COLORFUL winter pots
BY CAROLYN THOMAS
FOR those looking to brighten the
drab winter months while anxiously
waiting for spring, with a tiny bit of
planning bulbs can provide bright pops
of color starting in early February and
continuing into late March to early April.
Simple layering techniques can create a potpourri of color
blasts or install a calm and soothing palette of flowers and
foliage. Best of all, many of these bulbs can then be planted
outdoors to provide years of gardening pleasure.
There are wonderful bulbs that do great in our hot, humid
conditions. Some fantastic zone 8 daffodil bulbs that can be
used in containers are Narcissus Ice Follies, Thalia, February
Gold, Pipit, Kedron, Salome, Manly, Tete a Tete, Quail, Sun
Disc, Avalanche and Avalon.
Once you have chosen your central element, layer with
grape hyacinth (muscari armeniacum) or crocus and tuck in
a few windflowers (anemone coronaria) to splash out from
the middle. Once they are finished blooming in the container,
they can be planted in the garden.
While tulips are the showiest spring bulbs with their wide
color palette, they are not adapted to our Southern conditions.
Our hot and humid summer weather takes a toll on flowers’
ability to regenerate for the
next season. Use tulips as
annuals and then toss them
into the compost bin when
finished. Plant them under
some large flowered pansies
like the Majestic Giant series
and let them pop up, giving
a second dimension to your
plantscape in pots.
French hyacinth (hyacinthus
orientalis) do best planted
alone in pots because of
their short and wide flower
head. Plant them under
some cute violas as a framework to emerge from. Woodland
hyacinths (hyacinthoides hispanica) have a looser flower habit
but still would look best planted alone.
Spring crocus (crocus vernus) has delicate grasslike foliage
with small cup-shaped flowers. In planters, these would do
best at the edge of a pot to create a fringe for other bulbs.
How does one start a pot plantscape that looks welcoming
at a front entry or brightens a porch or deck? With seasonal
bulbs, the sky’s the limit in design. There are just a few simple
practices to adhere to.
Depending on how they are made, decorative planters are
often an issue for successful growth of bulbs. They can hold too
WBM october 2020
much moisture and cause the
bulbs to rot before they emerge
from the soil. Using a plastic
pot as an insert for a decorative
pot helps ensure proper drain-age
(plus, isn’t this a fantastic
way to recycle?).
Potting medium is also
important in successful
preparation. Select a potting
mix instead of a garden soil
for pots and ensure that the
mix is well draining. Add a
mild fertilizer such as Plant
Planting bulbs can be a fun and educational family project. Tone before planting.