Spring plug plants signal a change of season, whether they fill pots and containers or revive a dormant winter garden. By purchasing plants already in bud or flower, the gardener sees exactly what the plant will look like, buys only the number of plants needed, and still has the fun of watching the plant fill out, grow and flower at less cost than a full potted plant.
Garden pansies come in solid colors and "face" patterns. Their velvet green leaves make an attractive foil to white, yellow, purple, pink. blue, red, orange, rose and salmon blossoms. Pansies are cool-weather annuals that are often border fill-ins as early spring flowers begin to fade and summer plants have not yet matured. They will grow well into summer if protected from too much heat and intense sun. Pansies are a fall planting in the South where they thrive for months in the cooler but still mild fall weather. There are 300 cultivars and flower sizes ranging from delicate multiflora to large 4½ -inch blossoms.
Gerbera daisies are cartoonish in their overdrawn daisy shapes and bright colors. They require the intense light that spring sun provides. The ideal plug-in gerberas have short, sturdy stems, continuous flowering and vigorous but compact growth. Some cultivars produce flowers up to 6 inches wide. Set against the plant’s dark green leaves, the oversize blooms are attention-getters. Gerberas are planted in window boxes, patio containers, along landscape borders and in the center of flowerbeds. Once the taller tulips and the jonquils have faded, gerberas grab the spotlight in a riot of precise petals, paintbox hues and sturdy plants.
The primrose is one of the earliest bloomers in spring and likes cool weather and some shade. The plants are colorful–the blue, red, yellow, white or pink flowers brighten up a garden just coming to life after winter. They are small plants with thickly clustered deep green leaves and rounded petals, usually in a solid color, encircling a bright yellow center. Their low height makes them ideal as a walkway border or the front edge of a mixed garden plot. They are also popular container plants, used to fill a garden or patio tub with color before a summer wildflower mix comes into bloom. Primroses will thrive as perennials if their garden conditions suit them and are hardy enough to require little care. They have a long blooming season, producing blossoms from late winter to late spring. Planting nursery plugs in the garden after the last frost allows time to enjoy weeks of flowering, even in the primroses’ first year.