Bite the bullet and spring ahead
Best of the bunch
Michaelmas daisies can be planted in summer to fill gaps left by early flowering plants. Their flowers look lovely in silvery, grey or pastel schemes. All asters do well in sun or light shade in reasonable soil, but need to be kept well watered in dry soils.
As soon as your summer pots are looking straggly and tired, bite the bullet, bin the summer bedding and make a head start by filling your containers with spring bulbs. Bulbs often do better in containers than in the ground, as you can control drainage better and plant them in gritty compost which gives them more chance of success. Ideally, daffodils, crocuses and hyacinths should be planted by the end of September, although they can be planted later. Tulips should be planted in late October or November, as they need a drop in temperature to root well. Planting in lower temperatures may also reduce the chances of them getting a fungal disease called tulip blight, which can rot the bulbs or cause lesions on the leaves. Don’t be fooled into thinking that spring bulbs in pots should all be of the dwarf variety. While there’s few prettier sights than a mass of deep blue muscari filling a small traditional terracotta pot, don’t
Deep blue muscari can grow in a container