Horticulturist shares tips for planting bulbs in containers
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No matter if you have a garden or just a small patio area, it can be possible to make all outdoor areas as stunning as possible. What’s more, good news is you don’t need large plots of land or great big borders to plant your favourite flowers and plants. You can instantly brighten up your outdoor space with just a few container pots, even in the smallest of spaces. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Lotte Berendsen, gardening expert at PlantIn, has shared five things to plant in your containers this month.
She said: “Growing plants in pots in February may sound like a bad idea, but there are plenty of beautiful, vibrant plants that can thrive even when you pot them in cold temperatures!”
What to plant in your containers this month:
1. Viola hiemalis
This hardy winter pansy is a reliable and colourful mix, also very early flowering. The plants are compact and deliver a stunning display from February through to May of large blooms in a mix of distinct vivid colours.
The expert said:This popular variety of Pansies can bloom even during cold temperatures, making them a great option for February pots.
“It can be grown beautifully in hanging baskets or large pots, but make sure to use pots with drainage holes to prevent them from drowning.
“Using a well-draining soil mix is important, as they like moist soil but don’t like constant wet feet.”
You can plant petunias as long as there is no chance of a frost, and with the right conditions and care, the plants will last into autumn.
Keep in mind that petunias planted later in the growing season will not have very established root systems and will need water more often to combat warm temperatures.
Instead Lotte advised to start planting your petunias in February as this is a “great way” to help them acclimate slowly to warmer weather so they can “withstand the summer heat”.
She added: “Plants can be grown from seeds or seedlings. Make sure to use a well-draining soil medium and plant them into pots with drainage. Keep plantlets moist to help them establish in the soil.”
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Annual geraniums, otherwise known as pelargoniums, make exceptional container plants. Their long-lasting blooms can brighten any patio, balcony or entryway.
They are stunning when planted in several matching containers, where the colourful swath of flowers can make a big impact.
The “best way” to grow geraniums from seed is to start sowing them in February, according to the expert as it takes the plant up to 15 weeks to grow into a full plant.
She added: “By planting them in February, you can be assured of stunning blooms during the summer. We recommend peat-free, rich soil to grow your geraniums.”
Primroses are part of the primula family, named from the Latin primus meaning first, the first flowers to appear in the spring.
Available in a spectrum of colours, primroses will produce flowers at a low level on short stems. They’re ideal for planting in any type of container – or plant them under shrubs with bulbs for a woodland effect.
Lotte noted: “Primrose will be one of the earliest blooms you will see in spring. Plant it in a large pot as its root system grows fast and will soon fill your container. Ensure the pot have good drainage to prevent waterlogging the soil and drowning your plant.”
Varieties of primrose range from the coloured display of a traditional choice such as primrose rainbow, to curly or rose-like blooms. Flowers can densely cluster or be patterned with blotch-like centres.
Hellebores are mainly hardy perennial, evergreen plants flowering in winter and spring. Their five-petalled flowers resemble those of buttercups but on a much larger scale, and in an extraordinary array of colours and colour combinations – from black, through the rainbow to white.
As well as simple, single, bowl-shaped flowers some varieties carry fully double flowers with 20 or 30 petals.
The expert explained that hellebores are hardy as they can survive temperatures as low as -15˚C, which makes them great plants for colder winters.
She highlighted: “Hellebores hate being repotted, but their roots are extensive and will grow fast, so it’s best to use a large, deep pot of at least two foot (60cm). This way, you won’t need to repot them too often, and they will be much happier.”
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