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.