Frugal Gardening: Window Boxes From Seed

As prices continue to soar, many homeowners are looking for ways to save money without giving up the things they enjoy. Starting your window box and container flowers from seed is one way to save money without sacrificing joy. I save hundreds of dollars every year by growing my own flowers and forgoing the convenience of nursery grown flowers and baskets.

Start seeds inside: Many flowers, such as wave petunias, lobelia and alyssum, can be started inside in late winter or early spring to produce vigorous young plants ready for filling those boxes and baskets when the weather warms. Check the seed packet to start them at the proper time. Here in Maine, February marks the beginning of seed starting for those that require a long growing period.

Transplanting: Transplant the seedlings to the final container in the spring once the danger of frost has passed in your area. Water thoroughly to saturate the soil and place the container in the desired location.

Plant seeds in the container: Move baskets and containers inside the home and start seeds right in the final container. This eliminates the mess and fuss of transplanting seedlings and avoids issues with transplant shock to seedlings.

Sow seeds in outside boxes: Fast-growing flowers, like nasturtiums, marigolds, mini-sunflowers, cosmos and zinnias, can be planted directly in the window box or container as soon as the weather warms outside. Blooms may be delayed slightly, but the savings you reap will be well worth the sacrifice.


  • Be mindful of the predicted size of the plant at maturity.
  • Note the days to maturity and blooming time to ensure your plants will bloom when expected.
  • Pay attention to the flower color when planting seeds.
  • Plan for several sizes and shapes – both in flowers and foliage – to add interest to your window boxes.
  • Shop for seeds in discount stores where you can often buy an entire package of seeds for pennies.
  • Buy bulk seeds at your local seed supply store. They often sell common seeds and allow you to purchase only what you intend to use.

Planting your own flowers and filling your baskets and containers yourself takes a little extra effort, but the savings can be dramatic. This year, I will grow most of the flowers from seed – but do intend to allow myself the luxury of one or two special plants that I’m not able to grow at home.


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