Window boxes can be difficult to maintain once the weather cools off, but with the right flowers and filler, you can wow visitors to your home all season long!

I spotted this one below on one of my walks.

A simple but colorful ornamental kale is planted in the center, surrounded by bright gourds and multicolored corn. A few strands of vinca trail over the sides to give dimension and softness to the box. And to bring it all together, a raffia bow puts the finishing touch on the harvest theme!

When you’re picking out your plants, one simple phrase should be the key to your planter or window box: “fillers, spillers and thrillers.”

  • Fillers: Leafy greens will fill the space and complete the look
  • Spillers: Flowers like Creeping Jenny or ivy flow over the sides of the container
  • Thrillers: These plants offer the “wow” factor. Pops of color will draw the visitor’s eye

Fill a window box with these easy and budget-friendly items for a little something different this fall.

ornamental cabbage in the garden
Ornamental cabbage can add beautiful color and fullness to your window box! (Varaporn_Chaisin, Getty Images)

Cabbage and Kale

Explore the many varieties of ornamental cabbage and kale at your local garden center. They’ll stay pretty well into winter and will even get more colorful after a few chilly nights.

Pick kales and cabbages with red and green tones. Then in December, you can simply replace the gourds with greenery and berries for the holidays.

Corn stalks and seasonal gourds
Corn and gourds are in season, so there’ll be plenty for placing in a window box. (AdobeStock ©Bits and Splits/Joanne K Hall, Getty Images)

Harvest Vegetables

For the harvest veggies, try your local farmer’s market or pumpkin patch (or even the grocery store).

Add a sheaf of cornstalks and seasonal gourds for height and depth to your window box. For a perennial treat, pick up gourds made of plastic or resin to reuse next year!

Hedera helix or Devil's ivy at local garden center
Plant ivy around the edges for an overflowing fall flower box. (Lana_M, Getty Images)


Spillers, also known as trailing plants, soften hard edges and vertically add green to a window box.

Plant periwinkle (vinca), ivy, or creeping euonymus around the edge of your fall flower box.

Orange and purple fall mums
Mums can add a pop of color to make your window box stand out! (AdobeStock ©Tamela)

Colorful Blooms

For a larger box, tuck in a few asters or mums for a burst of blooms.

Mums are versatile and come in a variety of colors, from yellows to reds to pinks.

It’s best to plant mums in cool weather, as they usually bloom in the late summer/fall and again in spring if they’ve wintered over.

Dried flowers, including lavender
Dried flowers add some muted fall colors and texture to a window box. (Steph Kiely Photography, Getty Images)

Dried Flowers

As you clean up your perennial garden, save some dried cuttings for your window boxes.

Yarrow, sedum, black-eyed Susans and crape myrtle all have an interesting texture and seed heads.

Further Reading

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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