Containers: Transitioning From Spring To Summer

Jun 3, 2021 | Gardens

On March 26th I planted two urns with spring flowers and perennials. I used pansies, dianthus, English daisies and a Heuchera in each urn. It was an act of faith, since even April can be quite cold on Cape Cod, but it was also an expression of joy. Spring was here, and the season of abundant flowers was upon us. Now, in the beginning of June, those urns are absolutely gorgeous…but it’s time to plant summer annuals in those containers. What to do?

You might be in the same situation. The spring flowers are too pretty to pull out, but you know that they will all fade in the heat of late-June or early July. And if you don’t start the summer annuals now, they won’t be full and pretty as July moves into August. Not to mention that the choice of plants in the garden center is top notch right now, while there will be less to choose from in July. Smart Pots are the answer!  See what to do below.

Here is how the urns looked on March 26th when I planted them.

Here is how the urns look now, in early June. Too pretty to tear out, right? The Dianthus are just getting started, and everything else is at peak bloom.

The answer is to get two Smart Pots that are about the size of the inside of your container. Buy the summer annuals you want to place in your containers, and plant them in the Smart Pots using some time-release fertilizer and new potting soil. The annuals will start to fill out in the Smart Pots, and once the spring plantings start to fade, you can either squeeze the entire summer planting into the container, Smart Pot and all, or take the group out of the fabric bag and plant in the container.

I planted these to coordinate with other containers I have on my front porch. These plants will be filling out over the next few weeks, and the arrangement will go into the urns when the spring flowers fade.

The spring urn, and the understudy planting that is waiting in the wings…or rather, growing in the sun, until it is time for them to step onto the stage and fill the urns from July to hard frost.

UPDATE!  July 4th, 2021. The spring flowers were removed last week and the summer combination, now grown in nicely, placed in the urns.

By letting these plants grow on in the Smart Pots, they were able to stretch their roots, fill out and begin blooming well.




  1. Sandy Schreiber

    Very Nice!! ❤️❤️ Great idea

  2. Charlene Freeman

    My squash plant is wilting and dying.
    I can cut out the dead. Is there a spray I can put on the remaining plant?

    • CL Fornari

      Without seeing the plant there isn’t a way I can advise you, but it could be a squash vine borer – Google it.


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