A small garden around the base always adds curb appeal to a traditional wooden or metal post mailbox. Keep in mind that whatever you plant in your mailbox garden needs to be hardy since this area of the yard is often subjected to people walking their dogs, storm-water runoff, street salt from winter snow, traffic fumes and other less garden-friendly factors. At the same time, you don’t want to plant something sharp and spiky, like a yucca that could injure someone (like your mail carrier) or scratch car surfaces.
Flowering climbing vines can be an ideal natural decoration for the mailbox and Callahan singles out clematis as a favorite choice because it is a “super simple, easy bang-for-your-buck. The only issue is if they do well in that spot, they will require a little bit of maintenance because they grow quickly and you do need to tie them up so they don’t cover the mailbox.” ‘Albina Plena’ ,‘Blue Dancer’ and ‘Pink Flamingo’ are all good examples of winter-hardy, disease-resistant clematis.
Depending on the climate zone where you live, here are some other suggestions for flowering vines:
- Carolina jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens) has evergreen leaves and produces trumpet-shaped flowers that are strongly scented and attract pollinators.
- The sweet pea vine (Lathyrus latifolus) produces flowers that look like tiny orchids and attracts butterflies and bees.
- The morning glory loves full sun, blooms all summer long and makes an ideal climber for walls, trellises and mailboxes with “Sunspots’ and ‘Heavenly Blue’ as two popular cultivars.
- The black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) is a striking ornamental plant that typically produces orange flowers with dark centers and grows well in southern regions of the U.S. such as Texas and Florida.
Callahan recommends petunias “around the mailbox base if you want that constant pop of color.” Some homeowners might do a single annual color scheme for their mailbox garden, as with petunias which can make quite a pleasing visual impact in a mass planting. Other hardy, colorful annuals to consider are marigolds, vinca, portulaca, coleus and zinnias.
The beauty of perennials, of course, is that they come back seasonally and require less maintenance than annual plantings. Callahan, who resides in the Chicago area, suggests lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantine), a dense, low-growing, drought-resistant plant with white, woolly foliage.
“A good one that is green and variegated is lilyturf,” she states. “Another favorite is called threadleaf coreopsis and it is bright yellow. That’s particularly pretty with a combination of a salvia, so you’d have the purple with the bright yellow.”
You can find some tips about choosing plants for mailbox gardening following this video.