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Seedlings Sprouting

Growing Herbs in Containers: Light, Life Cycles and Planting

There’s nothing quite like fresh herbs. Instead of making a run to the store when a recipe calls for some extra zing, what if you could just head to your herb garden to get that fresh rosemary, basil, or mint? Growing herbs in containers is a simple project that can yield big rewards. Below are a few things to consider before planting your herb containers:

You can sprout seedlings in just about anything. Invest in long-term solutions for best success growing herbs in containers.

You can sprout seedlings in just about anything.
Invest in long-term solutions for best success growing herbs in containers.

Light

Herbs require strong light to grow, which can be a problem if you’re trying to harvest chives during the short, dark days of winter. The best herbs to grow can be planted in indoor containers. Planting in herb containers, either indoors or outdoors, allows for the pots to be moved around according to the sun. If you plant an herb that needs less sun, like parsley, simply move it out of the sun in the middle of the day. On the flipside, you can move a sun-loving herb around your yard or house for optimal growth. The Glendon Tapered Round Planter can be used indoors or outdoors, allowing you to give your herbs the light they need.

Life Cycles

A good understanding of plant lifecycle helps when growing herbs. Allowing your herbs to go to seed and turn into flowers signals that their lifecycle is about to end. The best thing to do is to harvest your herbs frequently. Luckily, with something as delicious as fresh herbs, you will most likely be plucking it often. If you see a flower forming, just pinch it off to keep your herbs happy, healthy, and productive. A good herb container for keeping an eye on your plants is the Tinley Ceramic Low Bowl Planter, which has a short profile so your herbs and their progress are always in view.

Planting Herbs

A successful herb garden starts right from the beginning with strategic planting. You may be tempted to cram lots of herbs into the herb container, but make sure to read the plant tag carefully and allow enough room for the fully grown herb – overcrowding can stop plants from expanding their root system and be harmful in the cold winter months. The best herbs to grow will easily fit into your pot now and when they are full size. A good option for an herb container that allows room for plenty of plants is the Danbury Round Planter, which has a wide diameter for plenty of planting room.

With a little research and a little planning, a container herb garden will be spicing up your kitchen in no time! For best results, shop smaller containers that fit on countertops or tables.

Flower Box Holders for Railings

We all know that flower boxes are a great way to add life and color to any home. No matter how dull the walls might look, window boxes will add an element of cheerfulness and freshness to the image, significantly improving your home’s appeal. Moreover, you can also increase your house’s curb appeal by placing window boxes on railings, thus embellishing stairways, balconies or terraces.

This is done with the help of flower box holders which, as the name suggests, allow you to attach your flower box to railing and support the weight of the planters. There are different kinds of holders, and they differ in terms of size, design and, most importantly, the type of the railing they are compatible with and the way in which they attach themselves to the railing.

Wrought iron railing brackets suspend a beautifully planted Fiberglass Supreme window box.

Wrought iron railing brackets suspend a beautifully planted Fiberglass Supreme window box.

Holders for wood railings

Railing brackets for wood decks allow you to attach planters securely without having to drill any holes in the material. This is very practical, as it allows you to rearrange planters whenever you feel like making a décor change, without worrying about any unaesthetic holes. These planters use either adjustable railing hooks which allow them to fit on railings of different width, or a clamp system that utilizes an adjustable screw so that it can be attached to any wooden railings, regardless of their thickness.

Holders for wrought iron railings

Many homes use wrought iron railings, which require less maintenance and have a longer lifespan than their wooden counterparts. Rail planters are attached to the deck through brackets similar to the ones for wooden railings. You can choose either adjustable deck railings or metal brackets for your specific rail width.

You can find a great diversity of models of metal brackets for your specific needs. Make sure that you know the measurements of the window box you want to mount on the specific railing, as some types of holders are compatible with window boxes up to a certain width and/or length. And, if you are not opting for an adjustable holder, don’t forget to measure accurately the width of your railing before placing your order. Click Here to contact us for consultation.

