New Ideas for Spring Container Arrangements
Now is the time of year to plan your spring bulb containers. You can wow your interior landscape clients with containers that are prepared with stunning springtime tulips, crocus, hyacinth and other favorites.
Bulbs require a period of dormancy. Even when you are growing them in a container, you must get them in potting soil soon so they have enough time to chill before the spring.
The Right Temperature
Be sure to use containers that are big enough to insulate the bulbs if you intend to keep them outdoors all winter. Containers 24 inches in diameter or more can be kept outside. If you have small containers, provide some protection such as a garage or shed, but do not bring them inside. The temperatures indoors will be too warm for the bulbs, even in a very cool room or basement.
Hyacinths come in a wide variety of colors including shades of pink, purple, blue and white. They also vary in size. However, they will all bloom around the same time, very early in spring. You can plant several varieties of hyacinth to have a range of size and color. Plant the larger hyacinths towards the center or back of your container about 6 inches down in the pot. Then plant smaller hyacinth around the perimeter or layer them on top. Place these bulbs 4 inches deep.
Hyacinths can also be forced for early indoor color. Plant them 10 weeks before you want them to flower. Keep them in a dark place at a temperature above freezing but under 45 degrees. Once the foliage shows, slowly start increasing their exposure to light and warmer temperatures.
Pair white grape hyacinth, also called muscari, with a variety of hyacinth called ‘Blue Giant.’ ‘Blue Giant’ will grow up to 18 inches tall and have large powder blue pearlescent flowers. The smaller white grape hyacinth will make a beautiful accent to this stunning variety.
For a colorful, pastel, Easter egg look pair the varieties recommended by Better Homes and Gardens; ‘Sky Jacket,’ which is a light blue color, ‘City of Haarlem,’ a sunny pale yellow, and ‘China Pink’ which is a pastel pink. These varieties will all grow to be about the same size so you can randomly pack your container full of these soft, but colorful flowers.
Hyacinths also complement daffodils and tulips beautifully. Use early blooming ‘February Gold’ daffodils with white grape hyacinth for delicate early spring color.
The list of tulip varieties is endless. They come in every color and color combination. Some have tight formal flowers, other flowers appear to be fringed with lace, while some open wide with ruffled petals. Tulips also have a range of bloom time. Some start in early spring, while others wait until the spring is almost over. They grow as tall as 2 feet and as short as 4 inches.
Try planting the sunny yellow ‘Sweetheart’ variety of tulips with daffodils such as ‘Jack Snipe.’
Kaufmanniana varieties and cultivars are early bloomers that would pair well with hyacinth or early blooming daffodils. The tallest varieties in this group only reach 8 inches, with many other varieties that are much shorter. These tulips would make excellent borders for containers. Combine ‘Danny Blind’ tulips with ‘Tahiti’ Daffodils and ‘Alice Leclercq’ tulips for a beautiful combination of early blooming bright oranges and yellows.
Other Spring Favorites
There are also many varieties of daffodils and crocus that make excellent combinations with tulips and hyacinth for early spring containers. In addition, you can add cold hardy annuals to your containers once you place them outside in the spring. Pansies are a perfect to fill in outdoor spring containers.
Tips to Remember
Keep these planting tips in mind as you prepare your container arrangements for spring.
- Keep your container insulated, the bulbs require temperatures below 45 degrees but above freezing. Containers do not provide as much protection as planting in the ground.
- You can layer bulbs. Place the tallest growing bulbs on the bottom, cover with soil and add another layer of bulbs on top. You can have up to three layers, just make sure there is still several inches of potting medium over the top layer.
- Choose bulbs that will bloom at the same time for a very full, bright container arrangement. Alternatively, choose bulbs that will bloom at different times throughout the spring for a long lasting container arrangement.
Bulbs are a perfect way to highlight spring color. Get your container arrangements started soon so that you are ready for spring! What are your favorite varieties to use in containers?
“Hyacinth” The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
“Hyacinth” The Flower Expert.
“Grape Hyacinth” “EasytoGrowBulbs.com”
The Tulip Gallery.
“Hyacinth” Better Homes and Gardens.
“17 Top Daffodils” Better Homes and Gardens.
“The 25 Best Tulips for Your Garden” Better Homes and Gardens.
Image: “Hyacinth” by Thor