ulbs are a delight in any bed or border, but perform beautifully in pots and windowboxes. Whether you have a small garden, a large one that is out of room, or you simply prefer the ease and convenience of planter containers, you will love the color and impact they add. Success requires planning and attention, but the vivid results are worth the effort. Below are some tips on getting the best results.
The size of the pottery container you use is determined by the number of bulbs you want to plant. Regardless of diameter, your container should have at least an 8" depth, with drain holes on the side if possible instead of the bottom. Self watering pots are NOT recommended.
Soil should be light and loamy, well drained and moisture-retentive. Garden soil is NOT recommended. A soil-less blend comprised of sphagnum moss and vermiculite or perlite with some finished compost is ideal.
A too wet condition is the most common cause for bulbs failing to bloom. For best drainage, line the plant container bottom with 1 - 2 inches of stone or broken pots. This helps to keep the soil from sitting in water.
Plant a variety of early, mid season and late blooming bulbs in the same pot for an endless supply of color.
After planting the bulbs in the pottery, water the container thoroughly. Don't allow soil to dry out completely during winter. If storing in a covered area, such as a shed or garage, water enough to maintain "barely moist" soil - about once a month.
If you live in an area where winter temperatures regularly fall below 32 degrees, you will need to protect your potted bulbs from freezing. They do best when stored in a location that remains 32 to 45 degrees like an attached garage or unheated basement.
If you live in an area where winter temps typically do not fall below 32 degrees, you can leave the containers outside with no special attention.
Prepare the pot:
Starting in the fall, select a pot at least 8" across. If the pot will be sitting on a deck or patio, select one at least 16" across. Terracotta pots will crack if they freeze, so use concrete, high fired ceramic, poly resin or fiberglass. They are all made to withstand cold temperatures.
Large bulbs like tulips and daffodils should be about 8" deep, and smaller bulbs like hyacinth about 5" deep. Put a few inches of Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting MIx in the bottom of the pot to receive the first layer of bulbs.
Plant the bulbs: Place a layer of larger bulbs first. Plant close together, even touching for a nice effect. Place tulips with the flat side toward the outside of the pot so the first leaf will curl over the side. Tulips and daffodils and most other bulbs, are planted pointed side up. If you aren't sure, look for hairy root stubs and place them down. Add 3" of potting mix and plant a layer of smaller bulbs. Add another 2" inches and plant dwarf iris if you are including them, then cover with a final 2" of soil. This should bring the soil to near the edge of the pot. Water the pot well and set it outside to chill.
Chill the bulbs: Spring flowering bulbs need a period of at least 10 weeks at temperatures around 45 degrees to trigger blooming. Place the pots where they will be in this temperature. This might be outside in the yard, or in an unheated garage or basement. If they are not exposed to rain or snow, check them every few weeks and water slightly if the soil is dry.
Enjoy your flowers: Set outside as soon as shoots appear. Place them in full sun and let them grow. In a few weeks you will be rewarded with beautiful blooms.
We hope you find this information useful. When it comes to getting the biggest bang for your buck in the garden or patio area - we want to make sure you all the information you need. Happy Planting!