By Julie Martens Forney
For early spring containers that pop, plant violas. These miniature pansy cousins offer a rainbow of flower colors and patterns, and an undemanding nature that stands up to early- spring frosts. Few flowers compete with the cute factor of a whiskered viola petal.
A fun way to showcase viola plants is in painted terra cotta pots. A quick coat of paint brings new life to old pots and looks great as it weathers. Mix and match pot colors to complement viola blooms.
Pair Violas with Cool-Season Annuals
Violas open tiny blossoms that fit neatly into any spring container design, and are naturals paired with cool-season annuals such as Martha Washington geraniums and sweet alyssum. Yellow violas have the strongest fragrance. Planting them with sweet alyssums and petunias creates a fragrant spring container garden. Hardened-off petunias withstand late-spring cold snaps and continue to flower all summer long.
Try Violas with Perennials
Step into the world of perennials to find candidates for spring containers that you can add to your garden later. Violas play well with early-spring-flowering perennials, including columbine, candytuft, bleeding heart, and woodland phlox. This pot also includes pansy flowers, which combine effortlessly with violas.
Keep Violas Looking Good
- Tuck viola plants into soil that includes slow-release fertilizer, especially in spring containers.
- Keep soil consistently moist but not soggy.
- Place your pots in a spot where they receive morning sun and some afternoon shade.
- Remove spent blooms, using a pair of scissors to clip many stems at once.
- Trim plants when stems get lanky, cutting back to a few inches tall.
- To encourage new growth and flowers, fertilize with liquid food after trimming.
- Toss violas when they go dormant, which usually occurs when temperatures surge above 70°F. At this point swap spring container plantings for summer annuals.
Container gardening isn’t just for summer. Try on some of these ideas from Lowe’s 10 regional gardening contributors.Learn More