Succulent Window Box 2006

Growing succulents in the window box on the fire escape portion of my rooftop garden has become a tradition — most likely because they are just about the only plants that can survive the intense sun, heat, and drought. The deck is fully exposed to all sorts of harsh conditions but the fire escape area takes it to another level with black metal railings that absorb the sun’s rays throughout the day. And of course I had to go and make it worse by installing a galvanized metal window box to boot.

I try and mix up the plantings every year with the one requirement that the plants can survive. Plants that make it through both the summer and winter are given an easy retirement in less sunny pastures. I was shocked to discover a lavender from last year’s box still kicking it this spring.

From the Front:

    Clockwise from right front: Sedum reflexum ‘Blue Spruce’, a sedum that keeps coming up all over the place, Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, Sedum acre ‘Golden Acre’, Sempervivum, Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’. Hidden Behind: Sempervivum and Sedum album ‘Coral Carpet.

From the Side:
Succulent Window box

Previous Boxes: 2005, 2004.

Future Boxes: 2007

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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9 thoughts on “Succulent Window Box 2006

  1. I’m excited to see others like myself don’t always have the option of having a giant lawn to plant a garden in. I live in philadelphia.. on the third floor of a nice enough building. Out my window is a blacktop square roof.. which we can climb out on and hang out.. we put out some christmas lights and lawn chairs. Because of the black top it gets pretty brutal up there but the breeze is nice. I wanted a garden tho.. so I got some terra cotta pots and went to work. Suprisingly my plants are doing pretty well! I have some annuals which are doing well. I planted some sunflowers, pansies, mint, catnip and basil from seeds and they have all sprouted. And recently I gave some cherry tomato and roma tomato seeds a shot. I was curious if you had any other ideas for plants I could do on the roof. It does get very hot out there but only for the first portion of the day and then the buildings bring on the shade. We water them one to two times a day and I usually fill the pot til it comes out of the bottom. Just to ensure they won’t dry out that quick. What can I do in the winter for my plants?


  2. I ran into your website from google. I would appreciate if you could tell me where I can buy the galvanized rectangular windowbox. Please send your response to



  3. To Andy

    Ikea has galvanized window box and frame for sale.

    Hardware stores, feed stores, farm supply stores, have galvanized pails and tubs (not rectangular though) or may have contacts who could frabricate something for you.

    DIY books from the librabry can show you how do do your own…how hard can it be?

    Shop class in local schools or trade schools may undertake a project for you.

    Google Search.


  4. Can’t find the galvanized window box at can you post the link? i found ones at other sites but they’re not at nice as yours. Thanks!

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