Now that spring has officially sprung, it’s time to cultivate your green thumb and assemble some beautiful flower combinations for container gardens. After a long winter, container gardens are an easy and affordable way to refresh your front porch or patio, while injecting some color into your outdoor space when you have very little room to plant. Get ready to spring forward into a new season with vibrant potted plants that are just right for the South. You’ll be grateful for these 30 sunshine-loving plants, blooming bulbs, and pretty annuals that capture spring in all its natural glory and brighten your front door in the warmer months.
Wow with Baskets
Choose Pretty Planters
Step into spring with woven baskets overflowing with blooms. Take a note from gardeners across the pond, and plant front-porch arrangements in wicker containers. These can withstand the elements for about three years (rain will give them a weathered look). Replace them after a few seasons, or line basket bottoms with chicken wire to keep using. Fill bottoms of taller baskets with recycled plastic bottles to keep them light. Line the sides with sheet moss and breathable landscape cloth.
Pick a Cheery Palette
Varying the heights and textures of blooms helps the pink-and-white color scheme pop. We lined the containers with sheet moss (which supports itself) and backed that with breathable landscape cloth before adding potting soil. In the top basket are Profusion zinnias, ‘Truffula Pink’ gomphrenas, and geraniums. The bottom one has begonias, ‘Surdiva’ scaevolas, and ‘Glitz’ euphorbias.
Make Them Last
Give these plants part to full sun (four to eight hours a day). Water them daily, and fertilize twice a week. Regularly deadhead spent blooms to help containers last all summer.
Refresh Your Greenery
Give Containers Character
Prep your porch pots for spring with violas and adorably droopy tulips. Velvety moss adds extra charm to plain terra-cotta vessels.
Fill with Pretty Plants
Try dwarf English boxwoods, ‘Icy Blue’ violas, and tulips.
Make Them Last
Surround boxwoods with violas. Add potted tulips purchased from a garden center. (Or next year, plan ahead and plant some tulip bulbs in December or January for early-spring blooms.) Water plants, and let them drain thoroughly. Place in part to full sun. At the end of spring, replace the violas and tulips with summer annuals.
DIY Moss Mixture
Add some character to your pots by with moss. Combine equal parts live sheet moss and buttermilk in a blender until a thick liquid forms. Spread on pots with a paintbrush and spray with water weekly.
Brighten Up with Blue and White
An effortlessly cool vibe is achieved here with three oversize cobalt-glazed containers, spilling with pale blue, white, and green blooms to complement the bright yellow hue of the ‘Meyer’ lemon tree. Grow your ‘Meyer’ lemon in a sunny spot in well-drained soil, watering regularly to keep slightly moist. This tender plant prefers temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Frame a Window with Blooms
A mix of mostly pink and magenta blooms with pops of white and yellow are placed in three turquoise containers for a vibrant, beach-inspired walkway display. The mandevilla plant featured here is a common tropical patio plant that can withstand the typical hot, muggy weather in the South. Mandevilla can be grown year-round in frost-free areas.
Mix It Up
Prettiest during the tail-end of spring, hydrangeas get a tasteful shout-out in this creative display. Complement ‘Pop Star’ hydrangeas by layering in ‘Diamond Frost’ euphorbias, white gauras, and Million Bells trailing calibrachoas.
Charm with Pink and Lime
Nothing says spring like pairing pink and lime in a container garden. This sun-loving arrangement includes coneflowers, ‘Cora’ cascade vincas, and sweet potato vines. Add another bold plant with height at the back to create some vertical interest.
Mix a Rainbow of Colors
Usher in spring with a vibrant arrangement of bright pink and yellow zinnias in different pots of various heights on sun-drenched porch. Purple verbenas and blue calibrachoas are also tucked in the containers to fill out the base. This rainbow of colors celebrates the bounty of spring.
