Looking forward to a colourful spring

A withered poinsettia. This may not be your fault.

BRIAN KIDD: Killing worms and poorly poinsettias

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Let’s have a look at a few plants which will give us a spring to look forward to in pots or containers.

First of all, why not plant some daffs about 4in above the bottom of the pot and then another layer on top of them so that when they bloom, the whole pot is filled.

It’s amazing, the flowers and foliage find their way to the top and, if they are all of the same variety, they will all flower at the same time.

If you would like a narcissus which is very wind-resistant, then look out for Narcissus variety Geranium which has a wonderful perfume.

On the top of the pot plant a few winter-flowering pansies. Choose a dark blue and this will give you a beautiful contrast of white, orange and blue.

Winter-flowering pansies can also be enhanced by planting hyacinths so that the noses of the bulbs are an inch below the surface of the compost.

If the container is near a door, you will be able to enjoy the perfume early next spring.

The hyacinths will probably come into bloom in late February. There will be just a few pansies in flower at that time, but there will be a complete coverage of the whole container with pansy flowers in April and May.

What about orange and blue winter-flowering pansies on their own? Or, if you have lots of forget-me-nots in the garden, dig out a few and plant them really thickly on top of the container.

But before that, plant some pink tulips underneath, about 4in apart. They aren’t all that expensive and, after all, you got the forget-me-nots free!

I’m often asked which of the spring-flowering plants is best for wet places. Well, primula denticulata is the very best one. It’s available in white, pink or blue and a good plant to go with it is variegated ivy.

The reason for this idea is because the primulas don’t usually have leaves all winter so the ivy prevents the container looking bare. But the primulas look brilliant when they come out in flower in the spring.

Polyanthus are a very good choice too. They don’t like standing in water, but they will put up with wet winter conditions and won’t let you down.

Wallflowers are not successful if the soil becomes too wet in containers, but don’t be afraid of planting out wallflowers because you may feel they are too common. They are excellent as long as the containers are well drained.

The great advantage of choosing wallflowers is that they are still one of the cheapest and most reliable plants for containers.

Put clay feet underneath the containers to ensure good drainage and also to prevent worms entering them.

If possible, look out for Orange Bedder, Blood Red or Golden Bedder and then use the colours to either blend or contrast.