Spring is one of the best times to start a container garden. After the long winter, we are all ready for a bit of color in our gardens. Setting out a few cold-tolerant annuals in pots is a quick way to get the garden started while its still a bit too cold to work the ground.
Early Spring Flowers To Plant In Your Container Garden
A good container plant is compact in nature, blooms for an extended period and generally doesn’t mind a bit of crowding. Here are some of the the best spring flowers to plant in your containers this year.
Geraniums are America’s favorite summer flower; however, they can be even more vigorous during the cool days of spring. An old-fashioned plant, geraniums are often included in a cottage garden design, but they are most commonly found in the pots and planters around our homes.
Zonal geraniums are the most widely known variety and are identified by the dark rings that appear on the leaves. Ivy geraniums are a trailing form of this flower and make a pretty display in hanging pots. Position the containers in a sunny area and be sure they receive frequent feedings as all those blooms need a regular source of nutrition. Consistent dead-heading will help to keep the flowers blooming all season long.
2. Sweet Alyssum
Sweet alyssums grow in tight bunches of flowers about 6 inches tall. They have a delightful fragrance attracting both bees and butterflies to your garden. The flowers tend to spread, so they make a terrific filler plant.
The dainty blooms can be found in shades of pink, purple and white. Give them plenty of sunlight and keep the containers well watered for the best show all summer long.
Snapdragons are one of our absolute favorite flowers perhaps due to the curled little mouths that snap open and closed. They are available in many sizes including dwarf, standard or tall varieties. The shorter snapdragons make ideal container plants and will range from eight to fifteen inches tall. They can be started easily from seed if you begin early enough in the season. Blooms will appear about eight to ten weeks after planting.
The flowers appear in tightly bunched spikes on top of sturdy stems which make them a favorite of florists. Snapdragons favor the cool weather of late spring. Blooms will continue to appear as long as the weather doesn’t get too hot. You can buy these pretty flowers in a wide range of colors from softer pink and yellow and to the brighter shades of purple, red and orange.
The upright petals of the Cyclamen add a touch of stately beauty to your front porch. The colors include red, lavender, white, pink and rose. These heart-shaped plants are the perfect expression of the early spring joy we feel to be back in the garden again. They rarely grow more than eight inches high, but the bright colors still make quite the statement in your container garden. Be sure that you plant these in a shady location with a temperature that doesn’t exceed 65 degrees F.
5. Dusty Miller
With it’s soft, fuzzy silver leaves, the dusty miller is often used as a contrasting element in spring containers. Notice how the red in the picture below really stands out against the soft background of the dusty miller leaves. Growing between six to nine inches tall they are best placed at the edge of your garden pots. Dusty millers fair well throughout the season and will grow well into the summer months.
6. Spring Bulbs
A mixture of bulbs can make a beautiful display in the early days of spring. A good way to use extra bulbs that may not have made it into the ground is to plant them up in pots. Daffodils, tulips, and crocus can all be planted in a single larger pot to create a pretty show from early March to April and even May.
Layer your pots with the daffodils on the bottom, tulips in the middle and crocuses on top to maximize the space you have available. Plant your bulbs in the fall and keep them in the garage until the temperatures begin to rise then set them out in the garden or on the porch. Of course, you can also find spring bulbs in full bloom at any of your neighborhood garden shops.
7. Calendula aka the Pot Marigold
The calendula grows from 8 to 24 inches tall. These bright orange and yellow flowers are a sure sign that spring is on its way. Often called the pot marigold, the calendula is easy to take care of and doesn’t mind a bit of chill in the air. In fact, the calendula would rather be on the chilly side of the garden and will continue to bloom until the weather begins to heat up in summer.
8. African Daisy
Brightly colored blooms will bring a burst of color into your spring garden. You can find this pretty annual in almost every color, including red, orange, purple, yellow, white, lavender plus many variations of two or more colors. Also known as Osteospermum, this plant can produce single or double, daisy-like petals.
The African daisy grows well in sun or partial shade. Well suited for containers, they will reach between one and three feet tall. Once the temperature goes above the 60s, the plants will begin to fade and stop blooming, so plant them early in the spring. Removing any old blossoms will encourage branching and regrowth, so keep an eye on these exotic beauties.
9. Pansies and Violas
Pansies and violas are one of the most popular early spring flowers. You can find them in almost every garden center in the earliest days of spring. Pansies are typically larger with three larger petals on top and one pointing down. Violas are smaller with just three petals and grow in tighter bunches.
These early spring favorites are quite short, growing just six to eight inches tall. They can handle the cold weather well, including a light frost. Available in a wide variety of colors the standouts are always the tri-color variety with their perky little faces that seem to smile up at you. The pansies and violas are sure to bring a cheery air to your patio pots.
No list of container plants would be complete without the petunia. What makes the petunia such a standout choice are the big, showy blooms they produce. In fact, the petunia puts on such a show you might not even be able to see your containers behind all that color.
Speaking of color, you can buy just about any shade of petunia you choose. Purple and pink are by far the most popular. Around the fourth of July you can expect to see the all American red, white and blue petunias hanging in just about every retail center. The trailing varieties are particularly well-suited for containers as they will drape prettily over the edge of your pots.
If you are ready for winter to be a thing of the past, creating a container garden is one of the best ways to welcome the Spring season.