Primulas in purple containers
Angela Slater
Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas

How do I plant up a container with spring bedding?

Plant your spring containers following our easy guide

Planting up a spring container is fairly easy and straightforward and does so much to lift the spirits at the end of a dark, wet, dreary winter. As there is only a limited choice of plants it is much more straightforward than planting summer containers.



We have used:

  • 30cm (12”) diameter container
  • Gro-Sure Container and Basket compost
  • 1 x Cupressus ‘Goldcrest’
  • 6 x single primroses
  • 3 x pots crocus
  • 3 x ivies

You can use any container you like provided it has drainage holes in the bottom, from a lovely decorative container to an old bucket. Place a crock over the hole to prevent it blocking with silt then fill to within 5cm (2”) of the rim with good quality compost; we have used Gro-Sure Container and Basket compost. This compost contains enough feed for 4 months so you don’t have to worry about adding fertiliser.

Just start with a large upright plant for the centre, then a mid-height layer around the central plant, and finally something to trail over the edge of the pot, just to break up the outline. We have chosen Cupressus ‘Goldcrest’ for the centrepiece; this is a fairly slow growing conifer so can be left in place when you re-do the pot with summer bedding. Once it outgrows the pot it can be planted either in the garden or an appropriately sized container on its own. All the plants used in our video are readily available from any garden centre. Around the conifer we have planted coloured single primroses interspersed with crocus. We have used pot-grown crocus which are just about to flower but if you are planting this container in autumn you can just plant crocus bulbs.

Finally plant the ivies so that they hang over the rim of the pot and then fill any remaining gaps with compost.

Water the plants in to settle the compost and fill any air pockets.

Make sure you keep them watered, if the pot is outside you may think that it gets all the water it needs from the rain but if it’s under the eaves of the house it may not receive any rain.

When it comes to planting the container for summer you can keep the cost down by leaving the ‘Goldcrest’ and the ivies and just remove the flowering plants and the bulbs. The primroses and crocus can be planted in the garden to give colour for next year. Keep on nipping off the flower heads of the primroses when they have faded and you should have colour until it is ready to plant out your summer bedding.