The best fall window box ideas will see you right through winter, offering a welcoming touch as well as lifting the exterior look of your home. Perfect for bringing a dazzling display to your patio, porch or balcony, they can easily be switched up for special occasions like Halloween too.
Choose long-lasting plants like winter-flowering pansies, cyclamen and heather mixed with interesting foliage varieties to make sure your displays have staying power right through the season. Whether you like structured and formal planting ideas or a more naturalistic style you will find fresh inspiration in our selection.
Window boxes can be a key focal point in your outdoor fall decor, so follow our expert suggestions to make sure you nail the look.
Embrace seasonal planting with these fall window box ideas
If you're looking to change up your window box ideas this season, perhaps this year it's time to try out something different by testing out one or two of our new takes on trends for fall.
1. Choose gold and orange fall colors
Bronzy oranges matched with pale yellow works well as a color combination for both fall planters and window boxes. This bright and beautiful copper and bronze mix of burnt orange, apricot and pale lemon winter flowering pansies paired with sunny yellow primulas just sums up the mood for autumn.
The foliage combination adds texture and shape too, with heart-shaped lamium leaves and pale green feathery dwarf conifers acting as fillers in the center of the display, while tendrils of trailing ivy completes the look. The joy of these is that you can keep them going for ages to offer structure and texture in your window box, simply switching in fresh color as and when you need to fresh up your fall front porch decor.
Plants like pansies can be used both for spring container ideas and fall ones to prolong your window box show, and will flower for months. Just remember to keep snipping off any faded flowers to keep the show going. They're also one of the best fall flowers and plants.
2. Opt for a cool and classic white window box design
When combined with crisp green foliage white flowers offer a polished look for fall window boxes. As fall turns to winter they will add a bright gleam to your display, especially on darker days. Another plus is that they go with anything and will partner seamlessly with the exterior of your house.
One of the best plants for winter pots, beautiful cyclamen deliver for months on end. Choose a hardy variety called Cyclamen coum or Cyclamen hederifolium. Ready-grown plants are widely available and will instantly uplift window boxes.
Other white flowers to choose from that work well for fall window boxes include pansies, primulas, heather and hellebores. You can also layer in white bulbs to the mix, and these will pop up in spring. Good choices to include are crocuses, white muscari and paper whites.
3. Introduce shape and texture to a fall window box
The trend for naturalistic looking planting extends to fall window box ideas too. If you prefer a less structured look this is your chance to 'wild up' your window boxes. Learn how to plant a window box with a combination of feathery grasses, purple ornamental cabbages and one or two dark blooms chosen from an autumnal color palette for a perfect interpretation of the rich, deep tones of fall. Try weaving lightweight twigs across the surface of the soil as a finishing touch.
Use button chrysanthemums in shades of bronze and copper as a filler, together with ivy at the heart of your display. Chrysanthemums are one of our top choices if you're looking for ideas on what to plant in September, and they're definitely back in fashion in a big way. A fall classic, they come in autumnal shades of burnt orange, burgundy red and golden yellow. They can be grown in partial shade or full sun, and are the perfect filler plant for window boxes.
Popular in fall gardens, flowering ornamental cabbage has lush frilled purple and green leaves for a show-stopping look that works in window boxes too. They love full sun but can dry out easily, so keep them well-watered even in cool weather.
Stunning red fountain grass has dark feathery foliage that adds a textural note to fall window box ideas. It's one of the best types of ornamental grass for your display as its height means it's a good 'thriller' plant.
4. Go for modern industrial-style fall window boxes
These compact ribbed garden planters are ideal if you're looking for something stylish to show off your balcony plants. Choose galvanized metal if you're looking for an urban vibe and stack them up together to work the look.
If you're putting your window boxes in a sheltered spot think about planting them up with succulents or herbs to extend your growing season. If you choose a style like these ones that don't have a drainage hole you can easily transfer them indoors when bad weather threatens, especially as they're lightweight too.
5. Add a pumpkin or two to your window box for Halloween
If you're not sure what to put in your fall window box, try a little bit of everything. An ivy-covered wreath anchors this scheme center stage, while Phormium 'Baby Bronze' adds architectural detail with its pointy purple-bronze foliage making it a perfect specimen plant.
Ornamental peppers will add vibrant color and interesting shapes to your container gardening ideas. Winter-fruiting Christmas cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum) is another great window box plant. This small, upright, bushy, evergreen shrub has long-lasting red, yellow or orange berry-like fruit. Finally a trailing plant helps to soften the edges for that spiller effect.
This is a look that can easily be switched up for your outdoor Halloween decor by tucking small pumpkins into your existing display.
6. Extend summer looks with a fall window box
If your summer container ideas were a real success don't be too keen to tip the plants into the compost bin as there are lots that will happily keep going into fall.
