Installing Self Watering Window Boxes

What You'll Need
1/4 -inch drill bit
1/2 -inch drill bit
Hanger bolts
3/8-inch nuts and washers
PVC pipe
PVC couplings
PVC cap
Pipe sealer
Window box
Window box insert
Tape measure

Window boxes accent the home in beautiful ways. The only problem you’ll face with a window box is remembering to water the plants inside it. Flowers in window boxes need be watered more frequently than those planted in the ground. However, leaving too much water on the root system can drown the flowers. The solution is to install a self-watering window box. In this type of planter, the water is stored in the bottom and gradually feeds the plants as the soil dries out and oxygenates. Follow the simple steps below to install your own self-watering window box.

Step 1 – Buy PVC

Measure the inside length and width of the window box. Choose PVC pipe small enough so you can have two pieces side-by-side, including corner couplings. If installing several window boxes, you’ll need more pipe, couplings and caps.

Step 2 – Drill for Window Box

Drill 3 holes to the back of the window box with a ½-inch bit. Each hole needs to be 2 inches from the top. The first hole is in the center. Add another hole 2 inches from the left and right sides. Place a hanger bolt in each hole. Hold the box where you want it, and hammer the bolts to mark the wall. Use the drill and create holes in the wall of the house at the marks you made.

Step 3 – Create the Watering System

The self-watering system is fairly simple to make, but you need to accurately size it first. Attach the cap to one end and a corner to the other. Place the pipe over the window box. Position it so the coupling will fit comfortably in the box. Measure the length difference, and then remove the coupling and cut the pipe down to this size. Fit it again to double check. Attach the extra length and repeat this fitting process.

Turn the second coupler so that it points up, and then place another length of pipe. Cut the pipe so that the top of it is even with the lip of the window box. Remove the pieces and apply the pipe sealer to each piece, and then connect them again. Use the drill fitted with a ¼-inch bit to drill several holes along the 2 lengths of the PVC pipe (not the cap, couplers or vertical piece). Insert a wick in each hole. Cut them so that 2 inches is above the pipe.

Step 4 – Install the Window Box

Install the hanger bolts to the holes you made in the outside wall, and then slide the window box in place. Install the washers and nuts, and tighten. Place the PVC system in the bottom, and then fill it with water. Place the insert with your plants inside the window box. As the soil dries out, it soaks up water from the wick. The vertical pipe allows the air to continue to flow, which creates a vacuum that compels the water to the wicks.