The holiday season has come and gone, and as we start to put away Christmas decorations from our house I begin to look to our outdoor containers next. This article will give you some easy tips for changing pots from Christmas to spring color with just a few simple considerations for plant selection. I will admit, when I was planting these I was mindful that the poinsettias would only be in for about eight weeks and then they would be replaced with something new. The other plants were chosen based on how well they would accompany poinsettias, that they would transition to looking good after the holidays, and also that they were cold-loving plants for a Florida winter.
The Christmas containers looked great, especially toward the end of their display, and this means that the next life for these containers will start out that much better because the plants have already grown and filled in. The original cost for the plants in these containers was $34 (including the poinsettias and ‘Soft Caress’ Mahonia) and the other annuals included: white poinsettias, sweet alyssum, white bacopa, and dusty miller. Notice that these are all white and silver? Great compliments for the bright red of poinsettias.
The ‘White Knight’ alyssum from Proven Winners was a last minute addition to this combo. It was one of those poor plants sent to the 50% off rack to die a miserable death. On the day I purchased this plant there were no flowers or buds on it but the overall plant was healthy. And the key here is that this is a great annual for Florida during the winter- just because a plant is 50% off doesn’t mean that it has to go home with you!
To the right you can see a photo comparing the bloom of the bacopa and the sweet alyssum. It can be difficult to compare flowers when looking at beautiful photos online, but here you can see the considerable size difference. The bacopa has a sturdy trailing habit, it doesn’t get too leggy but flowers top to bottom, and the alyssum has a great compact habit that works well as a front of the border plant or as the “filler” in a container like this.
The ‘Soft Caress’ Mahonia from Southern Living Plant Collection was just too tempting for me to resist trying as a nice textural plant. It will be slow growing, compared to the other plants in the containers, and the yellow flowers really will look nice as the containers becomes more full. This is a plant that I will find a home for in the landscape when the containers are ready for their next change-out.
To change these holiday containers to a nice color container I simply removed the poinsettias and magnolia branches and popped in the new New Guinea Impatiens in their place. These New Guineas are a really nice coral color (very good for a transition away from the holidays) and have nice dark foliage. They look great on their own and will really stand out against the silver of the dusty miller. These plants will get large over the next few months, so although it might look fairly open right now I know that they will have plenty of room to grow. This literally took about 5 minutes to complete.