Plant your flower pots for spring with these tips and readily available spring flowers like bleeding hearts, primroses, violas, pansies and ranunculus.
Yay! I can. not. wait. for. spring. Though I do know that I say that every year, ha! This year is a bit different, though, since we haven't found a house yet and I haven't been able to start any seeds which is always a great way to get my longing-for-spring hands into some soil.
The next best thing? Flower pots! Luckily my mom has a lot of them and she generously let me refresh them for spring (*wink*).
And guess what else? It's the season opener for our Tuesdays In The Garden group and we're again going to bring you lots of useful and fun garden ideas throughout the season. So excited for this, since there are some wonderful bloggers who have a TON of great ideas. And we added new members to our group, so now you'll have even more gardening goodness to read the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month!
Simply read my article (of course, right?) and then scroll to the bottom for links to all the other articles. We will have a loose theme for each week like highlighting seasonal plants or tasks, creating gifts from the garden, and garden-to-table recipes. Lots of good stuff coming your way!
Okay, back to the flower pots for spring planting. Here's a look at the state of the deck and pots after winter:
The deck and pots were definitely worse for the wear, right? We've had a colder and wetter than normal winter with snow, ice, and wind. But this is the view from the dining room where we work all day, so the time was right for a good clean up with refreshed flower pots for spring!
Once I bought the flowers and fertilizer, it only took about an hour and a half to make this area pretty again with brightly colored flowers and a good sweeping. I wanted to share some early spring container ideas with you to show that it can be done with easy to find, inexpensive flowers, a few basic steps, and minimal maintenance.
Below you'll find lists of the garden center flowers you can use, planter "recipes" for flower combinations, a quick video showing how to plant pots, maintenance ideas (including how long you can expect these early spring flowers to bloom), and the before-and-after photos. Um, yeah, quite a difference.
Planting Flower Pots for Spring
Purchase flowers and any other supplies you may need.
1. The best spring flowers for pots available at garden center in early spring include (note: perennial = comes back every year, shorter bloom time; annual = lives just a season, more continually blooming; bulb = shorter bloom, can be planted in the garden to come back every year), clockwise from top left:
- Bleeding Heart (perennial). A dramatic addition to planters, it blooms for a couple months in cooler spring climates.
- Pansies & Violas (annual). I differentiate between these two similar flowers this way: pansies have larger blooms than violas, but violas bloom more profusely and longer (for me at least).
- Daffodils (bulb). Pictured is the 'tete-a-tete' variety. All daffodils sing spring to me and bloom for a few weeks. Plant into the garden when the leaves start to brown.
- Ranunculus (bulb). These popular 'rose of the spring' come in pinks, yellows, reds, oranges, and whites and bloom for about six weeks. These may or may not come back next year when planted in the garden, but I always as least try!
- Tulip (bulb). Would it be spring without a tulip somewhere, inside or out? Plant into the garden when the leaves start to brown.
- Not pictured: Primroses (perennial). Another classic early spring flower, primroses can often be found for under $1, making their 4-6 weeks of bloom totally worth the color they bring.
Arrange your potted flowers in the planters.
Place three, four, or five to a pot, switching up the types, heights, and coordinating the colors. When I have a number of pots like this, I like to set them in place and then step back to see how they all look together. There's no right or wrong here, just what looks good to you!
Plant your containers.
- Remove the arranged potted plants from one pot at a time as you plant them, remembering the placement.
- Refresh the soil as needed with new soil. I usually just mix some in to those pots that are looking like they need more. If you're starting from scratch, add soil to within 2-3 inches of the lip of the pot.
- Add organic fertilizer and mix it into the soil.
- Make the first hole, starting with the largest plant.
- Remove the plant from pot by squeezing on the sides and gently pulling out while holding the base of the plant. Tip the pot as needed.
- Use your hands to gently massage the roots apart a bit. If the plant is root bound, tear the roots apart on one or two sides. This makes the roots grow into the soil instead of just around and around the existing roots, creating a healthier plant.
- Place plant in prepared hole, cover with soil and press firmly down.
- Continue with the rest of the plants and water in after all the flowers are planted.
Here's a quick time-lapse video I made illustrating these steps:
(or view on YouTube by clicking here)
Planter 'Recipes' for Early Spring
1 Pink Rannaculus + tete-a-tete daffodils + 2 purple violas
3 purple-pink tulip bulbs + 1 pink primrose + 1 white pansy + 1 purple-white-yellow viola
1 bleeding heart + 1 1 purple-white-yellow viola + 1 white pansy
violas + pansies used as colorful filler for pots planted with summer-blooming perennials and shrubs
Deck Before & After
Much better, isn't it? And it's amazing how this simple refresh makes us so happy. It's just so pretty to look at now.
Wondering how to take care of them? Here's some basic maintenance tips:
- clip off flowers that have finished blooming ('deadheading')
- water if there's a dry spell
- once the bulbs like tulips and daffodils finish blooming, leave the greenery until it starts to brown, then gently dig up the bulbs and plant in the garden to bloom again next spring.
- replace spent early bloomers with summer longer-blooming annuals as they become available.
Ah, and that last point? You may be wondering if it's worth it, since these are plants that will just bloom through spring. Counting the bag of fertilizer (which I only used 1/4 of) and the flowers, each of these pots cost around $5, which is similar to what you'd spend on a bouquet of flowers at the store that only lasts a week.
So, yes, yes, yes! Use these spring container planting ideas to plant a pot (or 8 *cough*) where you can see it so it can bring you joy for the next couple of months. And then have fun planning how you'll replace the spent flowers for the next season.
Now, check out these other great early spring garden tips and ideas from the Tuesdays In The Garden bloggers:
Simple Tips for Preparing Your Spring Garden @ Hearth & Vine
March Garden Chores for Zone 5 @ Simplify Live Love
Spring Gardening Projects to Make your Life Easier @ Homemade Food Junkie
7 Gardening Chores to do This Spring @ Frugal Family Home
Spring Garden Chores for March @ The Freckled Rose
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