Spring officially begins this week and what better way to celebrate the season but with lovely spring blooms? Pull out your pots and pick up some cold tolerant annuals for your front porch; just in time for Easter. Since early spring in Chicagoland can mean snow and cold, the choices of what you can plant are limited but you can add color and life to your exterior long before Memorial Day. For those of you itching to get outside and play in the dirt here is a list of plants we will have in stock prior to Easter. Please call us at 847-658-3883 or check our facebook page for updated availability reports.
Here are some tips for creating spring planters with a modern and seasonal twist. And we have to point out they are also easy on the wallet, since they are either edible or re-usable.
- Mix in some lettuce... it is pretty, spring'y, and you can eat it.
- Mix pansies with some early spring PERENNIALS. You can enjoy the blooms in your pots for spring, then when its time to replace the plants with summer annuals you can plant them into your garden. Examples - Bleeding Hearts, Candy Tuft, Columbine, Forget-Me-Nots, etc.
Cold Tolerant Annuals We Love
Pansies & Violas
Pansies & Violas are the most well-known cold tolerant annual. With big cheerful blooms that seem to be welcoming spring, they are available in many shades of red, orange, yellow, blue and purple. Pansies prefer sun to part shade with moist, well-drained soil.
Thanks to Martha Stewart, Pinterest and any bride with a copy of Bride’s magazine, Ranunculus are more popular than ever. Synonymous with romance these ruffly blooms are showy and sweet.
Nemesia are known fragrant, delicate, wonderfully-colored flowers. They are an ideal filler for a container and are popular for being low maintenance with no dead heading required.
Dusty Miller has light gray to white color that makes a great background palette for spring and other bright annuals. It adds texture and really pops in containers. Dusty miller does its best in sun but will tolerate light shade. Most varieties grow 8-12 inches tall.
Alyssum is a lovely annual for spring and summer with clusters of tiny, sweetly fragranced flowers. It does best in bright areas but prefers to be shaded from the hot afternoon sun. It comes in shades of white and purple and can be cut back when it gets floppy. UNLIKE your standard allysum which wimps out when the weather gets hot, Snow Princess is heat AND frost tolerant, so plant it now and it will keep on blooming thru fall.
Osteospermum is a spring and summer annual that offers nice branching and looks like a daisy. They come in many shades of yellow, orange, pink and purple. Osteospermum do best in a sunny location but will tolerate light shade. As with all flowering annuals, we do recommend applying Barn Bloom Boost Fertilizer to keep them blooming throughout the season.
Snapdragons have a narrow, upright growth habit with intricate flowers that add a vertical contrast to the garden or planter. Snapdragons come in an enormous variety of colors and prefer full sun, regular water and rich, well-drained soil.
The combination above is a great example of how to mix perennials with spring annuals and features coral bells, osteospermum and snapdragons.
Very similar to Nemesia, Diascia is a vigorous annual with delicate flowers that cover mounds of foliage. Easy to grow and works well in containers and window boxes. Prefers sun to part shade with moist, well-drained soil.