My biggest advice, and I know it'll be tough since you're in California, but make sure they're adequately watered!
I've got four planters, two willamette and two cascade. Last year each ones grew based on how much sunlight they got, so this year I'm rearranging things so they should all get plenty of sun.
Only one of my plants produced cones last year, I blame them being in the shade/not always watered enough. The two larger plants did a great job of drinking up a gallon or two of water a day, while the two rhizomes that weren't as large seemed to do better with less water added more frequently. It's kinda hard to judge how much water is enough, since you don't want to over water either. With containers I really think water is the most important thing to watch out for.
This year all have sprouted, and I'll be cutting back the two healthier plants this week.