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Spring Containers to the Rescue!

Chase away the winter doldrums with captivating color—make that, captivating SPRING color. The floriferous fanfare is never more appreciated than it is early in the season. These 10 ideas will help get your creative juices flowing so you can raise your own color quotient!

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container plants Colorful annuals brighten an outdoor living spacePhoto: Courtesy of Costa Farms

Spring Fling

Brighten up your favorite outdoor living space with colorful flowers. This pretty vignette includes these container plants: Antirrhinum ‘Pink Arrow’, Lysimachia ‘Aurea’, Lobelia ‘Lucia Dark Blue’, Cosmos ‘Sonata Mix’, English ivy (Hedera helix), Lilium orientale ‘After Eight’ and Sedum.

More spring gardening ideas.

Photo: Courtesy of Costa Farms

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two potted Tropic Escape hibiscusPhoto: Courtesy of Costa Farms

The Great Escape

Sometimes simple is better. Take this simple pairing of two potted Tropic Escape hibiscus. They’re big enough to create a splash on their own, especially with the muted white and black background serving as the perfect foil for the bright orange blooms. By the way, it’s a spring planting but this hibiscus will go all summer long!

Photo: Courtesy of Costa Farms

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hibiscus treePhoto: Courtesy of Costa Farms

The Great Escape, Part II


For a slightly different take on hibiscus, try growing one as a standard (pruned into a single stem) and pair it with companions such as the Mandevilla Tropic Escape Mounding Red and Epipremnum ‘Neon’ seen here. Such potent color, yet refined, too!

Watch this video for container gardening tips.

Photo: Courtesy of Costa Farms

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Potted Panache flowersPhoto: Luke Miller/OldsmobileTrees

Potted Panache


This colorful trio in the Costa Farms test garden looks all the more impressive against a staid gray and green backdrop. These container plants include red salvia, yellow and red Gerbera daisy, browallia and petunia.

Like the look of custom containers? See how to build some cool planters.

Photo: Luke Miller/OldsmobileTrees

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crocus purple flowersarsmis/Shutterstock

Early Risers


When you absolutely, positively can’t wait for spring anymore, there is potted crocus. As northern gardeners know, crocus is such an early riser it can come up through the snow. And if you prechill the bulbs for a couple months in the fridge, you can actually “force” them to bloom early—like midwinter early—indoors. The nice thing is, they’re small enough to enjoy on your breakfast table.

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tulips, daffodils and grape hyacinth are container plants flowersCmspic/Shutterstock

Bulb-a-rama


Other spring-blooming bulbs can also be forced to peak early if prechilled in the fridge. Or you can just let nature take its course and enjoy them all in good time. Here, tulips, daffodils and grape hyacinth are container plants underplanted with cool-weather companion pansies.

Many bulbs are fragrant. Meet some more aromatic aristocrats.

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pink tulips and blue forget-me-notsPeter Turner Photography/Shutterstock

Pink and Blue Daze


Pink and blue make a nice combination of pastels. In this case, it’s pink tulips and blue forget-me-nots. What a nice planter this would be for an expecting mother—with both girls and boys covered. Of course, anyone needing a bit of spring tonic will appreciate a combination like this.

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lavender impatiens flowersSheli Jensen/Shutterstock

Drama Queen


These lavender impatiens will last all summer, but the color is most definitely springlike in attitude. Blue fescue lends a complementary blue-gray color to the arrangement, but its spiky shape is what really adds to the picture. Talk about adding a dramatic flair!

Check out some great ornamental grasses here.

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Potted PansiesOlga Miltsova/Shutterstock

Pansies Galore


Pansies are a cool-season annual that have been a staple of spring gardens for a long time. These hardy container plants come in a range of colors and bicolors, so the choice is yours whether you want to go with a monotone or set the garden on its ear with an uproar of color. Here, matching white containers keep the focus on the flowers, while the variety of height injects extra eye appeal.

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lettucetobe24/Shutterstock

Lettuce Entertain You


Finally, we have something out of the ordinary. No flowers, just foliage. And in this case, edible foliage. Lettuce is so easy to grow from seed that it would be a shame not to include some in a spring planter. There are many leafy salad mixes with attractive colors and textures. And by the time summer rolls around, you’ve harvested all your lettuce and now have room to plant summer flowers. Win-win.

Plus: Herbs you can grow on the patio.

Luke Miller
Luke Miller is an award-winning garden editor with 25 years' experience in horticultural communications, including editing a national magazine and creating print and online gardening content for a national retailer. He grew up across the street from a park arboretum and has a lifelong passion for gardening in general and trees in particular. In addition to his journalism degree, he has studied horticulture and is a Master Gardener.