Bedner's Farm & Greenhouse

Early Spring Container Gardens

In the Pittsburgh area, we’re all anxious to get started with colorful annuals in the spring.

However, there is still a risk of frost until about mid-May in our area, so you want to wait until at least the end of April to plant tropicals like hibiscus or mandavillea, for example. Zinnias, begonias, fuchsias, coleus, and pentas all fall into this requirement of consistent warmer temperatures too.

You both can and should plant up your containers for the early spring though! We plant containers for all four seasons—spring, summer, fall, and winter. The plant recommendations below are more tolerant of cooler temperatures, and some perform their best in spring and fall.

Early Spring Container Gardens

For early season container gardens, try a mix of the following cool season annuals:


Keep in mind, if the plants were grown in a greenhouse, they are still not yet “hardened off”. This means that often times they will need to be gradually acclimated to the cold of the outdoors, and toughened up, so to speak.

Therefore, if you just brought your new plants home and the low temperature is in the 20’s that night, bring them into your garage for the night and put them back out in the morning. In other words, your early spring annuals may still possibly need some protection from extreme cold or freezing temperatures. As us Pittsburghers know, early spring temps could be in the 80’s or it could be snowing.. you just never know!

Here are some other plants or decorative items to add into your early spring container gardens:

  • allysum, spikes, ivy, dusty miller, creeping jenny, dianthus, lamium, euphorbia, bacopa, or ornamental grass like carex or juncus
  • spring blooming bulbs, like daffodils or tulips
  • spring perennials like Lenten rose, forget-me-nots, bleeding hearts, creeping phlox, brunnera, or corydalis
  • decorative twigs or branches left from your winter container gardens
  • faux or real pussy willow stems