Growing Flower Bulbs in Pots and Containers
When you think of flower bulbs, you think of gardens. Fertile flowerbeds full of tulips, pristine lawns framed by daffodils, a winding garden path with hyacinths on either side. However, these are not the only places where flower bulbs can grow and prosper.
Thinking outside the flowerbed
What if you wanted to admire your crocuses on your terrace when having your morning coffee on the first warm day of spring? What if you want the people who come to your door to be welcomed by baskets of grape hyacinths? Maybe you love to observe pretty butterflies flitting from bloom to bloom directly outside of your 2nd story window. Maybe your city-center balcony is the only real ‘outdoors’ in the urban jungle you call home. Or maybe it’s so cold where you live that your Paperwhites will only grow indoors?
For all these scenarios pots & containers are the answer. They enable you to create a garden where there previously was none and make sure you can enjoy the smells and sights of nature exactly where you would love it most.
Planting & caring for potted bulbs
Almost all spring bulbs that you love to see in a garden are just as suitable for growing in pots and containers, but the planting and caring process looks a bit different:
Come fall, the first thing to do is selecting suitable containers. You want a container with drainage holes, so the excess water can escape, as flower bulbs need well-drained soil, and will rot if the roots are too wet for too long. Cheap plastic pots are good enough, and you can always drop them in a more decorative pot once the flowers start blooming.
If you plan to keep the bulbs outdoors all winter long, pick a large container. It should hold enough soil to insulate the bulbs against extremes in temperature, keeping them cold enough to go through their hibernation process, but not so cold that they freeze to death. This method is most suitable for areas where winter temperatures are between 35 and 40 F (1 to 4° C).
If you want or need to keep your bulbs indoors, maybe because the container is too small or your winters are too cold, keep the potted bulbs in a cold place, like a garage or shed.
The best soil
Don’t use garden soil. Instead fill your container with a high quality potting mix, planting the bulbs just as deep as you would in the ground. Make sure you leave at least 2” of soil underneath the bulbs, so that a healthy root system can form. Pack the bulbs close together, about an inch apart, so they can support each other when they get tall and you will get an abundant-looking display in spring.
After planting, water your bulbs well. Then, during the bulbs’ chilling months, the soil should be damp but not wet. Check once a week to see if the soil hasn’t dried out too much.
In a previous blog we talked about forcing bulbs, and using pots and containers might seem similar. However, when you force bulbs you plant them just below the surface. You also get them out of hibernation much earlier, making them grow in the middle of winter. Potted bulbs are meant to bloom at the same time as their garden-planted siblings.
When spring is around the corner, keep a look out for sprouts forming in your containers. Once green shoots are showing, bring the pots out into the light, and put them on your patio, balcony, path or windowsill. Placing them in indirect light and relatively cooler temperatures will make them bloom for longer.
Using pots and containers to grow flower bulbs is the perfect solution for gardeners who have limited space or who want to create focal points of color in specific places. Order your favorite DutchGrown flower bulbs now, plant them in a pot of your choosing, and next spring you’ll be able to enjoy their fragrance and beauty wherever you want!