All holders on the market are coated with a special finish which makes them impervious to water and humidity, and thus less prone to rust.  This ensures a long life expectancy of these products, making them a cost-efficient purchase which can help you add to the curb appeal of your home for many years to come.

A flower box beneath a window with shutters

What Size Window Boxes Should You Use?

A home with several window boxes

A good rule of thumb: Match the width of the flower box to the width of the window. Use smaller flower boxes on smaller windows, and larger ones on larger windows.

Matching the right window box to your home can add curb appeal, but there are many things to consider before making a final decision. What materials should the box be made of? How big should the box be? What size and depth is best for the plants that you want to pair with your home?

A flower box beneath a window with shutters

For windows with shutters, consider using a flower box wider than the window.

 

Window Box Length Tips

Once you’ve settled on a flower box material and style, deciding how long your new window boxes should be is the next big decision. In general, window boxes look best if they are the same width as the window, but there are exceptions to the rule. For example, if your home has shutters or wide exterior trim pieces, you may want your window boxes to run under these architectural features or sit slightly inside. Since many windows are around three feet long, almost every window box style is available in 30″ and 36″ lengths.

When placing a window box on a deck or porch railing, it should fill the space without making the railing unusable. Leave several inches between the end of the window box and any steps so that your growing plants don’t make these spaces unsafe. Use a cardboard cut-out or chalk outline to help yourself visualize the perfect window box for your space if you’re unsure of the right size.

an eight foot long window box under a window

This 96″ long window box was custom made for a homeowner who wanted something impressive! Very long flower boxes look stately.

For a very long window, railing, or fence, you can either mount several small window boxes or one large one. Most Hooks & Lattice window boxes can be purchased in 60″ and 72″ lengths, and many can be manufactured in even larger custom sizes. We’ve built flower boxes over 100″ inches long! Long window boxes look dramatic and impressive; just remember that you’ll probably need some serious help to lift and mount them.

An XL window box

This extra-wide, extra-deep window box has lots of room for plants and their roots.

 

Window Box Depth & Width

Window box suppliers like Hooks & Lattice usually offer our most popular boxes with standard dimensions and extra-large boxes that are wider and deeper than usual. Standard boxes are a good fit for many homes, but sometimes the extra-large flower boxes are more appropriate. Organic Gardening magazine recommends measuring the height of your windows before settling on a size. A box that is 20 to 25 percent of the height of your window feels adequately robust on most homes. If you choose very large brackets for your flower boxes, consider their visual impact in your decision as well.

Bigger boxes have a practical benefit: Because they hold more soil, they won’t dry out as quickly, and so they will allow you to plant less drought-tolerant plants. For this reason, we recommend that gardeners in hot climates use XL hayrack window boxes instead of hayrack planters in normal sizes. Deep flower boxes also work better for perennial plants, which tend to root more deeply than annuals. Extra-large boxes are more flexible to plant, even allowing multiple rows of small annuals if you want to create layers of colors.

This cedar flower box is just 6" deep, so your flowers will draw most of the attention.

This cedar flower box is just 6″ deep, so your flowers will draw most of the attention.

On the other hand, shallow boxes look nice on homes with delicate features, since the smaller box and brackets won’t overwhelm the home’s architectural details. Small window boxes won’t stand out in an obvious fashion, instead providing a subtle space for gardening. Our Tapered Cedar Window Box is just 6″ high, putting the spotlight on your plants. These smaller boxes are great for annuals, herbs and artificial plants. Because they hold less soil, they’ll weigh less, making them easier to lift and mount.

As with any décor decision, you should be aware of these design suggestions but ultimately choose whatever looks best to you. Don’t be afraid to defy convention! With some skill, almost anything can look great. Above all, window box gardening should be a fun and relaxing way to express your creativity. Experiment with different options and find the one that suits your style. Need flower box sizing advice? Comment below and we’ll let you know what we think!