing with plants and lighting before I published my results here to you.

And don't worry. I know, a lot of times, when you hear the terms "Indoor Garden" or "Indoor Gardening" you start getting into hydroponics, grow lights, and the like, and that's fine for a lot of people, but we're not going to get into that here.

What I am always interested in, is a better, simpler, way to bring some of my favorite outdoor plants indoors, and grow them successfully.

So far I have been very satisfied with my results, but the best part was that once I got the few items I needed together, it took less than one hour, from start to clean up, to enjoy my final results.

Let's get started.


Basic Items Needed

CobraCo Flower Box Holder - I like using this brand because:

  • Inexpensive, from $12 to $23 dollars (6 to 12)
  • They are very light weight
  • They come in black, white, green
  • They are decorative by themselves
  • They allow you many variations of what to put in them, from a decorative fabric liner, to a light weight different colored plastic window box
  • They can be extended from 24 inches (61 cm) up to 36 inches (91 cm) which allows you to decide how big or small you want to have your container

  • Dimensions:
  • Length: 24 up to 36 inches (61 - 91 cm)
  • Width: 7.75 inches (19.7 cm)
  • Height: 5 inches (12.7 cm)

  • Sources for CobraCo window box or flower box holders:
    Lawn-and-garden.hardwarestore.com - Green
    Lawn-and-garden.hardwarestore.com - White
    Bestnest.com - Decorative brown
    Amazon.com - Black
    Ace Hardware
    CobraCo


2 - 4 Screws - 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) long

Plants - 5 or more will be needed depending upon how large you extend your box in length. What type of plants you can use will be discussed below.


The Following Items are Optional
Depending upon how you want to assemble your window box you will need the following items. I suggest you read through the rest of the story to see how we did it, and then you can come back and see what items you would need.

Plastic Window Box Planter - I like these because:

  • They are light weight
  • Inexpensive, from $5 to $8 dollars (2.52 to 4.03)
  • Have drainage holes, come with a tray to catch water
  • Come in sizes from 24 to 36 inches (61 to 91 cm)
  • Colors available: clay, green, black

  • Available at any garden or home improvement center, but if not, here is a source: Doitbest.com

Decorative Fabric - If you don't want to bother with the plastic window box planter, you can simply line your holder with some decorative fabric as we have show below.

Plastic Leaf Bag - If you don't want to bother with the plastic window box planter, you can simply line your holder with a cut up plastic leaf bag as we have show below.
















Where to Hang Your Indoor Window Box

The best window locations are:

  • South Facing - full sun all day

  • East Facing - full morning sun with bright indirect afternoon light

  • West Facing - full afternoon sun with bright indirect morning light

The two locations used in this story were East Facing and South Facing.



East Facing:




South Facing:




Attach Your Window Box

The CobraCo Window Box Holders come with extra brackets. This makes it very easy because you can adjust the length of the bracket to the width of your windowsill.

Even the two homes we were working on had hugely different width windowsills. One had almost 6 inch (15.2 cm) windowsills, the other had 3 inch (7.6 cm) windowsills.

Adjust the bracket and attach the plant holder to your windowsill with the screws.

The maximum weight any variation of window box we put together was 9 pounds (4.1 kg), so we used two screws, 1 on each side and they held just great.

If you feel you need more holding power, by all means put in more screws.

We used a cordless drill on one window and only a hand-held screwdriver on the other and both methods worked really well, so if you don't own a drill, you can do this without one.


Tip: If you choose to put your screws in by hand, it's easier if you slightly hammer in a nail first. Don't hammer the nail in so far that you can't pull it out with your fingers. Just hammer it in about 1/4 of an inch (.64 cm) and then remove it. This starts the hole for you to put in your screws and creates a "guide" that makes it easier if you don't have a drill.





Attach With Screws:




East Facing Attached:




South Facing Attached:


Mix And Match What You Want!

Here is where you can get as creative as you want. You can use:

Only The Plastic Window Box Planter and Tray
This makes the process extremely easy. Simply put the tray in and then the planter. You are ready to add your plants.


Or You Can:


Line the Holder With Fabric
This is fast and allows you to coordinate with your exisiting decor.

  • We used the plant holder set to 24 inches (61 cm) and we used a piece of fabric that was 20 inches (50.8 cm) wide, and 45 inches (114.3 cm) long.

  • Put double-sided tape on the inside of the holder to secure fabric

  • Fit the fabric into the holder

  • Cut excess fabric along the top. Now if you're really handy and can sew (good for you!) you can turn the fabric and hem it for a nicer finish, but sewing isn't my strong point so I cut it. That's what so great about this, you can do it any way you want.