Pelargoniums are very robust and easy to care for, with a long flowering season that means they bloom well into fall. 'This makes them the ideal choice for planters and window boxes on balconies, patios, terraces and other areas close to the house where you want to enjoy your outdoor space for as long as possible,' says Dr Suzanne Lux of Pelargonium for Europe (opens in new tab).
Plant expert Sarah Raven (opens in new tab) is also a big fan of pelargoniums. 'My current favorite for window boxes is to use the pollinator-friendly pelargoniums with scented leaves, such as ‘Attar of Roses’, which has the most delicious rosy fragrance. The flowers are edible, and you can use the leaves for cordials and teas too.' It flowers until the end of November too.
7. Match your fall window box to your home's exterior
If you love the idea of personalizing your fall window box ideas to match the exterior of your home you will be spoilt for choice as there are so many ideas to choose from. 'External features such as window ledges, window frames and window boxes can all be painted with the same shade of masonry paint to create a uniform look,' says Matthew Brown, technical consultant at Sadolin & Sandtex (opens in new tab).
A smart look like this demands smart planting to go with it. Some of the best plants for window boxes include hebe and thyme as they can be clipped into naturally compact balls. Mix in some pale lemon primroses to add a touch of color that's a perfect fit with a muted color palette.
If you're working your way through your fall gardening checklist be sure to check over your window boxes to see if they need a fresh coat of paint to better set off a new planting display.
8. Make a fall planting display pop against black
Fall window boxes can be hung from fences, walls and sheds too, so this is your opportunity to frame your best displays against a dramatic backdrop of color. At this year's Chelsea Flower Show we spotted countless black-painted garden fences, which make the perfect canvas to let your window box planting take center stage.
'Bringing black in as a color for containers really gives you that lovely, modern feel,' says Marcus Eyles, horticultural director at Dobbies Garden Centres (opens in new tab). Pair black window boxes with pink planting for a color combo that pops every time.
9. Choose plants that will last through fall and beyond
Choose a vibrant color palette for your fall window box if you like more impact from your planting. Deep tones of pink are a good option as it's easy to match up different varieties of plant in the same colorway, plus of course pink always makes an impact.
Easy going winter heather should be central to your fall window box ideas and the good news is it comes in a multitude of pink shades to choose from. With evergreen foliage and pretty, long-lasting bell-shaped flowers heather offers an instant lift and is readily available in garden centres.
Try mixing heather with another window box classic like cyclamen, which also comes in a huge range of pink tones and is equally long lasting so it's a good fit.
10. Double the effect by layering up the look
For pops of jewel-bright velvety color you can't beat a combination of violas and anemones. 'I passionately recommend this winter and spring-flowering pair for any sheltered window box,' says Sarah Raven. 'The lovely viola will flower soon after planting and continues for month after month, joined by this new huge saucer-flowered anemone from late winter to early summer.'
Choose a highly scented variety of viola that's winter and spring flowering like Viola cornuta 'Phantom'. They are perfect for a window ledge, doorstep pots and other containers. Violas prefer cool, protected, partial shade, especially in summer months with moist, but free-draining soil or compost.
The pink variety of Anemone coronaria 'Jerusalem Pink' should be planted outside in early to mid fall in mild areas and under cloches for spring flowering. 'This excelled in our window box trial, looking good for months,' says Sarah. 'With this variety of anemone, the flowers just keep on coming.'
What can I plant in a window box in fall?
When choosing plants for your fall window box display, keep in mind the hardiness zones for where you live. Pick plants that look healthy with a compact bushy shape.
Marcus Eyles from Dobbies says that early fall is the perfect time to refresh your garden with colorful blooms. 'Bring some of the season’s signature warm colors, such as ochre and orange, to your outdoor space. Even add some purple, pink and white to really catch the eye with seasonal plants like anemones and hebe.
'Redecorate your garden by refreshing window boxes with seasonal plants such as pansies, violas and wallflowers that will last throughout winter and brighten up your garden during the colder months. Make sure you reposition them near your doorway in late fall so you can appreciate their cheerful flowers.'
Sarah Raven suggests planting mint in window boxes, as well as ornamental sage like Salvia viridis ‘Blue’, which lasts right into autumn in mild gardens. 'Try Rosemary prostratus too, which has cascading, evergreen foliage or ‘Tuscan Blue’, which flowers in late winter and early spring and sometimes again in fall. Whether for one large window box, or a succession of several over the front on the sunny side of your house, this combination would be perfectly on trend and beautiful.'
Lifestyle journalist Sarah Wilson has been writing about gardens since 2015. She's written for Gardeningetc.com, Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Easy Gardens and Modern Gardens magazines. Having studied introductory garden and landscape design, she is currently putting the skills learned to good use in her own space where the dream is establishing a cutting garden.
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