Basement window wells have an important function: keeping water and dirt out of your basement while letting light in. Most window wells are constructed of galvanized steel and are not attractive to look at when you are in your basement. Putting plants in your window well, whether growing or artificial, will add interest and bring more of the outdoors to your indoor environment. Before deciding which plants to grow in your window well, observe the amount of light the area receives at various times of the day.
Whether your window wells are on the east, west, north or south side of your house, they'll generally be 2 to 3 feet deep, making the sunlight reaching live plants to be predominately filtered. Shade-loving annuals grow fast, are easy to care for and provide color in low-light areas. In containers or planted in the ground of a window well, annuals like impatiens, coleus, begonias, perilla, polka-dot plant, viola and fuchsia can provide a colorful display in your window wells from spring until frost.
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Perennials that grow well in shade may not be as colorful as annuals, but, once established, will provide you with a window well full of foliage and occasional flowers. Over time, perennial plants tend to grow larger and fuller than one-season annuals. Astilbe, with its colorful, soft plumes, paired with pulmonaria and a variety of hosta, will fill your window well with color and interesting foliage. In mild climates with adequate rainfall, ferns, geraniums and helleborus will have you gazing at plants year-round.
Insert a small trellis, line your window well with chicken wire or use a wire tomato cage to grow a vine. Ivy vines thrive in shaded environments and fill your window with thick greenery all year. Clematis and passion flower vine varieties are hardy, shade-tolerant and flower throughout the summer. Jasmine vines can be grown in frost-free regions.
The realism and quality of artificial plants allows you to create a garden in your window well of any type plant you want. Artificial plants can be silk, foam, plastic or any material that is weather-tolerant. Almost any plant imaginable, from orchids to cactus, is available in realistic, artificial form. Using artificial plants to decorate your window wells also lets you change the plants and the design of your well at any time.