The flower boxes of Austria

Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and in specific Tirol… you name it, when you see these houses you cannot help but stop for a photo.  All are beautifully decorated with flower boxes overflowing with flower color. 

If there is one thing I admire about the Austrians (apart from my very long list of wonderful Austrian things), it is their ability to do window box displays.  The same goes for Switzerland and Germany

All of their buildings just come to life with these wonderful boxes of real growing flowers.  Yes, it is all real. (well mostly)

It is not only homes but also hotels and restaurants, that are welcoming their guests with these wonderful flower displays.

Flowerboxes in Austria

There are definitely more reasons to visit Switzerland and Austria during summertime.  Yes, the snow is beautiful in winter, but in summer the lush green mountain slopes and pretty flowers, definitely make for an awesome combination.

Bergwald - Alpbach, Austria

You need to visit in Summer

Hotel Gletschergarten - Grindelwald, Switzerland
Gstaad Switzerland Traditional Guest House

What type of flowers do they use?

Mostly it is Petunias and Geraniums / Pelargoniums.  Many use the ‘cascade’ or ‘trailing’ geraniums which are also sometimes referred to as ‘European Alpine Geraniums’.  For height the normal Geraniums are used and maybe some Alyssum to give a more ‘trailing’ effect.  The colors red and pink are very popular as it really makes a spectacular display.

So what is the secret?  Can you have this spectacular show at home?  The answer is yes definitely.  You can bring Austria home to your own balcony with a beautiful flower box display.  You can do it:  Austria @Home is easier than you might think !

Let’s re-create those magical moments of an Austrian or Swiss holiday at home.

All Inclusive Hotel Bachmayerhof - Uderns, Austria

Let’s start with the box

If you buy a wooden box, it is a good idea to get one with a plastic insert, as it will protect the wood against rot.

Other boxes (like plastic containers) usually have draining holes, but do make sure they are open before you get planting.

I sometimes find that the drainage holes are too big, then you can just add some landscape fabric to the bottom. This will prevent the soil from seeping out.

Different Options

There are loads of different types of flower boxes available in stores around the world, that will fit on any balcony; even a small city balcony.

You can play around with color as well.  If you love pink containers, go for it.  The fist rule is that your flower box must make you happy.  Thereafter it should impress your guests.

Hotel Pension Wiesenhof - Kaltenbach, Austria

Get a good quality potting soil

I prefer Proven Winners’ Potting Soil (not sponsored).  It is specially formulated to produce vibrant flowers and strong growth.  Has excellent air porosity and drainage and is perfect for outdoor gardening.

Now the fun starts.  Lets bring Austria home. . . and Switzerland. .  . and. . .

Go to your local plant shop or nursery and pick all the geraniums/pelargoniums and petunias you love.  (I love this part.)  Your local nursery will stock the type of plants suitable for your area.  In other words, plants that will easily grow in your climate.  Play with colors.  In my opinion, repeating a color sometimes have a bigger impact, but you can also make a huge splash with ‘crazy colors’.  It is all up to you:  what you prefer.

If you are out of ideas or do not know where to go with the color choices, just copy one of the ‘plantings’ on these photos.  Bring Switzerland, Germany and Austria home, by just copying the photos.  It is easy and you can do it.  Even if you are just a beginner gardener.

There are 2 Big Secrets to successful flower boxes:

The 1st Secret:

The 3 point secret to any great flower box:  Use a ‘thriller’, a ‘spiller’, and a ‘filler’.  That is the easy recipe.

  • The Thriller should be an upright plant (geranium\pelargonium) in a bright color that will be kind of your “show stopper”.  Giving a bit of height to the flower box as well.
  • The Spiller in this case now would be the trailing geranium or petunias. (‘Pelargonium Peltatum’ is an example of a  perennial trailing plant.)  These are the plants that they use in a  huge amount in their flower boxes.
  • The Filler, is the ivy.  Strategically placed to spill over the edge but also to fill any gaps.  

And this is not only for our ‘bring Austria home’ flower boxes.  This formula works on any container planting.

geranium pelargonium malva

The 2nd Secret

Plant Food, Plant Food, and more Plant Food.  Yes, if you don’t feed them, they will not grow to be as beautiful and flower in such abundance.  So this is actually (apart from regular watering), almost the most important step.

In my opinion use a liquid fertilizer specifically made for flowering plants, which you can easily spray or just water in.  It just makes the job so much easier.

However, having said all of this, you don’t need 10 different types of flowers.  Often the most spectacular displays are those window boxes that have only one kind of flower in it – but in abundance.

Now just make sure your camera is ready to go.  You might want to take lots of photos of your pride garden. 

Now just add the music and you’ll have your very own little piece of Austria or Switzerland, on your balcony.


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