Early Spring Colour
There are a few things to keep in mind to set up your early season plants for success. These plants may be tough, but a shock to the system like suddenly setting them outside after being in a warm greenhouse could set them back. Causing stress in your spring plants might not kill them, but it will seriously delay or stunt their development. Be sure that they are properly hardened off (acclimatized to outdoor temperatures) before planting them outside.
Drainage is the next key step. Between possible winter melts and increased rainfall, there’s a good chance spring is going to be soggy! If you’re planting in a bed, be sure to mix in some fine fir or hemlock bark mulch into heavy soils to lighten them. If you’re planting into containers, make sure to use well-draining potting soil.
Our Spring Favourites
Here are some of our favourites that do remarkably well in the cool spring season.
Many of us are using more and more of these vibrant ‘daisies’ because they thrive in the cold, wet weather and reward you with brilliant multi-coloured blooms. They are low growing and work well with other early plants like bulbs, pansies and some early perennials. Try them in a bed or a container this year! After their spring blooms have finished, give them a good trim to tidy them up and you’ll enjoy another flush later in the season. They won’t put on quite as strong a show in summer, but they will bloom again.
These are our go-to for long-lasting colour. They look like miniature snapdragons and come in a full range of striking colours.
These blooms pack a powerful perfume! They are tough enough to handle the variable spring weather but will perform best in a spot that has morning sun and afternoon shade.
The newer series of smaller flowered Mimulus named “Calypso” and “Magic” offer unique and vibrant flowers. They have so many colour combinations you’ll have many options to choose from! They perform exceptionally well in cold temperatures, and, if planted in part-shade to shade, will still give long-lasting results.
These plants bloom their hearts out in cool weather! Newer varieties are compact and have a wide array of colours, making them one of the most versatile plants for the spring.
Violas and Pansies
These are the old-fashioned favourites for a reason. Newer varieties boast fabulous colour ranges, and our current favourite is the new “Matrix Morpheus” with distinctive bi-colour blue and yellow petals. They certainly stand out in a crowd, especially on dreary early spring days.
Some of the newer types of violas have improved in size and have a colour range and flowering time that will knock your socks off! The “Penny” and “Sorbet” series have smaller blossoms than pansies, making them less formal and more charming. Instead of acting as a bold centrepiece, they have a great ability to blend into your garden as supporting characters.
These are the ideal choice for some old-fashioned charm. The “Sunsatia” variety is a beautiful trailing choice for containers, while the new “Sundrop” variety is best for beds. Regardless of variety, these pretty flowers love morning sun and afternoon shade. Given the right location, these will last long into the summer, too.
Once hardened off, snapdragons will stand up to occasional extreme conditions – cold or heat. They come in the traditional tall form as well as low, midsize and multi-branching varieties too. Taller types make great cut flowers!
For an even better display, consider pairing some of these annuals with long-blooming or evergreen perennials. Euphorbias, heucheras and ornamental grasses will add interest and texture to your garden and they’re happy in containers too.
For your quick-fix of colour early in the season, these are your best bets. Yes, some summer-season favourites are tempting at the moment, but avoiding planting marigolds, salvias, geraniums and petunias etc. until later in the season (around the May Long Weekend). Summer will come soon enough. For now, enjoy all that spring has to offer!