Who ever said small garden containers had to be boring or lack personality? Your 10-inch, 12-inch, or even smaller planters can make a bold statement even though they may not have the same growing space when compared to their larger cousins. This spring season you can create a bright, cheery flower display full of color, beauty and personality in one of your smaller planters.
Find the Perfect Container Gardening Spot
Small containers are beneficial for so many reasons, mainly due to the fact that they can fit just about anywhere. They tuck into spaces otherwise too tight for a large planter, like a dark corner, or placed in front of or between several, larger containers. Adding pops of color and vertical interest, these small planters complement taller containers, fit perfectly in small space gardens or balconies, and feel right at home as accent points for walkways and entrances. Their individual personalities will shine depending on how you use them and where they are placed.
Small, Spring Containers with Big Personalities
Get ready to meet the “personalities!” Depending on your color preferences, favorite flowers, and plant care comfort level, create a small planter full of character and color. Choosing from a range of a large grouping of plants to just one solo plant in a container, the flowers colors, foliage, and textures are really the stars of the show.
Each container gardening idea in this article features spring bloomers (or sometimes late winter bloomers, depending on your zone) that are grouped due to their similar sun, water, soil, and temperature needs, which is crucial for their best health. But don’t worry, you’ll learn more about the importance of grouping the right plants together later in the article after choosing your container personality.
To create each container, you will need:
- 12-inch Ella Round container (pictured is the Dark Grey Slate color)
- Narrow Transplanter hand tool
- Energy X-Large Watering Can (pictured is the Green 3 color)
- General Potting Soil from your local nursery or garden center
- An assortment of spring-blooming plants and flowers
And, luckily, there are many spring-blooming plants to choose from in order to create the container that suits your needs! But first, let’s meet the personalities:
Personality #1: “The Party Planter”
Why not mix and mingle plants in your container, like at a party, with full bright colors, various flower shapes and differing heights? The “Party Planter” is so named due to its fun-loving, crazy personality. These plants love hanging out in a group, and this planter is sure to liven up any small space.
This container is full of plants that can live together in a small space due to their similar plant care needs, including regular water requirements, full sun to part shade sun exposure, and well-draining nutrient rich potting soil.
Create this same look with a 12-inch Dark Grey Slate Ella Round Planter filled with yellow mini daffodils (Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’), Metalis® bright purple cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum), and Bellis Tasso™ White English daisies (Bellis perennis). In the center of the container, plant a False Dracaena (Cordyline australis ‘Torbay Dazzler’) for height and interest.
Other plants to invite to this party planter:
- Muscari (grape hyacinth)
- Various ornamental grasses
- Dusty Miller
Personality #2: “The Harmonious Planter”
The personality of this planter is calm and peaceful. Like-minded plants live together and create a huge impact with their brightly colored flowers and foliage. By grouping together multiple copies of the same plant, same color or a mix of colors, you can create a compatible planter. These plants will have the same height, width, sunlight, water, temperature and soil needs.
Plant compatibility really doesn’t get much better than that!
In this example, we chose to plant a handful of mini daffodil plants together. Their bright, yellow flowers and green foliage create a pleasing look. These like-minded plants, that are all, in fact, the same plant, are easy to care for and create the illusion of a big personality with their color and interest.
Create this same look with a 12-inch Dark Grey Slate Ella Round Planter container and fill it with 3-4 yellow mini daffodil plants (Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’). If daffodils are not your favorite, this container design can be created with many other plants from the same genus and species that are similar to each other in size but have either the same color or a mix of flower colors for a more vibrant effect.
Other spring-blooming plants that like to live in harmony:
- Poppy Anemones
Personality #3: “The Diva Planter”
A diva is often difficult to please and therefore must remain alone and go solo. In the “Diva Planter,” whatever plant you choose needs to shine by itself, love attention, and desire to be the star of the show.
In this example, we chose to plant Erysimum Winter™ Orchid (Wallflower ‘Innerywinorch’). Its vibrant, multi-colored flowers and beautiful, grayish-green foliage create a somewhat tropical look. Displaying a unique, single form that fills out the entire 12-inch container, this plant is about the same size as the pot. It leaves little room for any other plants to shine with its big, solo personality. As with most divas, it will eventually grow to fill out into all available spaces to truly reach its peak performance and maturity.
Create this same look with a 12-inch Dark Grey Slate Ella Round container and one Erysimum Winter™ Orchid plant.
Consider these other divas, instead:
- Coral Bells, Heuchera
- Spanish Lavender
Create a Healthy Container
Now that you have met the three personalities, get ready to shop for colorful plants! The sky is the limit when it comes to spring flowers, and this is the fun, but often overwhelming, part of container design, especially with the “Party Planter.” Which plants can be grouped together? Are they all cold-hardy in your area? Do they all require the same care? How can you find out?
The answers are simple, really; all the plants you choose need to “get along” with each other, otherwise their personalities will clash which could lead to disease or death. Whether you are creating a “Party Planter,” a “Harmonious Planter,” or a “Diva Planter,” your plant selection needs to fit your area for climate, water, temperature and soil because you want them to be healthy. Therefore, when you start gathering plants at the garden center, read every plant tag to make sure each plant you want to group in your container is compatible. Check each plant tag for the following details:
- How much sun exposure does this plant need? Full sun? Part Sun/Shade? Full shade? This is really important. If they don’t match, you will need to find different plants.
- How much water will all the plants require? Plants that need a lot of water should never be grouped with plants that need little water.
- What type of soil is required for each plant? Some plants need well-draining soil and lots of organic matter to thrive in, like English Daisies. Others will need less organic matter, but still well-draining, like Ceanothus or Portulaca. And then there are other plants that like swampy conditions or just lots of water to thrive, like Iris or Willow. If they all have similar soil requirements, then they will live happily together (as long as the water and sun exposure needs are met, too).
Whether you choose to recreate one or all three of these planter personalities, you cannot beat the pops of color and interest offered by spring-blooming flowers. The 12-inch Ella round planter in Dark Grey Slate is the perfect choice to highlight each vibrant container while not stealing the spotlight from the flowers. Its round design and small stature can be tucked just about anywhere to create a spring container with a big personality.