9 Beautiful Early Spring Container Gardens

There’s nothing quite like the first sight of snowdrops, narcissus or brightly colored violas outside nurseries to confirm that spring finally is right around the corner. As the weather warms, bring some of the magic home and perhaps put an extra spring in your step — sorry, we couldn’t resist — with an early-spring container for your porch or windowsill.

Soon, many nurseries and flower shops will be well-stocked with plenty of options for bulbs as well as annuals like pansies and more. For gardeners in colder climates, where the chance to get outside and garden may still be weeks or months away, now is the time to gather inspiration for your spring containers. When planting time comes, it’s best to buy the bulbs already potted, as they had to be planted in fall.

Christensen Landscape Services
1. Spot of Sunshine

This petite potted arrangement captures all of the charm of early spring, with sunshine yellow tulips emerging from a bed of pastel pansies. The container, designed by Christensen Landscape Services, sits as a welcoming beacon on a porch in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Water requirement: 
Moderate to high
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade

Brent and Becky’s Bulbs
2. Spring Ephemerals

Snowdrops (Galanthus spp.) are some of the first bulbs to emerge in early spring — often from drifts of snow — earning them their common name. They can make charming, fairy-like container plants. Enjoy them in a cluster of small pots on a sill or lining a pathway, where you can appreciate their charm up close.

Water requirement: Moderate
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade

KMS Gardens and Design
3. Window Box Beauty

A zinc window box outside a Chicago home offers the residents a prime floral view of the best of the season. Garden designer Kathy Molnar Simpson of KMS Gardens and Design used a pastel combination, including pink tulips, curly willow branches, two types of hyacinths, fragrant stock, blue-purple bedding hydrangea and trailing ivy.

Window boxes can dry out quickly, particularly when packed to the brim with plants. Water by hand frequently, or plan on setting up a drip line to keep soil moist.

Water requirement: Moderate to high
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade

Find an irrigation specialist near you

New Eco Landscapes
4. Moss Garden

Sunshine and warmer days prompt moss to grow exuberantly in early spring. To create the look of a natural forest floor, try covering the soil at the base of a potted tree, as was done here by New Eco Landscapes for a New York garden, or tucking mounds of moss among emerging shoots of potted bulbs. Live moss can be purchased in flats from some nurseries; preserved moss is a decent substitute.

Water requirement: High; moss looks most luxurious with consistent moisture
Light requirement: Full sun to bright filtered light

Le jardinet
5. Double “Roses”

A combination of golden primrose (Primula vulgaris) and dusty pink hellebore (Hellebore sp.), also called lenten rose, come together with burgundy coral bells (Heuchera sp.) and miniature daffodils in this spring container design by Le Jardinet. While primroses are some of the first herbaceous perennials to bloom in early spring, lenten rose bloom even earlier, often throughout winter in relatively mild climates, making this a particularly long-lasting combination.

Water requirement: Moderate to high
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade

Lauren Dunec Hoang

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