Updated: Dec 31, 2022
Charleston, South Carolina is known far and wide as the city consistently voted the best in the world by readers of many travel magazines. Maybe I’m biased but it’s one of my absolute favs! My ancestors were some of the original colonists and all my life a weekend or week long trip to Charleston has been at least a yearly occurrence if not more. When you think of Chuck-town colorful pastel buildings, great food and buggy rides might come to mind but one of my favorite things are the window boxes!
No where else in America are window boxes so prolific and a trip to Charleston can provide great inspiration to anyone who wants to grow a beautiful window box. Window boxes are great because they take up such a small space that just about any home from a small cottage to a condo can have one. They are marvelous to change out with the seasons to give your home garden instant curb appeal and interest and because they are in the window they become part of your interior as well.
Just about every home or business within the Historic District of Charleston features boxes bursting with exuberant plantings under every first floor window. The combinations are staggering making you think each home owner must hold a horticultural degree. Charleston is a city known for hospitality, stunning architecture and gardens that go back to the very beginning of America so it’s in the blood of these Southerners. As we say in the South, “They get it honest.”
How to Create Stunning Boxes-
Filler, Spillers & Thrillers
Most Charlestonians use three basic plants to create boxes. First they use a filler, a plant that might even be a perennial like ivy that creates the structure of the planting. Then they use a plant that will spill over the sides. Finally they use a thriller, a plant that will create drama. So you need to choose at least three plants to make your box but you can certainly use more than three as most Charlestonians do. Texture is the main star in the boxes of Charleston. Various leaf shapes from glossy to grassy to wirery all find their way in along with splashes of color from flowers like begonia and petunias which will last through the hot and extremely humid weather.
The Secret to Growing Boxes-
Sun or Shade & Drainage
It's easer than you think…
The two most important considerations for any window box are light and drainage. First take a look at your site and decide if it is sunny, partly sunny or shady. More than anything this will determine the plants you choose. Second make sure you have drainage holes in your boxes along with a drain course of stone in the bottom or some Styrofoam if weight is a concern. Because your plants are in a container make sure to feed them at least twice a month and check them morning and evening for moisture.
Put Charleston on your bucket list and be sure to wander the tiny alleys and streets on foot. I promise the secret gardens and charming window boxes of Charleston never disappoint. Message me for my favorite restaurants and shops.