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Southeast Gardening: Spring Fling Containers

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

These plant combinations offer a burst of spring color in your Southeastern garden.

purple pansies

By Glenn DiNella

Pansies and sweet flag in concrete planter

In most parts of the Southeast, we try to get a start on our spring containers by planting them in fall. Although plants might struggle a bit through the cold months, at least they get their roots established—so when spring arrives, they really take off.

A few purple pansies and a tuft of variegated sweet flag (Acorus spp.) fill an old pot with a lichen-crusted patina. As this container demonstrates, you should be forewarned—squirrels and chipmunks relish digging in containers. If you don’t want to lose the bulbs you plant, treat them with a repellent, or wrap them in small fragments of chicken wire before planting.

Pansies, ivy, and rosemary

But if you never quite got around to that task last fall, or if you live in the upper regions of the Southeast, where plants tend to freeze during winter, there’s still plenty of time to plant and enjoy spring containers. Remember, plants in containers freeze more easily than the same plants nestled in the ground, where they receive some warmth from Mother Earth. So if you want to play it safe, just plant in spring.

In early spring (late winter really) the Lowe’s garden center is well-stocked with cold-tolerant annuals, and you can always find a few evergreen ground covers or small plants to mix into your arrangement. This one features rosemary in the center, a few sprigs of variegated ivy trailing down, and some antique shades of pansies to brighten up the medley.

Container with snapdragons, Swiss chard, kale

This arrangement is chock-full of great cold-hardy plants offering color and texture. Ornamental kale, red snapdragons, ‘Bright Lights’ Swiss chard, and a pansy or two in a classic urn livens up this courtyard fall, winter, and spring.

Kale and pansies in brown container

Spring showers and cool temperatures keep this arrangement looking good until the summer heat fizzles it out. Purple ornamental cabbage and kale mixed with purplish blue pansies give this arrangement a calm, cool, and collected appearance. Whether you prefer to keep it simple with just a couple of colors or go wild with a variety is up to you.

Tip: For better success with your spring containers, be sure to use a quality potting mix (not topsoil, which is too heavy), and give them an occasional drink with a liquid fertilizer, mixed according to directions. 

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