Plant an Early Spring Container Garden - dummies

By Bill Marken, Suzanne DeJohn, The Editors of the National Gardening Association

Celebrate spring with blooming bulbs and attractive annuals in this colorful little mix perfect for an outdoor table or front doorstep. The design features a repeating theme from three types of narcissus and accents from a rainbow of annuals and perennials.

Anchoring the bowl in the center are stunning, tall, two-toned daffodils, set off by bright yellow mini-daffodils; a third type of bulb — fragrant paper-white narcissus — adds height and continuity. Effortless violas offer compact color, and the cheery and reliable primroses provide contrasting bright colors and richly textured leaves.


  • Container: Try a clay bowl or dish at least 18 inches across and 9 to12 inches deep. Classic terra cotta always looks good, but you may want a glazed ceramic bowl to match other decor or to add color.

  • Plants: Five paper-white narcissus, six daffodils, six miniature daffodils, six yellow or blue violas, and six yellow or blue primroses.

  • How to plant: Buy and plant the daffodils in fall. Then, when the bulbs pop up in spring, buy six-packs of violas and primroses. Space individual seedlings alternately around the rim.

    If you miss the early bulb planting in fall, you can cheat and wait to find sprouted and budded bulbs for sale and plant everything all at once later in spring.

  • Special tips: The daffodils may need a bit of help to keep them from flopping over. Use slender stakes to tie them as soon as you detect trouble. Feed plants with liquid fertilizer monthly throughout the blooming season.