tete-a-tete miniature daffodil by ndrwfgg
TheGardenLady received this question from someone calling him or herself “Garden Challenged”.
I’m having guests next weekend and would like to put something pretty in the outdoor planters. Any suggestions for something that can survive mid-March in West Chester, PA (outside of Philadelphia)?
Visit your neighborhood plant nurseries. I recommend checking the better nurseries in your area where they will have the more interesting plants. Look only at the plants that the nurseries have sitting in their yard. (Don’t look at any plants that they have growing in their green house or indoors. Plants they keep indoors will not be hardy if you put them outdoors in a planter.)
Any plant the nursery has sitting on their grounds is hardy for your outdoor planter at this time of year. They should have many plants sitting outdoors including some that are flowering like pansies and some spring bulbs like daffodils. If you are worried, you can also ask the nursery workers if the plants have to be taken indoors at night. Nursery people love to talk about plants and help people. They will tell you how to plant the container. If they tell you the plant cannot stay outdoors at night, they usually know what they are talking about- they wouldn’t leave plants outdoors to freeze. They would lose money and they would lose you as a customer. You don’t want any plant that has to be taken indoors at night if you are planting something for an event.
The size of your planter will determine what you put into it. If it is a large planter, you might consider some of the small potted shrubs your nurseries have in their garden. For example, you might see a small holly treeÂ that you like that you can plant afterwards in your yard. Or you can ask to see some of the miniature or dwarf trees they have. These smaller trees might be kept permanently in your planter. You can find a list of trees for containers here. You might just be able to plop the plant into the container without removing it from the pot it comes in.
You can combine plants that you like if your planter is large enough. For example, you might find a pretty Dwarf Alberta Blue Spruce and plant it in the container and surround it with small daffodils like Tete a Tete daffodils (one of this GardenLady’s favorite daffodils).
And for an extra price, the nursery might be willing to plant your container with plants that you choose, if you worry about planting the plants properly.
I feel certain that your guests will be greeted with a lovely filled container. Please let TheGardenLady readers see a photo of your design.