Porch-hardy Planters

 Late Winter/ Early Spring Planters

Why go entirely without flowers from February through April just because they won’t last forever? A mix of plants like the ones in the list below can get you through to the start of May; then you can go ahead and  do your summer pots and beds.   I like to plant in a shallow, light plastic pot that fits onto the top of my big glazed pot by the front door.  I just scoop out enough soil from the big pot so that the plastic pot snuggles down unseen.  When I’m ready to do my summer planting I lift it off and plant directly into the big pot so the plants can use the larger soil volume to stay cool and moist in the summer heat.

Light feeding and watering, and removal of spent blossoms is all the care an early spring planter needs.  It’s still too cold for insects or mites, and with the cool weather there’s no need to water twice a day like in summer.  Pretty easy!

Be sure to bring planters inside for the night if it’s expected to go to 29 degrees or below.  Otherwise they’re fine with just the protection of a covered porch, even through lightly freezing nights.  I had a planter of Fairy Primroses survive 18 degrees on my porch.  Pansies can go to 0 degrees.

Any of the perennials and bulbs can be added to your garden beds after the summer-season replanting. I have an ever-growing, naturalizing collection of daffodils and primroses from many years of early containers scattered throughout my perennial plantings.
Taller plants for center:
Senetti/ Cineraria
Fairy Primrose ( Primula malacoides)
German Primrose ( Primula o
Daffodil, Hyacinth, Tulip
Christmas Rose   (Hellebore)
Dwarf Carnation, medium height varieties
Mona Lisa Anemone

 Lower plants for edges:    
Primrose, the common short ones I call “grocery store Primrose”
Pansy – upright, or trailing ‘Cool Wave’ and ‘Plentifall’ types
Dwarf Cyclamen
Dwarf Carnations, the really short types like the ‘Everlast’ varieties
English Daisy
Creeping Jenny, Creeping Charlie
Heuchera, colored-leaf varieties – ‘Lime Rickey’ is especially nice
Low grasses, like ‘Ogon’ Sweet Flag grass, and Japanese Forest Grass