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.

Next Up

In the Mood to Garden? Try These 6 Ideas to Get You Started

Check out these trending products and must-have tools to nurture your budding interest in gardening. 

Container Gardening in the Spring

This elegant spring show builds up from the alternating white and blue hyacinths to the blue grape hyacinths (Muscari ), hidden in their grasslike leaves, and up to the beautiful Fuji cherry (Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai').

Planting Spring Bulbs in Pots

Pots brimming with spring bulbs lift the spirits after winter. Plan ahead and plant up pots in the fall, and for a truly dazzling display, combine a collection of different flowers in one large container.

Late Spring to Early Summer Garden Tips

Just as warm sunshine begins to approach, give your garden the boost it needs for seasonal beauty.

Planting Flowers for Spring Fragrance

Hyacinths, viburnum and daphnes bring blooming sweetness.

Spring Gardening Planner

Do these tasks during spring and caring for your garden will be easier, quicker and more satisfying.

6 New Plants for Spring

Try one of these drool-worthy plant introductions in your garden next season.

Spring Cleaning Your Garden

Now is the perfect time to try these easy tidying tips in your garden.