I am from the tropics, to be specific, Mumbai. One of my windows (4ft X 4ft ie. 1.33m X 1.33m approximately) has an iron grill (about 6in --- 15cm --- square) and gets a lot of sun.

I want to plant a plant (or several plants) that will:

  • Be hardy --- survive a few days of no watering
  • Cover the whole window providing a shade (It need not be one plant, it can be multiple plants even in separate containers)
  • May be, generate some produce (fruits/ leaves/ flowers, etc.)
  • Be aesthetically pleasing

I want the total weight (container(s), soil, etc) to be as less as possible. So, it will have to be plants with shallow roots (less than 7in or so?)

Please suggest appropriate plant(s).


7" is not a specification for shallow rooted. Most plants, 95% of all plant roots are in the top 6" of soil. Flowers and fruit production should be discounted as reproductive growth needs far far more light than a kitchen window. I would focus on ONE plant, not a few different plants as that will make the PUNCH of your project far greater than a discordant mishmash of different plants.

My suggestion would be Orange Sedge...a lovely grass that would get a foot high that you could trim once in a while like hair; make a ponytail straight up from the center of the potted plant and cut off a few inches. Lovely. Soft yet formal. No flowers you will notice but the bright green streaked with bright orange color. This is considered an ornamental grass, and I love it for pots and have always wanted to try this in my kitchen window (that I do not have right now). Orange Sedge Carex testacea

Carex testacea

You have to use JUST potting soil. No garden soil allowed in pots for potted plants. Raise the bottom of your pots a 1/4 inch off the surface or saucer using bits of tile. Dump excess water. Do not over water; allow to dry out in between watering. Make sure you use a little FERTILIZER. Osmocote 14-14-14 would be perfect. Purchase as one gallon plants from a nursery. Sometimes you might be able to find 4" plants. Consider using a plant TROUGH, a rectangular pot (clay is best, honest) with a tray and you might even want to purchase POT FEET...cute. Nothing but potting soil in the pot. Nothing else added, no rock or gravels at the bottom of the pot. Nothing but vines would provide total shade through that window and they get pretty leggy. This grass is soft and blows in the wind of a desk fan. Beautiful.

EDIT: A sweet little Lorel bird pointed out that I had misread your question. I sure did! I am so sorry. I am attaching my favorite vine as another idea for the OUTSIDE of your window. Grills usually go on the outside?

This vine will need some work on your part because where I've grown it we had winters. You don't, lucky you. This vine's only drawback is that it can grow very quickly very big. Lovely shade, there is not a more hardy vine to my knowledge. It is a perennial so you will have to chop it down once or twice per year. It is a yummy lime green golden color (that changes to dark green in the late summer where I've grown it) and it is called Golden Hops. The flowers are prolific...delicate, dried, Japanese Lantern looking flowers. Yes, you can make beer with this plant and it was wonderful. You do have to chop it down once in a while so it doesn't cover your entire home. Golden Hops

My second choice would be a Kiwi, Actinidia kolomikta, the male boasts green, white and dark pink foliage. Arctic Beauty Kiwi Because you don't have winters you will have to keep this vine from taking over as well.

A third choice would be Bougainvillea Bougainvillea

These three plants I am assuming would be planted in the ground below the window. If you are wanting to plant in a window box a more tender vine; here is 24 to choose from; 24 climbing plants for pots When planting in a pot, even in the Tropics (you lucky dog...I've got cabin fever badly) you MUST use sterilized potting soil.

  • Wow, stormy, Interesting creative idea to have a grass waving in the breeze through your window! ...But I read this question a little differently: that a vine was what was expected, since the question mentioned the grille on the outside of the window. In fact, because there was a limited weight requirement on the whole setup, I thought the plant was going to be an outdoor plant planted outside the window on some kind of ledge or mini-balcony and was meant to climb up the grille outside the window. In other words he wanted to block the intense sunlight from coming into the room.
    – Lorel C.
    Apr 28 '18 at 15:47
  • Well poo...I've done it again! I'll go reread...I am sorry but thank you for so nicely letting me know...what a dufus I can be...
    – stormy
    Apr 28 '18 at 19:35
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    After Lorel set me straight, grins, this is exactly what I pictured...too beautiful! How high is this window off the ground? I would try hops in those pots, using only potting soil. Hops in pots could cover that window just fine. Pots will keep this plant in check. Hops planted in the ground below would easily cover the entire side of your home...and then roof. I love this vine with winters, because it dies out and is easy to chop down and have it start fresh in the spring...In ONE season, I've had hops cover 100 square feet and two trees and almost reach the street over the fence.
    – stormy
    May 1 '18 at 22:42
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    I'd stay with pots. The pot size will be determined by the size of plant you start. The usual size for this plant to buy at a nursery is 1 Gallon...a 6" diameter pot. This can be transplanted into a 3 gallon pot, with potting soil, some Osmocote fertilizer (extended release, this plant is a heavy feeder because it grows so vigorously)...Try two plants. You will have to water them because they are in pots in the heat. You could cover the pots with shade cloth to keep the pot and soil and roots cooler, allow moisture to stay in the soil longer. Do not use potting soil ....
    – stormy
    May 2 '18 at 6:34
  • 1
    ...with fertilizer or water holding gimmicks such as sponges and gels. The pot should be as thick as possible, concrete, sand cast concrete, thick terra cotta clay. This plant will be fun to try, unable to imagine any other plant that is tougher. Pots require your involvement a bit more. Planting in the ground is out of the question. Ask the nursery if they have shade cloth for sale. Might also protect young plants as they get started. Make sure the plants you purchase are used to the out of doors sunlight or we need to talk about acclimatization.
    – stormy
    May 2 '18 at 6:38

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