Spring Annuals for Beautiful Outdoor Containers

Many USDA zones will be frost free soon. Now is the time to get cool weather loving annuals out in containers. Bring color back to the landscape by planting these pretty annuals right after the last frost of the season.

Thrill, Fill, Spill

Better Homes and Gardens teaches the clever little mantra, “thrill, fill, spill”, when instructing readers about arranging outdoor containers. Choose a plant that is tall and showy for the “thrill.” Pick smaller foliage plants or bushy flowering plants to “fill” the container. Use trailing plants to “spill” over the side. This tip will help you create a stunning, visually balanced outdoor container every time.

Tall Spring Annuals

Hoosier Gardener recommends wallflowers, stocks and snapdragons for tall colorful cool "stock"weather annuals. Wallflowers are simple flowers that can be found in yellow and orange. They can grow up to 15 inches tall. Stocks produce beautiful tall bunches of fragrant flowers. These plants will grow up to 12 inches tall and come in pinks, purples and white.

Snapdragons can vary dramatically in size depending on the variety. They will perform as a centerpiece or add color to a filler. Do your research and be sure you know the expected height of your variety before deciding upon its placement in a container. Snapdragons can be found in a vast array of vibrant colors and will add pizzazz to any container arrangement. They will tolerate the heat of summer and continue blooming throughout the season. Hoosier Gardener suggests cutting them back by half, midway through the summer. If this is done, they will provide another vigorous round of blooms.

Filler Spring Annuals

Dusty miller is a good cool weather filler. Its unique, deeply lobed foliage and soft silvery color make an excellent back drop for flowers in a container. Garden Guides informs that dusty miller prefers full sun and a well draining container.

Pansies are the “go to” spring annual. They are very hardy and will produce plenty of color. Johnny jump-ups are a smaller version of pansies and also make an excellent delicate filler.

Petunias are another great choice that feature rich color. Depending on their variety, petunias will mound or trail. Choose a mounding variety for bright filler that will last throughout the summer.

Trailing Spring Annuals

Lobularia maritima (sweet alyssumAlyssum is the perfect trailing plant for spring arrangements. It has small, delicate, white flowers that will beautifully complement any other accompanying flower. The plant blooms prolifically in the spring and then tappers off in warmer weather. The Springfield News-Sun recommends the variety Alyssum Snow Princess because it will continue to thrive and bloom even in the heat.

Trailing petunias, such as wave petunias and calibrachoa, are also gorgeous trailing annuals that will provide great color to your designs. Calibrachoa are similar in appearance to petunias, but with much smaller flowers. These plants will thrive in containers that are exposed to full sun.

Spring Color

Cool weather annuals are a great way to bring spring color to drab winter environments. Many of these spring annuals will quit blooming when the weather becomes warm, giving you the opportunity to replace them with summer blooming annuals.

Have fun with your plantscaping designs this spring. And don’t forget to “thrill, fill and spill” your way to stunning container arrangements.

What are your favorite annual varieties to pot once the danger of frost is gone?


Photo “Stock” courtesy of The Marmot
Photo “Lobularia maritime (sweet alyssum)” courtesy of kazichi

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