Hang a Rustic Container
A metal bucket is perfectly suspended here from a tree branch in the yard to add a little rusticity and Southern charm in an area with filtered sun. Vinca, ‘Rieger’ begonias, coleus, and dusty miller round out the hanging container garden. Begonias can be planted in the spring after all danger of frost has passed.
Dress Up Your Tabletop
Dress up your outdoor patio area and accent tables with a container centerpiece. Here, a prolific grouping of purple, pink, and blue flowers is planted in layers for a romantic and precious display. Water and deadhead regularly to keep flowers fresh for your next garden party.
Add a Tropical Punch
Easily transform your outdoor space into a tropical escape with bold orange SunPatiens, purple Persian shield, and big, heart-shaped ‘Maui Gold’ elephant’s ear. It’s a sight that makes you feel like you’re on vacation without ever leaving the front yard. While SunPatiens will grow in full sun, it is just at home in the lightly shaded conditions that this foliage prefers.
Grow Plants Made for Shade
Here, a raised container planted with bright red, fancy-leaved caladiums and creeping Jenny make a sweeping statement and grand front entry arrangement that’s too cool for the sun. Place this tall container in shady spots for low-maintenance care. Caladiums may not be available in garden centers until late spring in some areas, but you can get a head start by growing the bulbs indoors.
Go For Gold
Sunshiny yellows make a cheerful harbinger of spring. This beaming trio of ‘Ogon’ golden sweet flag, ‘Matrix Yellow Blotch’ pansies, and ‘Penny Clear Yellow’ violas will bloom profusely in cooler temps. The aptly-named ice pansies will even take a hard freeze.
Beat the Heat
It can be tricky to get bulbs to bloom when temperatures barely dip below freezing in winter. If your climate isn’t known for wintry temperatures, you can mimic the same beautiful results by filling a single container with heat-tolerant ‘Baby Tut’ dwarf papyrus, elephant’s ear, ‘Blackie’ sweet potato vine, and ‘Vogue Audrey’ mandevilla.
Romantic Freestanding Container
Here, a deep, cast-metal urn is planted with variant shades of pink and purple flowers, such as pink dianthus, pale blue lobelia, and pink angelonia, to create one harmonious container arrangement that sings of springtime. When planting a more monochratic arrangement, use varying shades, flower sizes, and foliage texture to create interest.
Treat a heavy vessel as a small, wild garden. This concrete pot is filled with warm, yellow-toned flowers that are traditionally placed in the ground instead of in containers. Plant these in May, incorporating various types so something will be in bloom through late summer and into early fall and look fresh during the end-or-spring season. We chose lantanas, ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ coneflowers, and autumn ferns—plus ‘Alabama Crimson’ honeysuckles and ‘Gilded Sun’ roses to add height.
Grow Daffodils in Containers
In the South, there are many things we disagree on, but thankfully, no one argues with growing sunny daffodil bulbs to enjoy during spring. This combination of yellow narcissus, violas, and petunias makes for a welcoming entrance. Plant bulbs in fall to make certain they get sufficiently cold weather, or buy already blooming plants from a garden center in spring.
Our 10 Best Container Gardens
If managing a full garden isn’t your style, we recommend instead turning to these bright, bountiful container gardens for inspiration. We picked our 10 favorites – a variety of outdoor containers, indoor greenery, and porch perfection.
Fill a Long Container
This freestanding, trough-like container is filled with ‘Diamond Frost’ euphorbia, coleus, and ‘Supertunia Vista Bubblegum’ petunia. Dark-colored plants are placed in the back to make lighter blooms really pop. Incorporating the ‘American Gothic’-inspired pitchfork for extra farmhouse feel is totally up to you.
This entryway porch trio coordinates copper-toned, metal planters of different sizes. The repeated pink and red hues of sweet potato vines, pennisetum, geraniums, petunias, and angelonias also help tie the arrangement together. Angelonia is an especially heat-tolerant flower that only requires weekly watering.