BOISE - Now that spring is a couple of weeks old, we’re seeing some color showing up in the landscape – daffodils, tulips, and bright yellow forsythia blossoms.
But you can add some extra splashes of spring color around your porch or patio by planting your own bowls of springtime blooms.
Garden master Jim Duthie shows us some easy-to-grow and colorful spring flowers that will quickly brighten up your home landscape.
Spring is finally starting to pop, with blossoming shrubs and trees, and some blooms coming up in the flower beds. But I’m anxious to see even more color, so today I’m planting some springtime color bowls.
These spring bloomers don’t mind the cool weather. In fact, they thrive in it, blooming now on into May and June before the weather turns really hot. And they’re not only bright and colorful, but they smell really great, too.
Garden centers sell some nice pre-planted containers full of bright flowers, but you’ll save a lot of money, and get the kinds of flowers you want, by doing it yourself. I planted this container for under $9. A similar container would cost from $15 to $30 at the store.
Here’s an assortment of early spring bloomers that will do great in containers. They’re easy to find at any nursery or garden center. And buying in multi-packs will save you money, and allow you to plant several containers.
Let’s start with primroses. The Latin name, prima rosa, means “first rose.” They come in lots of shapes, sizes and colors, ranging from white to yellow to pink to purple. They’re easy to grow and they tolerate the cold well, but once it starts to get hot, the blooms will slow down. Give them a little room to spread out.
Pansies, and their smaller cousins, the violas, also do well in containers. They’re great by themselves, but they also go well mixed with other flowering plants. Traditionally, pansies and violas have bold, solid colors, but they often come with multi-colored faces with a splotch of contrasting colors. And they’ll keep blooming even when temperatures dip below freezing.
A great companion plant is the snapdragon. They get their name because the flowers look like the face of a dragon opening its mouth. Snapdragons’ flower spikes will give a little height to the rest of the container. They also come in a wide range of colors. I like these yellow ones.
One of my favorites is dianthus, also known as Sweet William. Dianthus is part of the carnation family, offering pretty pink, salmon, red or white flowers. Like the snapdragon, it comes in a dwarf variety that will do really well in containers. It doesn’t mind cool weather, but it won’t tolerate frost.
Candytuft is a pretty little plant with a mass of tiny pink or white blossoms against an evergreen foliage. It makes a nice compliment to other fancier, more colorful blooms.
And for a little contrast without the flowers, silvery mound, also known as artemesia, offers a nice touch with its silvery-grey foliage.
Putting the bowls together is easy. First, choose a container with enough room for the flowers to fill out and spread a bit. Err on the side of larger rather than smaller. Make sure the container has adequate drainage holes, or else add a few inches of gravel to the bottom.
Fill the bottom two-thirds or so of the container with some moistened potting mix.
Then carefully place the flowers, following the planting depth and spacing directions on the label for each flower variety. It helps to separate the roots a bit to encourage more growth. This bowl will have a nice mix of different flower varieties, but I need to be careful to avoid over-planting the container, since it could choke out the roots and dry out the soil more quickly.
After planting, fill in with additional potting soil, and keep it moist. Water until it begins to drain from the holes. Containers tend to dry out faster than ground plantings.
Finally, fertilize about once a month with a general purpose fertilizer, since soil nutrients get used up or washed out during waterings.
In no time at all, and with a lot less expense, you’ll create your own unique container plantings to dress up your outdoor living space.
Garden centers have lots of spring flowering plants to choose from right now, and you can stretch your gardening budget a little more if you buy multi-packs of plants, and then split the cost and the extra plants with somebody else.
These springtime color bowls will provide that splash of cheery color until the weather warms up and the summer bloomers start to fill in.
And remember, Jim wants your gardening pictures and tips so he can share them with other gardeners who are watching “You Can Grow It.” Send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or put them on Jim’s Facebook page.
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