12 Stunning Spring Container Gardens

Welcome the season with fragrant hyacinths, cheerful daffodils, potted pansies and sweet early strawberries

By Lauren Dunec Hoang / Courtesy of Houzz.com

Spring into the new season with potted vignettes that exclaim “out with winter” and “in with buds and blooms.” Here are 12 container combinations — with pastel-petaled tulips, sunny daffodils, bright green foliage and sweet strawberries — that capture spring in all its glory.

1. Celebration of spring. Welcome the season with a sunny arrangement of mixed bulbs of various heights and delicate pansies tucked to fill in around the base. Here, a pair of deep urns planted with medium-purple tulips, yellow daffodils, pink ranunculuses, grape hyacinths (Muscari sp.), pansies and variegated English ivy makes a glorious entry arrangement.

It can be tricky to get bulbs planted in combination to bloom at the same time. To re-create this look, choose a bag of early, midseason or late-blooming bulbs packaged together and plant them in a container according to the instructions. 

If you missed planting bulbs last fall, pick up potted bulbs from your local nursery and plant them together in a container. Look for ones that are just beginning to bud for a coordinated bloom time.

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

2. Spring trio. Make an impact with an odd number of spring containers arranged together in a vignette. The designer of this entryway trio massed colorful pansies and nemesias in the lowest container, planted the medium container with an evergreen combination of boxwood and trailing ivy, and played up the height of the largest container with purple foxgloves (Digitalus sp.). 

A clever trick to try at home: Use cut pussy willow branches stuck into the soil as an attractive support for tall bloom spikes.

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

3. Purple rain. Florist hydrangeas are bred to bloom on much smaller plants than shrubby garden hydrangeas, making them a perfect scale for spring containers. Buy them budding or already in bloom and combine with fragrant hyacinths (Hyacinth sp.), grape hyacinths and chartreuse stonecrop (Sedum rupestre ‘Lemon Coral’) to re-create this look. ‘Mathilda Gutges’ bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Mathilda Gutges’) grow in this container. 

After their peak, florist hydrangeas can be planted out into sunny garden beds.

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

4. Miniature vignette. For a small-scale display — perfect for an elevated container where you can see the arrangement up close — plant tiny daffodils like 8-inch-tall ‘Hawera’ or ‘Baby Boomer’ in combination with pansies and hyacinths. If you’d like a bit more height, tuck in branches of pussy willow or budding forsythia.

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

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5. Scent of spring. For a delicious fragrance when you pass over your home’s threshold, cluster potted bulbs chosen for their scent by your main entrance. Hyacinths and paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) are among the most fragrant and widely available. 

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

6. Sweet treat. Strawberries grow well in containers. The plants appreciate the slightly warmer soil temperature and good drainage (make sure your pot has a drainage hole). Plant June-bearing varieties, such as ‘Chandler’, ‘Jewel’ and exceptionally tasty ‘Sequoia’, now for a first harvest in early summer.

Water requirement: Moderate (high water dilutes berry flavor)
Light requirement: Full sun
 

7. Pastel hues. Potted arrangements of fuss-free succulents look good now and will continue to grow all summer long with little additional care. Select a combination with a variety of colors, forms and textures, from rosette-forming echeverias to upright aeoniums and fine-textured ground cover sedums. In this container combination, a vivid purple echeveria (Echeveria ‘Perle Von Nürnberg’) is a particular standout. 

Other succulents in this container include ‘Angelina’ stonecrop (Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’), aloe vera (Aloe vera), ‘Mexican Giant’ echeveria (Echeveria colorata ‘Mexican Giant’), blue chalk sticks (Senecio serpens) and ‘Velour’ aeonium (Aeonium ‘Velour’).

Water requirement: Low
Light requirement: Full sun; part shade in hot climates

8. Spring elegance. Give a quick update to potted winter evergreens by tucking cool-season annuals (like pansies and violas) or warm-season bloomers (like petunias and bacopa) around the base. Choose flowers in shades of blue, lavender, pink, lemon-yellow or pale orange for a springlike look. This container features ‘Faulkner’ littleleaf boxwood (Buxus microphylla ‘Faulkner’) and Celebration Sky Blue calibrachoa.

Water requirement: Moderate
Light requirement: Full sun

 Bird’s nest. No planting is required for this charming arrangement of moss, pussy willow branches and a decorative bird’s nest — available from craft stores. If you’re keeping the display indoors, mist the moss every few days to keep it green. 

Water requirement: Occasional misting
Light requirement: Any light

10. Sunny welcome. Spring blooms with richer pastel tones have a stronger visual impact than those with paler hues that are more washed out. For an entryway display that packs a color punch, combine medium-pink tulips with golden daffodils, tangerine and sky-blue pansies, purple nemesias and variegated English ivy.

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

11. Icy blues. Plant this beauty now and enjoy blooms all summer. Silver-leaved lavender, such as Lavandula stoechas ‘Silver Anouk’, looks fresh for spring and grows into a pale, shimmering shrub with medium-purple flowers through spring and summer. Surround a potted lavender with warm-season annuals such as calibrachoa or perennial silver-leaved spiller Silver Cascade dusty miller (Artemisia stelleriana). 

Water requirement: Moderate to high
Light requirement: Full sun

12. Purple and chartreuse. Give your spring containers real pizazz with a high-contrast foliage combination of deep purple and zingy lime green. The designer of this container garden combined plum-colored carpet bugle (Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’) with lime-green creeping jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’)purple-leaved Strobilanthes, African daisies (Osteospermum ecklonis ‘Lavender Mist’), and purple and gold pansies.

Water requirement: Moderate to high
Light requirement: Full sun