Using pansies in window boxes for winter color

Using pansies in window boxes for winter color

 Dot Fletcher loves her window planters. I call them window boxes, but they are actually made of a wire frame with coconut fiber liners. We change these planters twice a year—in the spring we plant lots of begonias, bacopa, and similar plants for summer color. In October, when the begonia plantings still look nice, we change the planters over to pansies. I love pansies because of their hardiness and their ability to give us beautiful flowers throughout the cold days of winter.

We started the project with a trip to a couple of local nurseries where we picked out just the right colors of pansies. I laid the trays of plants out on the driveway next to a tarp which would help to keep the site clean.

Choose just the right colors of pansies for the planters
Choose just the right colors of pansies for the planters

Repeated work with these planters has shown me that we need to change the coco liners once a year. Here is a label from the new ones:

You can find coconut fiber liners for just about any wire planter
You can find coconut fiber liners for just about any wire planter

I bought a bag of premium potting soil. This particular blend from Miracle Gro is loose and easy to work with. A good potting soil will allow air flow while still having a capacity to retain moisture.

A good potting mix ensures success
A good potting mix ensures success

There were six planters. We changed out the liners and filled them with potting soil.

fiber lined window boxes ready to plant
fiber lined window boxes ready to plant

I had also gotten a couple of trays of violas. I love violas because they just keep on blooming. I thought these would be good for the corners and spots in the fronts of the planters because the violas tend to droop and run as they grow. They will fill in the areas below the pansies. I used a tray of white and a tray of purple.

Violas will fill in and enhance the sides and fronts of the planters
Violas will fill in and enhance the sides and fronts of the planters

We sprinkled Osmocote, a time release fertilizer, over the top of the soil before planting. The actual planting of the plants will mix the fertilizer into the soil and the fertilizer will work slowly all season long. At this point, we’re ready to plant.

Pansies love Osmocote which feeds them all season
Pansies love Osmocote which feeds them all season

I started out by planting the separate colors in groups of three and then finished up by filling in the blank spaces with whites. All of the planters were to look more or less the same, so I planted one for a prototype and then followed the design on the next five. The coco mat liners allow for lots of air flow and that allows me to pack the planters with as many plants as I can find room for.

arranging pansies for lots of color and interest
arranging pansies for lots of color and interest

We moved the finished planters to the windows. Dot told me that one of the best things I ever did was to install the system of drip stakes for the window planters. There are two stakes for each planter which are attached to tubes which come up from a drip system at the base of the wall.

drip irrigation stakes for container watering
drip irrigation stakes for container watering

The drip stakes run for 7 minutes every other day and are controlled by a simple, inexpensive, and easily installed Orbit timer that I found at Home Depot.

Orbit irrigation controller--inexpensive and easy
Orbit irrigation controller–inexpensive and easy

The pansy planters look good in the windows. The plants and flowers will droop a bit at first but will pick up and look pretty after a couple of days of sunshine.

A pansy planter on the outside windowsill will flower all winter
A pansy planter on the outside windowsill will flower all winter

You will find a little bit more information about running drip tubing to planters in an earlier article if you click here

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Would you like a consultation with johntheplantman in your yard? Contact John Schulz BY EMAIL

Do you have a landscaping problem that needs solving? Leave a comment.

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

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Published by John P.Schulz

I lost my vocal cords a while back due to throat cancer. The laryngectomy sent me on a quest to find and learn to use my new, altered voice. I am able to talk now with a really small and neat new prosthesis. My writing reflects what I have learned in my search for a voice. My site johnschulzauthor.com publishes a daily motivational quote and a personal comment. I write an article a week for my blog, johntheplantman.com which deals with a lot of the things that I do in the garden. I am also the author of Requiem for a Redneck and the new Redemption for a Redneck--novels portraying the lives and doings of folks around the north Georgia hills. I have an English Education degree from the University of Georgia and very happily married to the lovely Dekie Hicks. You may enjoy my daily Quotes and Notes at http://johnschulzauthor.com/

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