Celebrate spring and plant up a pot of cool-season annuals.
You certainly can’t go wrong with pansies (Viola x wittrockiana). They are fragrant, colorful and easy to take care of. About the only requirement is to remove the flowers that have bloomed (called deadheading). Keep pansies evenly moist, but not wet. Pansies do best in full to part sun.
A stroll through garden centers in the last few days reveals more than pansies for the first pots of spring.
Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) come in lots of colors and sizes, from the dwarf Montego to towering Rocket. Snaps are a very cold tolerant annual, which have bloomed well into December in my garden. They are less tolerant of summer heat and may slow down during the hottest months. Snaps are great cut flowers. Deadheading encourages snaps to keep blooming. Plant in full sun or light shade. Snaps are easy to grow from seed.
Ranunculus (R. asiaticus) is a tender bulb (actually a tuber) that can be found growing in individual pots or combination arrangements at garden centers. It tolerates low temperatures in the 20s. Flowers have densely packed, tissue paper-like petals in many colors. Ranunculus is prized, long-lasting cut flower. Adventurous gardeners can buy ranunculus tubers from garden centers, mail-order or online merchants, pot them up in February indoors and place in a sunny window. Transplant outdoors in spring.
Senetti cineraria (Pericallis x hybrida) has intensely colored, daisy-like flowers that cover a mound-growing plant that gets about 12 inches tall and wide. Senetti does well in full sun or light shade and it tolerates low temperatures to about 40 degrees F.
Martha Washington geranium (Pelargonium domesticum) has frilly leaves and large flowers. This must have cool temperatures to set flower buds and to bloom. Place in full sun to light shade.