  • To catch water, you can now either put in the plastic tray liner only, or line it with a cut plastic leaf bag

Now let's add some plants!


Only the Plastic Window
Planter and Tray:




Put Double-Sided Tape
on Inside To Secure
Fabric to Holder:




Fit Fabric To Holder:




Cut Along Top to Fit:




East Facing Holder
Lined with Fabric:




South Facing Holder
Lined with Fabric:




Add Plastic Tray
to Catch Water:




Or Line With Cut Plastic Leaf
Bag to Catch Water:


Soil And Adding Plants

First thing you may notice is that we are not going to add soil. That is something you can do, but we didn't do it that way for a couple of reasons:

1. We didn't want the weight

2. We wanted the option of being able to move the plants around and possibly take them out for watering

3. We wanted to make sure that we could give them a quarter turn once a week so they will grow evenly

4. When it comes time to change plants, it's fast and easy

The Climate Around A Window

The climate around a window is a bit different than it is throughout the rest of the house.

Winter Months

In the winter it is cooler by the window because some cold air does leak in, but that's the beauty of an indoor window box!

The plants are at least 3 to 5 inches (7.6 to 12.7 cm) away from the glass so there is no worry or risk of the plants actually freezing because they are not directly on the windowsill.

Plus, at night you usually pull down some window coverings that help buffer the really lower nightime temperatures.

Winter South Facing Box

I have been testing, and the daytime temperatures for the planter we did in full sun (south-facing) were ranging around 60 to 65° F (15.6 to 18.3° C) and nighttime temperatures were around 50 to 55° F (10 to 12.8° C) which is fine for winter color.

  • Full sun winter color: South Facing

  • Poppies
  • Pansies
  • Stock
  • Snapdragon
  • Dianthus
  • Ivy

Winter East Facing Box

I have been testing, and the daytime temperatures for the planter we did in partial sun (east-facing) were ranging around 50 to 55° F (10 to 12.8° C) and nighttime temperatures were around 40 to 50° F (4.4 to 10° C) which is fine for winter color.

  • Partial sun winter color: East or West Facing

  • Cyclamen
  • Primrose
  • Dianthus
  • Ivy

Summer Months

In the summer, the temperatures around the window are usually warmer, because some hot air does leak in, but many people have air-conditioning that can offset high temperatures.

Summer South Facing Box

I have been testing, and the daytime temperatures for the planter we did in full sun (south-facing), with no air-conditioning, were ranging around 80 to 100° F (26.7 to 37.8° C) and nighttime temperatures were around 60 to 65° F (15.6 to 18.3° C) which is fine for summer color.

  • Full sun summer color: South Facing

  • Marigold
  • Petunia
  • Zinnia
  • Sweet Alyssum
  • Dwarf Citrus
  • Herbs

Summer East Facing Box

I have been testing, and the daytime temperatures for the planter we did in partial sun (east-facing), with no air-conditioning, were ranging around 80 to 90° F (26.7 to 32.2° C) and nighttime temperatures were around 65 to 70° F (18.3 to 21.1° C) which is fine for summer color.

  • Partial sun summer color: East or West Facing

  • Impatiens
  • Begonia
  • Ivy
  • Many perennials

Test Temperatures Yourself

You may want to buy an inexpenisve thermometer, mine cost $3 dollars (1.51) and put it on your windowsill and track temperature ranges for your specific home environment. It's easy to do and then you'll know for sure what plants will do well.



Add Shade Loving Plants To East Facing Window:


Shade Loving Plants In East Facing Window:


Add Sun Loving Plants To South Facing Window:


Add Decorative Spanish Moss or Bark to Hide Pots
(if you want to):





Conclusion

I can't tell you how much an indoor window box can perk up a room. I know the verbiage above is lengthy, but it takes longer to explain something in detail, than it does to just do it!

I hope you can find the time to try this out, because it has so many variations to it, from raising seeds, to plants, to growing what is considered outdoor color or plants indoors, etc.

Plus I think you'll agree the before and after pictures to the right show how much better each room looks.

Have fun with this and good luck! Next month we'll be following up with how to Care For Our "Any Season" Garden.


Click Images
To Enlarge Them:


East Facing
Before and After:




South Facing
Before and After:




Hilary Rinaldi is a member of the National Garden Writers Association, a nationally published writer, and a certified organic grower. She regularly speaks and writes about all gardening related topics, with an emphasis on making gardening a successful and enjoyable process for anyone who wants to learn. Weekend Gardener Monthly Web Magazine concentrates of giving detailed gardening tips and gardening advice to all levels of gardeners.



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