By Evelyn Alemanni
Nothing beats spring for colorful and exuberant flowers. It’s as though nature throws a party for us to celebrate the end of our admittedly short winter. This time of year is terrific for designing containers filled with spring-blooming flowers because of the many beautiful varieties available, and because the cool spring weather helps keep them looking good for months.
As in all gardening the choice of plants is all-important. Choose plants with matching irrigation and light needs so they can grow together successfully. Growers of the preplanted mixed containers in full bloom at the Lowe’s garden center have already made this effort for you with a great deal of research and testing, removing any guesswork on your part and saving you lots of time. All you have to do is put them in a place where they get the amount of light indicated on the plant tag, and water them regularly.
Good to Know: Those preplanted containers look terrific if you put them in larger, more attractive pots. Consider using several to line a window box for a WOW effect.
I like to design my container plantings because I can control the color mix, as well as the ultimate shape and size. Some of my favorite spring plants are primroses—they come in every color of the rainbow and also some gorgeous multi-colors. An added bonus is their beautiful spring-like fragrance.
Pansies and violas also offer wide color selections and a range of flower sizes, from tiny viola flowers to large pansies with ruffled petals. But don’t let those tiny violas fool you: They can make an impressive display, and self-sow for next year.
When designing a container, choose one that is large enough to allow for root growth and be sure it has holes for drainage. If it doesn’t, drill a few. Fill the container with fresh, good-quality potting soil rather than earth from your garden. Mix in some time-release fertilizer to help sustain the plants during the coming months. To reduce watering needs, add some soil polymer crystals.
Good to Know: Before incorporating polymer crystals into the soil mix, soak them in water for 20 minutes or more to be sure they fully expand.
Plant spring bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils, narcissus, and ranunculus, in fall. Overplant the bulbs with something that hangs over the edge of the pot, and to get double duty, cover the soil until and after the bulbs bloom. Alyssum, lobularia, bacopa, viola, lobelia, and even petunias are great choices for this supporting role.
Mix and match, or fill a container with lots of one kind of plant. For an impressive display plant densely and let the plants fill in and spill over the edge of the pot. Then sit back and enjoy your stunning spring containers.
Container gardening isn’t just for summer. Try on some of these ideas from Lowe’s 10 regional gardening contributors.Learn More