Why the Mailbox is a Great Place for a Garden

Interested in giving your house more curb appeal? A good place to start, literally, is by making your curb more appealing – at least that part of it around the mailbox.

This prime little piece of real estate is a front-and-center feature of many yards and one that can give a friendly, warm, and colorful welcome if it's dressed up a little.

Mailbox garden

The mailbox is a perfect place for a garden - and adds great curb appeal to your home. Nkbimages / iStock / Getty Images Plus

4 tips for a mailbox garden

  1. A mailbox garden is typically out in the open, in full sun, and prone to extra-hot summer air wafting from asphalt roads and concrete sidewalks. This calls for some of the most heat- and wind-tough plants you can find.
  2. Mailboxes often aren’t close to a hose. So unless you're OK with lugging water buckets or dragging hoses, it's a site for some of the most drought-tough plants, too.
  3. Mailbox soil is often compacted and composed of poor-quality fill in addition to being sunbaked, dry, and salty. Help all of those by working a couple of inches of compost or similar organic matter into the loosened 10 or 12 inches of existing soil before planting. 
  4. Stick with "well behaved" plants, i.e. ones that aren't going to overtake & outgrow the mailbox, and make it difficult for carriers to deliver your mail.

Picking mailbox plants

Mailbox gardens are by nature small, which calls for relatively small plant choices. Some of the best compact, drought-tough, and salt-tolerant choices include:

  • Ornamental grasses: Blue fescue, dwarf fountain grass, and in a bit of shade, Japanese forest grass.
  • Perennials: dwarf reblooming daylilies, dwarf catmint, dwarf Russian sage, salvia, lamb’s ear, betony, butterfly weed, dianthus, threadleaf coreopsis, gaillardia, and hardy succulents, such as creeping sedum and hens and chicks.
  • Annuals: marigolds, dwarf zinnias, vinca, portulaca, blue salvia, geraniums, and bidens.
  • Flowering shrubs: dwarf spirea, dwarf chokeberry, and dwarf, sterile butterfly bushes. Clematis is a good choice for a flowering vining plant to train with string, netting, or a trellis up the mailbox itself.
  • Spring bulbs: dwarf daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips.
  • Evergreens: dwarf junipers, dwarf Hinoki cypress, dwarf pine, boxwoods, and dwarf nandina.

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