When thinking of growing bulbs in containers, it is necessary to have the results you are looking for in mind.
There are so many choices for growing bulbs in containers that it is necessary to decide first of all, what you are looking for in your container gardening plan.
Are you anxious to see an early bloom of color in the spring after a long winter?
Perhaps you want some to plant some tender bulbs because of their dependable bloom through the summer?
Do you want to force some bulbs inside in winter to perk up your spirits and remind yourself that spring is not far away?
As you can see, when growing bulbs in containers, it is possible to have these wonderful flowers year round. There is no need to wait for spring tulips and daffodils to enjoy bulb gardening year round. Flowering bulbs can be used in outdoor containers, grown in a raised bed for cut flowers, or grown as house plants year round.
As you can see, you should have a plan in mind before you order any bulbs. Check the listing and ideas above, peruse catalogs, wander through greenhouses and nurseries at various times of the year to get a good idea of the many flowers that are actually bulbs you can be growing in containers. Because there is such variety in flower bulbs, I’ll be devoting a page to each bulb season. There are however, some basics to growing bulbs in containers.
The first question that comes to mind is what size pot should I choose when growing bulbs in containers. There is no right answer here, as some bulbs like to be planted deeply, while others prefer surface planting. The size of the bulb also enters into this choice.
As a general guideline, an 8-inch pot is a good choice to start with. You can put about 5-6 bulbs in a pot this size. Use your judgment when planting these bulbs. Most bulbs don’t mind being crowded. They can be planted touching each other. If you have large bulbs, you may only be able to get 3 in the pot, or maybe only one extremely large bulb. You will be able to get an idea of how many bulbs fit in the pot once you start laying them in. If you want a container for a large splash of color on your deck or patio when growing bulbs in containers, a 16-inch pot will not be too large.
Any type of container is suitable for bulb growing. Many bulbs are delicate in nature and when planted indoors look well in china bowls and silver dishes. If you are planting outside, terra cotta pots look great, but because of their porous nature, will need more watering than pots made of plastic or fiberglass. Whatever type of pot you decide on, the most important consideration in a container is drainage. If there are no drainage holes in your container, it is always possible to drill a few.
For a Gorgeous Display Use the Layering Technique when Growing Bulbs in Containers
You’ve most likely seen pots with a gorgeous display of flowering bulbs at flower shows and in florist shops. Have you wondered how they managed to get so many bulbs in such a small area? The secret is in all in the planting. These professionals are using a technique called layering or double planting.
For this technique, be sure to choose a deep pot, 9-10 inches deep is a good choice. Fill the pot with potting mix about a third of the way. Place your first layer of bulbs in the pot. If this is the first time you are planting bulbs, remember to place them right side up. The pointed end is where the growth comes from.
Start with you largest bulbs in the bottom layer. In an 8-inch pot, you should be able to put in about 5 tulip bulbs. Cover the bulbs until the tips are just barely showing through the soil. Place your second layer of bulbs in between the bottom bulbs. Do not plant a bulb over another bulb as the bottom may not be able to grow well. Cover this layer with soil. If you still have more room, a layer of tiny buIt’s best to plant medium sized bulbs in this layer such as daffodils and narcissus. Smaller bulbs such as crocus and snowdrops can be planted in the top of the container.
Cover all with soil to within one inch of the top of the pot. Water well, and keep the soil moist but not wet. Watering lightly every week should keep the soil just right. Place the pot in a sunny location, and in 3 or 4 weeks you should see the tops of the bulbs coming through.
Not all Bulbs are Treated the Same
These are the general principles of growing bulbs in containers. Some bulbs require different treatment that others. Some need a cold treatment, while others need darkness. I’ll be adding more pages of growing bulbs in containers on a regular basis, so visit often if this area is of interest to you.