Spring Selection: Planting a Seasonal Container Garden

Plant vibrant spring bulbs in your favorite container for an attractive garden display.
Potted Spring Bulbs Add Color to Outdoor Space

Potted Spring Bulbs Add Color to Outdoor Space

Containers of spring bulbs bloom brightly in terra cotta pots on an outside patio.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Few plants are a more welcome sight than spring-flowering bulbs, and most are easy to grow and care for. These versatile plants are wonderful for pots and window boxes or for planting out in the garden, and they can be treated as permanent plantings or simply discarded after flowering. A good selection should provide color over a long period, from the first snowdrops in late winter to the last tulips in early summer. Try planting the same types of bulbs together in pots and grouping them, or mix them. 

Choosing a Container

Containers for spring bulbs should be terra-cotta pots that have a 6-inch- (15-cm-) diameter.  Use free-draining soil and keep plants in a sunny, but not too exposed site.

Bulbs to Consider

  • Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Ostara’ 
  • Narcissus ‘Sweetness’ 
  • Iris winogradowii 
  • Iris reticulata 
  • Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ 
  • Muscari armeniacum 

Planting and Aftercare 

Many spring bulbs are bought as bare, dry bulbs in fall, before they have come into active growth. It is important to choose firm, healthy bulbs and to plant them as soon as possible. Observe the correct planting depth for each kind of bulb, using free-draining multipurpose potting mix with plenty of crocks in the base of each pot. Keep the pots somewhere sheltered. As the bulbs begin to grow, water more freely. 

Once the flowers have faded, either discard the bulbs or allow the foliage to yellow and wither. Bulbs may then be lifted, dried, and replanted in pots, or put in the garden in fall.

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