A window box so pretty, even your German neighbors will envy you

A window box so pretty, even your German neighbors will envy you

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

Germany’s tidy, chocolate-box villages are a sight to see in any season, but never more so than during the warm months of the year, when all that picturesque-ness is set off with a profusion of growing green, from arches dripping with grape-laden vines to ancient stone walls covered in trailing ivy.

But there’s something about a well-kept property set off with window boxes filled with bright cascades of trailing geraniums that has the power to stop all lovers of blossoming beauty dead in their tracks as they gasp with joy and reach for their cameras.

While that oh-so-German, charming look will take some time, effort and money to reproduce, it’s not outside the realm of possibility, even for gardeners of mediocre talent. Here’s what you need to know to plant geraniums that will not only thrive, but trail so beautifully that even your German neighbors might ask you to reveal your secrets.

  • If you go out and buy a brand new window box, you will need to puncture a couple of small drainage holes in it. A few good whacks with a closed pair of scissors or a screwdriver will do the trick. The holes need be no larger than the size of a coin.
  • Should you be using a box from a previous season, be sure to give it a thorough wash to remove any mossy growth, bug larvae or other undesirable residual matter.
  • Cover the bottom of the window box with a shallow layer of gravel or broken ceramic pot shards. This will support the box’s ability to drain and prevent rotting of the flowers at their roots.
  • Dump fresh potting soil into the box to within about 2 inches of the rim. Be sure to break up any large clots of soil with your (gloved) hands. Soil labeled as “Geranien- und Balkonblumenerde” is exactly the product you’re after. The word “Nährstoff” indicates the presence of fertilizer.
  • Purchase healthy geraniums with multiple stems of still-green buds at your local nursery, DIY or discount store. You’ll note geraniums are sold in two varieties, stehende (standing) and hängende (hanging). The names “Cascade” or “Ville de Paris” also refer to the hanging type.
  • For maximum effect, plant a few standing plants on the side of the box that will face the window, alternating them with the hanging variety on the street-facing side.
  • When removing the plants from their plastic pots, twist carefully or cut off the pots with scissors in order to leave the root structure as intact as possible. Once freed, massage the roots to loosen them up; they will find it that much easier to expand into the new soil.
  • Plant the geraniums approximately 8 to 10 inches apart from one another, placing the ones that are meant to dangle slightly at an outward facing angle.
  • Geraniums are sometimes sold with a plastic ring that’s meant to support them. Cut it off carefully with a pair of scissors to prevent damage to the plant.
  • Tamp down the soil with a light hand and keep adding soil until it reaches to within an inch or so of the rim of the window box. You may find you need to add a little soil to the box throughout the growing season.
  • Geraniums are sun-loving plants, and they’ll thrive just as long as they receive a minimum of six hours or so of sun per day. The more the sun, the more blooms will appear throughout the season.
  • Your plants will need watering on a daily basis; on the other hand, they should survive if you happen to skip town for a long weekend. Better yet, invest in those pretty glass self-watering bulbs and travel without a care.
  • Once after planting and then every couple weeks or so, treat your plants to some water mixed with fertilizer. “Blumendünger” is a fertilizing liquid that’s meant to be cut with water—usually around half a capful for every two liters of water. It’s sold in green plastic bottles with a red or yellow cap.
  • Your hanging geraniums will do best in a place where they won’t get whipped around by the wind and ideally, they should be protected overhead in the event of a driving rain.

So there you have it! The combination of buying the right type of plants at the outset, planting at an angle, plenty of sun, regular waterings and the use of the fertilizing agent from time to time are sure to bring about the results you desire. Happy gardening!

 

Subscribe to our Stripes Europe newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, helpful PCS tips, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Europe
Pinterest: Stars and Stripes Europe
Instagram: @StarsandStripeseurope

Related Content

Recommended Content

Around the Web