Planting a last-minute Spring container for instant colour
Forgot to plant spring bulbs? These tips on how to plant a last-minute Spring container mean you’ll enjoy some ready-made colour in your garden to lift the spirits. Garden centres always have pots of flowering spring bulbs for sale in March. And there will be plenty to choose from: galanthus (snowdrops), crocus, scented hyacinths, and early dwarf narcissi like ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’. All of these can be potted up into one stunning spring container display by following this easy step-by-step guide.
Container with a hole in the bottom
Snowdrops, hyacinths, dwarf narcissi or other potted bulbs available at garden centres
Once you’ve picked up your spring blooms from your local garden centre or market, it’s time to plant up a bright spring display.
- You will need to ensure your chosen pot has adequate drainage as spring bulbs won’t appreciate water-logged soil. So if you’re up-cycling a crate or metal pot you will need to drill drainage holes into the base before planting up your bulbs.
- Ensuring you have drainage holes at the base, place some crocks in the bottom of a container and half-fill with multi-purpose compost. For crocks you can use broken pots, pebbles, or chunks of polystyrene. The purpose is to prevent the soil from compacting too much and help the drainage.
- As soon as possible from getting your plants back from the shops gently ease the bulbs out of their pots, disturbing the rootballs as little as possible. Put the tallest bulbsthe hyacinthsin the centre.
- The smaller plants will go round the outside of your display. Therefore, plant the dwarf narcissi around the edge of the pot.
- Fill in the gaps around the plants with more compost until it’s 3cm below the top of the pot.
- Finally, water your display, and put somewhere where you’ll see it every day.
Caring for your last-minute Spring container
Display your planted up pot on a windowsill or max out the colour impact and use it for your front garden by planting them in a large container beside your front door so that passers-by can enjoy them too.
How much you need to water your spring container will depend on the weather. If it’s outdoors, there will be plenty of rainfall in spring to keep it well watered. Plants won’t like sitting in very wet compost in a container, so make sure you don’t overwater it.
After flowering, let the foliage die down and give the bulbs tomato feed to help feed up the bulbs and give them flowering strength for the following year. Once the foliage has completely died back, remove the bulbs and store them somewhere dry, such as a shed. Next year, you can try planting your bulbs in autumn ready for next spring.
Best plants for early Spring
Cyclamen coum — Smaller and daintier than the florist’s cyclamen, coum bloom from January to March in colours ranging from white through to magenta. Happy in moist, shady woodland settings, they’ll spread to form a carpet.
Clematis ‘Freckles’ — A hardy evergreen climber which flowers November to March. Plant in sun or partial shade, somewhere you’ll pass by every day.
Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ — This semi-evergreen shrub is one of the first to flower in January with pale pink blooms and scent. Plant in a sunny or part-shaded sheltered position.
Written by Geraldine Sweeney, gardener, and contributor to