Window Box Edibles

Improve your views with window boxes brimming with garden-fresh flavors. Learn which edible plants grow best in boxes.

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Photo By: Photo courtesy of Ball Horticultural Company

Photo By: Williams- Sonoma at

Photo By: Gardener's Supply Co. at

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©2013, Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ball Horticultural Company

Photo By: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds at

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Photo By: Photo courtesy of National Garden Bureau

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Herbal Perspective

Keep fresh herbs close at hand with a wooden window box filled with culinary favorites, like mint, cilantro, tricolor sage and spearmint. An edging of thyme alternating with silver thyme finishes the box with a flavorful flourish. Wood gives a rustic look to any window box garden. Untreated lumber offers an inexpensive option for a wooden window box. Treat wood to extend its life with two coats of cheap cooking oil. You’ll detect an odor the first season that will fade in subsequent years.

Window Box Edible Garden

Look for window boxes that come with a sturdy stand when mounting a box beneath a window isn’t possible. This box bursts with flavors that can season salads and soups or spice up the grill. Plants include, left to right: Tuscan kale, basil, pansy, sage, leaf lettuce, lavender, eggplant and rosemary.

Leaf Lettuce for Harvesting

Fill your salad bowl with homegrown lettuce from a window box. Using the cut-and-come-again harvest technique, you can enjoy a healthy, homegrown lettuce supply for several months. Plant lettuce seed thickly in rows. Within each row, snip alternating clumps to harvest, leaving a short stub. After harvesting, apply a water-soluble fertilizer to jump-start stub re-sprouting.

Indoor Window Box Herbs

Create your own twist on traditional window boxes by mounting yours on the inside of a bright, sunny window. Many herbs grow well indoors, such as basil, sage, rosemary and thyme. For the most flavorful leaves, provide the brightest light you can.

Herb Window Box

The shape of a window box provides the perfect complement to a porch step or low wall. Fill it with herbs that can season a variety of dishes. This box includes lemon thyme, tricolor sage, lemon balm, basil and traditional English thyme.

'Terenzo' Tomato

Select cherry tomatoes developed for use in containers to turn your window box into a tomato garden. 'Terenzo' is a 2011 All-America Selections winner that yields crack-resistant fruit over a short time span. Plants are tidy, reaching 16 to 20 inches tall and wide. To savor tomatoes over a longer harvest window, plant 'Lizzano', 'Topsy Tom' or 'Sweet ‘n Neat' cherry tomatoes.


Grow beets from seed to savor the sugary sweet roots. Beets accent a window box design with colorful leaves that are also edible. Don’t harvest too many leaves if you want roots to fatten up. Good beet varieties for the tight confines of a window box include Little Egypt and Early Red Ball.

'Cool Wave Frost' Pansy

Tuck a few edible flowers into your window box to have tasty, eye-catching blooms available for munching. With pansy and its cousin viola, you can eat the entire flower—all parts are safe to consume. With other edible flowers, like calendula, rose, Gem marigolds or nasturtium, eat only the flower petals.

Carrots for Containers

Sow seeds for carrots that form round or short, cylindrical roots. Round types include Thumbelina, Atlas, Romeo, Parmex and Parisienne. Nantes type carrots have shorter, cylindrical roots. This group includes Danvers Half Long, Chantenay Red Core and Little Finger.

Patio Baby Eggplant

Include a Patio Baby Eggplant in your edible window box, and you’ll be rewarded with bowls of 2- to 3-inch diameter fruit. Other eggplant varieties that yield well in containers include Fairy Tale (purple and white), Hansel (deep purple), Gretel (white) and Little Finger (deep purple).

Spring Peas

Add dwarf varieties of sugar snap or snow peas to your window box garden. Provide a few twigs for stems to climb, although if you stick with dwarf types, you shouldn’t need an elaborate trellis. Consider adding a short pot-size trellis or tuteur to add height to your window box design. Blooms and stems shoots are edible on early peas.

Cajun Belle Peppers

Small peppers fit neatly in a window box and provide a splash of color—along with a tasty harvest. Cajun Belle peppers offer a just-right blend of sweet flavor and spicy bite that every member of the family will enjoy. This 2010 All-America Selections winner frequently has fruit on the plant in several shades: lime green, orange and bright red.

Mascotte Bean

Most beans need at least 18 inches of soil to produce, but not Mascotte beans. This 2014 All-America Selections winner thrives in shallow soil, yielding plenty of French filet beans that are 5 to 6 inches long. This is a bush-type bean, so it doesn’t need support.


True bulbing onions don’t thrive in a window box setting, but you can harvest plenty of onion flavor by growing shallots, scallions or leeks. With shallots, expect to harvest small bulbs. Harvest scallions or green onions at normal size; pull leeks at a size similar to green onions. All of these oniony plants contrast nicely with leaf lettuces in a window box design.

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