As the autumn days grow shorter and cooler, window boxes that provided cheerful color all summer long may begin to fade. Keep them looking vibrant and appealing year-round with these fall window box ideas.
1. Replace summer annuals with fall-friendly plants. Some hardy blossoms will survive the lower temperatures of autumn, so when your summer superstars have taken their final bow, bring these flowers to center stage. Pansies are some of the most reliable fall flowers, and some varieties will keep right on blooming through light frost. With pansies, your window boxes can look rich and full well into winter. Nasturtiums and snapdragons bloom in fall as well, and flowering kale adds a surprising splash of green and purple.
2. Rotate perennials seasonally. If you use window box liners or if you set small flowerpots inside your window boxes, then rotating seasonal flowers is simple. Plant one set of window box liners or pots with warm-weather flowers, and plant another set with fall favorites. When the summer flowers begin to fade, remove the liners from the window boxes and set them aside where they can winter safely. Then drop the liners with the fall flowers into your window boxes. This way, your window boxes will always suit the season. Fall-blooming perennials include asters and mums.
3. Use dried flowers for a temporary pick-me-up. With autumn wind and rain, dried flowers probably won’t survive very long in outdoor window boxes. However, if you just want to dress up the front of your home for a day or two – say, when guests visit for Thanksgiving dinner, or when potential buyers come to your open house – then a window box full of dried flowers may do the trick. If you’ve preserved blooms from your own garden, they can fill your flower boxes. Otherwise, buy armfuls of dried blossoms from an online retailer, local craft store, or farmer’s market. As with all dried flower arrangements, a little floral foam helps keep everything in place.
4. Fill fall window boxes with gourds, Indian corn, and colorful foliage. Especially appropriate for Halloween and Thanksgiving, window boxes full of pumpkins, squash, and corn are an unexpected delight. When your flowers and plants have died, create artful arrangements of these traditional harvest symbols on top of the soil in your window boxes. Rain and even early snow won’t faze them. Another option for bright autumn window boxes is color-changing foliage from deciduous trees. When pruning in preparation for winter storms, keep some lightweight branches and weave them into your fall flower box designs.
5. Switch to artificial flowers and foliage. Some die-hard gardeners resist using faux plants, but today’s varieties are durable and realistic. (Well, as realistic as snow-covered geraniums can be!) Invest in UV-resistant artificial plants, and once your live plants have succumbed to the cold, pull them out of storage for colorful fall and winter window boxes. High-quality outdoor artificial flowers will last for many years.