Most hanging baskets are designed to bloom early in the season so that they provide the first burst of fresh colour in a landscape. A variety of spring bulbs and heavy blooming annuals and perennials strategically placed in hanging baskets provide showy tall or trailing flowers. For best results, select long-lasting blooms that flower through till early summer, if not longer.
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Lily of the Valley
May bells or lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) livens up a shaded deck or patio in early spring with fragrant, bell-shaped white flowers and large leaves. The herbaceous perennial produces tiny leaves early in the season and flowers by mid-spring that last well into the summer. This delicate flower prefers well-drained, moist soil and full to partial shade.
One of the first few flowers to bloom in early spring, pansy (Viola x wittrockiana) is a frost-tolerant annual that decorates an indoor or outdoor spot with its vibrant colour and happy face-like bloom. The pansy's flowers appear in a variety of colours, including shades of blue, purple, yellow and green, with cream or yellow markings in the centre. Baskets planted with pansies add fresh colour early in the spring and continue until temperatures rise. Although delicate in appearance, these hardy flowers are easy to care for and thrive in well-drained, slightly moist soil.
Also called snowdrop or common snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis), this early-blooming perennial bulb pushes its way through the soil as early as February when traces of snow still remain. Each 1-inch flower droops down from a stem like a drop of milk, hence the name. A bloom features three inner petals and three outer arching petals, along with bladelike foliage growing up to 4 inches long. Milk flowers require well-drained, nutrient-enriched soils in full sun or partial shade, and thrive in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 7.
A hardy, frost-resistant annual that blooms in early spring to enhance the beauty of a landscape, varieties of upright and trailing verbena are suitable for planting in hanging baskets. The trailing variety features clusters of blooms in white, lavender, pink, red and purple that bloom profusely when placed in direct sunlight and well-drained soil. This humming bird-attractant withstands extreme outdoor temperatures and neglect, and decorates its spot with long-lasting blooms.
An attractive perennial that provides colour to an early- to mid-spring hanging basket, the Japanese primrose features yellow blooms that stand out when planted in the centre of a hanging basket rather than along the edges. The flower prefers moist, well-drained soil in partial shade.
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