General gardening topics

How to choose & plant windowboxes & troughs

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After recently planting up this strawberry planter and alpine rockery planter, I decided to plant two new window troughs with summer basket plants so I decided to put together this guide on how to plant wall troughs to help anyone do the same.

To give you an idea, the picture below is two of my newly planted wall troughs after planting. They do look a little sparse at first but it’s important they have plenty of room to grow. Next, I will be extending my water system from my raised beds to these wall troughs too.

Newly planted wall troughs

And this is only after around 5 weeks and they still have plenty of growing to do over summer. I’ve still not quite had a chance to extend my watering system just yet. Back to how to plant a wall mounted trough starting with what you need.

Wall troughs after only 5 weeks

What you will need

  • Your chosen windowboxes or troughs
  • Moss Liner or real moss if you have a trough with an open front like mine are
  • Quality tub and basket compost (I also like to add more water retaining granules and slow release fertiliser to mine but this is optional but recommended)
  • Your choice of basket plants

Choosing which plants to include

This is very much a personal choice, we all like different plants but there are a few basic things to consider when choosing. Firstly, basket plants are usually sold as upright and trailing.

You want to be choosing upright basket plants to plant on the top and towards the back of the trough. I usually plant a large pelargonium geranium in the centre. You will want to plant some trailers around the edge so that they trail over the edge of the trough.

For my troughs, I decided to plant 9 basket plants that were in small 9cm (3.5 inch) pots and a single large geranium for the centre. The basket plants I chose included surfina, verbena, nemesia, trailing geranium and Bidens.

The plants I used to plant a wall planter

How to plant the wall trough

If you have an open fronted trough or wall manger like I did, you will probably have to line the front with basket liner or moss to hold the compost. Some wall mangers already come with liners too. You need to decide if you’re going to plant the front and top like I do or just the top. Personally I always plant the front and top as it looks amazing so this is what I do in this guide.

Add some water retaining granules and slow release fertiliser to your compost

First, do yourself a favour and get some water retaining granules and slow release fertiliser and mix it with your compost at the recommended rate on the packaging. I like to use a good quality premium basket compost made by my local nursery. It already has slow release fertiliser and water retaining granules but I like to add a little more.

Wall trough half filled with compost and then the basket plants carefully positions through the frame

So once you have your liner in position, I usually half fill the trough/manger with compost about halfway up and then cut small slits in the liner and carefully pass the basket foliage through as shown in the picture above.

Positioning basket plants on top of compost on wall trough to decide how best to plant them

Next, you fill the rest of the trough up with compost to just below the rim and then I like to position the rest of the basket plants whilst still in their pots on the compost to decide how I want them positioned.

Planted wall trough ready to hang on wall
Newly planted wall trough

Finally, I then plant the rest of the basket plants as shown above and then hang them on the wall as shown below

Newly planted wall trough now fastened to wall

This is that same wall trough only 5-6 week later, as you can see I’m really pleased with it!

Wall trough 5 weeks after planting with summer basket plants
5 weeks after planting

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

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