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A flower box is a planter box which is used to grow flowers, usually for decorative purposes, although a flower box can also be stocked with edible flowers and herbs. Flower boxes are often used in environments where gardening space is limited, such as urban areas, and they can be constructed in a variety of ways. Many hardware and gardening stores carry flower boxes or blueprints for making them, and they can also be ordered directly from companies which manufacture them.
Although the name suggests that a flower box is always built in a box shape, flower boxes can actually be constructed in a variety of shapes, including circles, hexagons, and octagons. In all cases, the box has holes to promote drainage, and a solid construction which ensures that the box will not fail when it is loaded with soil. Wood, brick, metal, and plastic can all be used in flower box construction, with wood being a classical material of choice.
In some cases, flower boxes are installed under windows, in which case they are often known as window boxes. Window boxes are especially popular in the city, where people may have no space at all to garden. Flower boxes can also be used to line decks, sidewalks, and porches, installed along rooflines, or established in a variety of other creative locations.
Many people like to grow annual flowers in their flower boxes, removing the flowers as soon as they start to die back and replacing them with new flowering plants. This practice ensures that the flower box is always filled with something brightly colored, alive, and green. Other people may prefer to establish perennials in their flower boxes, trimming and shaping the plants as they mature to keep them looking neat and tidy. Flower boxes can also be used for bulbs, trailing vines, and growing plants from seed.
When selecting or building a flower box, it is a good idea to think about how the box will be used. For example, a window box should include equipment for mounting the box below a window, and for providing a ventilation gap between the box and the structure, so that rot does not emerge. Flower boxes which are going to be used on decks, porches, and sidewalks should be elevated, so that they have lots of room to drain. When a flower box sits flush with a flat surface, water can become trapped, promoting rot. Flower boxes may also need to be weighted or bolted to secure them in bad weather and to prevent theft.
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