Fast growing container flowers to grow in March!
As we approach spring, lots of us will be thinking of the markers of the season - maybe you’ll be making pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and thinking ahead to Easter, or planning a Mother’s day get together or May day bank holiday walk.
Gardening is always an act of hope, and is a lovely way to mark spring celebrations. “Grow your own” kits are ideal as spring gifts, as are seedlings you’ve started at home in pretty pots. Get children involved in planting and making special plant labels, and they’ll get real pleasure from gifting what they’ve made on Mother’s day or at Easter!
My 5 favourite flowers to grow for picking
There’s something very satisfying about putting flowers from your garden on the table, or taking a fistful as a gift to someone special. If, like me, your gardening is limited by what can be grown in pots, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy growing some flowers from scratch. Here are five of my favourite fast growing container-friendly flowers!
Marigolds will grow from seed to bloom in just 7 weeks, so any planted now will bloom just at the end of the Easter school holidays. Cheerful and hardy, marigolds are great for kids to grow and are naturally slug resistant. The yellow and orange flowers look great in a jug on the kitchen table.
Marigolds are also the birth flower for October, and will self sew for next year if given enough space.
Not much! Fairly good soil with drainage
Watering on very dry days
Sweet peas bloom around 90 days after planting. Start some off indoors now, and plant them out on the May bank holiday weekend for blooms at the end of May / beginning of June. Grown up canes for some height in your container garden. Sweet peas love to be picked and will keep making flowers for several weeks. I love the way their scent fills the house.
Sweet peas are one of the birth flowers for April, why not gift some sweet pea seeds or seedlings for an April birthday?
Sweet peas need:
Peat free compost with a slow release fertiliser mixed in
Supports (such as bamboo canes) to grow up
Extra fertiliser once the flowers start (tomato fertiliser is good)
Protection from slugs and snails
Sunflowers have always been a favourite with me. Dwarf varieties can grow from seed to flower in just 80 days, and often have several flowers on each stem, whilst traditional tall sunflowers take around 120 days. Kids love “racing” sunflowers to see whose will become the tallest!
One of the loveliest things about sunflowers is that they provide an early autumn feast for birds, who love the seed heads after the blooms have faded. They really do keep on giving!
A sheltered, sunny spot
Good rich soil
Stakes when they start to get tall
Protection from slugs and snails
Nasturtiums are famously prolific and thrive in poor soil. In fact, adding fertiliser will stop them from having as many flowers! Climbing varieties will also grow downwards, so they are great for balconies or hanging baskets.
Put them where they will get direct sun for part of the day, and they will reward you with constant blooms until the first frost.
Perhaps the best thing about these colourful flowers is that they are edible. Scatter the vibrant blooms on top of salads for a peppery flavour and summary feel.
Peat free compost
A sunny spot
California poppies are one of the fastest blooming flowers around, going from seed to flower in just 60 days! Not often seen in pots, poppies will grow just fine in larger containers and can thrive in all kinds of soil without fertilisers. The only rule with poppies is not to transplant them - sow them directly where you want to see them grow. You may need to thin out the seedlings if lots are growing closely together.
Poppies are one of the August birth flowers. Sow seeds at the end of May to have a container full of flowers for an August birthday!
We hope that we’ve inspired you to plant a few blooming marvellous favourites for picking later in the year!