Thursday, February 04, 2010

Think Ahead - Planting Early Spring Containers

I can't wait to see all of those spring bulbs poking their little heads out of the ground!  I also like to see some of those spring bulbs in my containers.  However, as you know, in zone 5 and below bulbs do not do well in containers over the winter.  You can start them indoors, keep them cold for a period of weeks and bring them into a  warmer environment to get ready to bloom.  I did this years ago, and it is lots of preparation, a long time span and necessitates a place to store the potted bulbs like a spare refrigerator or a warmer garage.

A few years ago, I found a new way to do this at Home Depot (I am sure there are many other stores and nurseries that supply pre-planted bulbs).  I spotted little packs of four tete-a-tete daffodils and  pink Jan Bos Hyacinths all ready to bloom.   There were tulips and muscari also.  I bought some large baskets of pansies and some little packets of the bulbs.  The pansies were almost full grown, so I cut them apart and got eight plants from each basket.  When the bulbs are spent, I take them out of the planter boxes and put them in the ground to come up next year. 

For many years I bought the little pansies in the baskets of twenty-four, and by the time they really looked good, it was time to pull them out because of the heat.  They certainly did not make a statement for the first four weeks.  In my area, it is difficult to keep pansies through the summer, so I do relocate them to the shady part of my property because they look so beautiful!

It is a great look for containers because they blend with what is coming up out of the ground, rather than putting in the plants that look like they grew in the tropics.

1 comment:

allanbecker-gardenguru said...

I envy the fact that you have the motivation to move your pansies, in the heat of summer. Many gardeners consider them spent by July, just pull them out or allow other flowering annuals to camouflage them.